Uttarakhand House may pass UCC Bill on Wed

The uniform civil code bill which aims to “govern and regulate laws relating to marriage and divorce, succession, live-in relationships, and matters related thereto”, was tabled in the Uttarakhand assembly on Tuesday. The bill is likely to be passed by the House on Wednesday. Once it becomes an act, Uttarakhand will become the first state to implement UCC post-Independence. However, UCC will not cover the state’s Scheduled Tribes (STs).

Once UCC comes into force, marriages would be solemnised only after a few conditions are fulfilled. The first is that “neither party has a spouse living at the time of marriage”. An important part of the bill is “compulsory registration of marriage solemnised/contracted after commencement of the code”. The bill provides a period of 60 days from the date of marriage for registration. This is applicable for a marriage solemnised/contracted in the state or outside.

Partners in a live-in relationship will have to submit a statement of their relationship to the registrar within whose jurisdiction they live. “It shall be obligatory for partners to a live-in relationship within the state, whether they are residents of Uttarakhand or not, to submit a statement of live-in-relationship under sub-section (1) of section 381 to the registrar within whose jurisdiction they are so living,” the bill says.

Any child of a live-in relationship shall be the legitimate child of the couple. A woman deserted by her live-in-partner shall be entitled to claim maintenance from her partner.

The bill has provisions to protect the rights of children. “Notwithstanding that a marriage has been declared null and void, any child of such marriage shall be deemed to be legitimate,” the bill says.

“For intestate succession, there is no distinction between an heir who was born in the lifetime of an intestate and an heir who at the time of his/her death was only conceived in the womb, but who has been subsequently born alive. Such a child shall be deemed to be the successor of the intestate,” the bill says.

The sub-registrar will have an important role to play in the registration of marriages, decree of divorce or nullity of marriages.

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Harry Byrne

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