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Uttarakhand To Set Up Committee For Uniform Civil Code, Says CM Pushkar Dhami

Following the first meeting of his Cabinet after being sworn-in on Wednesday, Dhami said, "The state government has decided to form a high-powered committee to implement the Uniform Civil Code."

Pushkar Singh Dhami being congratulated at BJP Uttarakhand HQ after election results
Pushkar Singh Dhami being congratulated at BJP Uttarakhand HQ after election results Virender Singh Negi

Uttarakhand's Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said on Thursday that his government will set up a high-powered committee on the implementation of a Uniform Civil Code in the state.

Following the first meeting of his Cabinet after being sworn-in on Wednesday, Dhami said, "The state government has decided to form a high-powered committee to implement the Uniform Civil Code."

Dhami said after the meeting that Uttarakhand will be the first state to implement such a code, but quickly added that "perhaps it is already in force in Goa". 

Goa has been following the Portuguese Civil Code, 1867, which is also called Uniform Civil Code. After its liberation from the Portuguese rule, the code is survived by virtue of Section 5(1) of the Goa, Daman and Diu Administration Act, 1962. Its continuance amounts to the non-enforcement of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Hindu Succession Act, 1956 or Indian Succession Act, 1925 or Shariat (Application) Act, 1937.

Dhami added, "The Cabinet has unanimously approved the proposal. We also expect other states to follow us. 

"We are a Himalayan state with a distinct cultural and religious heritage. We also share borders with two countries. So, a Uniform Civil Code is necessary. There is a provision for it in Article 44 of the Constitution. Even the Supreme Court has expressed its dissatisfaction in the past on its non-implementation."

In a tweet, Dhami further said, "This will improve social equality, gender justice, and women empowerment in the state."

Experts, however, are divided on whether a state government can enact a Uniform Civil Code. 

Constitution expert and former Lok Sabha secretary general P D T Achary had told PTI recently that both the Centre and states are empowered to bring such a law as issues like marriage, divorce, inheritance and property rights come under the Concurrent List of the Constitution.

But former Union law secretary P K Malhotra was of the view that only the Union government can bring such a law by moving Parliament.

By taking a decision on a Uniform Civil Code at the very first meeting of the state cabinet, Dhami has fulfilled a major pre-poll promise by him.

Dhami had announced on the last day of campaigning for the February 14 state assembly polls that if re-elected, the BJP government will form a high-powered committee consisting of legal experts, all stakeholders, senior citizens, and intellectuals to draft a Uniform Civil Code.

Dhami was sworn in as chief minister on Wednesday for an unprecedented second consecutive term in the state.

With PTI inputs

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