Uttarakhand’s UCC Bill: Unravelling the Impact and Implications for Uttarakhand.


Uniform Civil Code (UCC) seeks to establish a uniform body of laws that regulates personal affairs, including inheritance, property rights, marriage, and divorce, regardless of a person’s religious beliefs. The Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) are policies that the Indian Constitution seeks to implement for the benefit of society. The DPSP is defined in Chapter IV of the Indian Constitution, which states that the state shall strive to establish a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) throughout India’s territory. Personal laws in India are currently governed by scriptures, which can be confusing and discriminatory towards women’s rights. The DPSP, which was enacted to ensure civil law uniformity, has yet to be enforced.

The fundamental goal of the UCC is to treat every citizen equally under the same set of civil laws, irrespective of their race, religion, caste, or section. According to Article 44 of Chapter IV of Indian constitution, “The State shall endeavour to secure for its citizens a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) throughout the territory of India.”


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) first appeared in the British government’s 1835 report on colonial India, which emphasised the need for uniformity in the codification of Indian law in terms of crimes, evidence, and contracts, and specifically suggested that personal laws of Hindus and Muslims be kept out of such codification.

Increased legislation dealing with personal issues in the far reaches of British rule compelled the government to establish the B N Rau Committee to codify Hindu law in 1941. The Hindu Law Committee’s task was to investigate the necessity of common Hindu laws. The committee, following scripture, recommended a codified Hindu law that would grant women equal rights.

The Rau Committee report was submitted to a select committee chaired by B R Ambedkar, which met in 1951 following the adoption of the Constitution. While discussions were ongoing, the Hindu Code Bill lapsed and was resubmitted in 1952. The bill was then passed as the Hindu Succession Act in 1956, which amended and codified the law governing intestate or unwilled succession among Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs.


The Uniform Civil Code has been a source of contention and discussion in India for decades. Recently, the state of Uttarakhand took a significant step towards implementing a UCC.
Previously, the State government formed a five-member committee led by Desai to develop a draft proposal for implementing the UCC. The committee prepared a draft bill, which the chief minister introduced in the assembly. Following deliberations, the Uttarakhand assembly passed the Uniform Civil Code Uttarakhand 2024 Bill, making it the first state in India to implement a Uniform Civil Code.  

The Bill establishes common law for matters such as marriage, divorce, property inheritance, and so on, and it applies to all Uttarakhand residents with the exception of scheduled tribes.


  • The Uniform Civil Code establishes a common law for marriage, divorce, and property inheritance, replacing personal laws from various religions. The common code prohibits bigamy and polygamy, and provides equal property rights to both sons and daughters.
  • It eliminates the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate offspring, ensures equal property rights after death, and applies to both adoptive and biological children.
  • The law requires live-in couples to be legally registered. According to the proposed legislation, people who are in a live-in relationship must officially register their relationship within a month of starting it and obtain parental consent. Registration of such partnerships is required for “any individual residing in Uttarakhand or in a live-in relationship outside of the state.” Registration, however, may be denied if one partner is married, a minor, or if consent to the relationship was obtained through coercion or fraudulent means. Partners can also end their relationship by submitting a statement to the registrar.
  • The UCC Bill sets the marriage age at 18 for women and 21 for men across all communities. Furthermore, it is not permissible to file a divorce petition until at least one year after marriage.
  • The Uniform Civil Code will not apply to Scheduled Tribes (ST) community members.


  • The opposing views on the current bill stem from a variety of reasons. The passage of this legislation would potentially violate various communities’ religious autonomy by interfering with religious customs and traditions without their consent.
  • Some argue that a single code may not adequately accommodate the diverse customs and sensitivities of various communities. This, in turn, may limit the diversity of religious and cultural practices in India.
  • On the issue of live-in relationships, critics claim that the bill allows the government to intrude into citizens’ personal lives. They believe that the rules governing live-in relationships are an invasion of privacy.
  • The state’s opposition parties oppose passing the bill because they believe there was insufficient debate on it, and they have proposed that the bill be referred to a select committee of the House to examine its provisions.
  • Some religious leaders have questioned the government, asking why Scheduled Tribes are excluded but cannot be Muslims.
  • People also felt that personal-related practices are deeply ingrained in the religious and cultural identities of various Indian communities. Implementing a uniform civil code may require them to give up their identities, which could lead to turmoil in society and communal tension.


For decades, the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) has sparked debate and discussion in India. It seeks to establish a uniform set of laws governing personal matters such as marriage, divorce, property rights, inheritance, and others, regardless of an individual’s religion. The implementation of the Uttarakhand Uniform Civil Code is a significant step towards equality and social justice. It reflects the state’s commitment to ensuring that personal laws are uniform regardless of religious affiliation. Though the bill has both supporting and opposing views, it will be interesting to see how the bill affects the lives of Uttarakhand residents as it works its way through the legislative process.


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Written by – Surya Venkata Sujith