Editorial: One Nation, One Civil Code?

Editorial: One Nation, One Civil Code?

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Wednesday, February 07, 2024, 11:22 PM IST
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A uniform civil code has been on the Jan Sangh’s/BJP’s to-do list for decades. After neutralising Article 370 of the Constitution, the party has now turned to introduce a common civil code for the entire country. A beginning in that direction was made by the Uttarakhand government on Tuesday when it presented the Uniform Civil Code in the state Assembly. Probably the most controversial provision is the clause concerning the registration of live-in relationships. Failure to register these relationships within a month would attract a jail term for the couple of three months and a fine of Rs 10,000. Worse, everyone is free to access the registry of marriages, thus opening it for the abuse of information thus gathered for ulterior purposes. Also, such couples from the state even if living outside Uttarakhand would have to necessarily register the relationship in the State. The Bill however omits the Scheduled Tribes from the purview of the proposed law. All others, including Muslims, are subject to the provisions of the Bill. Muslims thus have to follow its provisions rather than stick to their own Sharia laws concerning marriage, divorce and inheritance. Notably, a category of prohibited marriages between direct relations of parents and grandparents too could affect the Muslims most. The Bill is expected to be a model for other BJP governments which are likely to come up with their versions in the coming months. Presently, Goa is the only state where a common civil code has been in force since before its freedom from the Portuguese. Aside from certain controversial provisions overall the Uttarakhand Bill is on the right lines.

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