The Uttarakhand government had set up a five-member committee under retired Supreme Courtjudge Ranjana Prakash Desai in May last year to prepare a draft proposal for implementing UCC on its soil.The decision was in pursuance of BJP’s promise to this effect during the last assembly elections in the state. It is also a step forward for BJP towards realisation of its long-standing promise to implement UCC in the country, albeit in a phased and incremental manner, as a national rollout in one go may not be possible or practical.
Uniform Civil Code: Uttarakhand prepares draft, seeks to raise age for women’s marriage
Sources told TOI that Uttarakhand is bound to be the first state – second, if Goa is counted, though UCC in force there was bequeathed by its former Portuguese rulers – to adopt UCC and may implement it before the 2024 general elections. The other BJP-ruled states are likely to follow, with Gujarat already having decided to set up a UCC drafting committee. Assam has already rolled out certain features of UCC.
Shah has been involved in discussions on UCC rollout, right from the outset. The deliberations have ranged from wording of the draft as well as features and purview of UCC.
BJP sources said Uttarakhand is a natural, first choice to roll out UCC, given its demographics. Its overwhelmingly Hindu population discounts the possibility of any large-scale protests from the minuscule minority population. Phased implementation would also familiarise the government with the challenges and practical difficulties in implementing UCC and be better prepared for a rollout in other states and eventually on a national scale.
The UCC proposal prepared by the drafting committee in Uttarakhand is said to have kept out tribals from its purview, something that is bound to be replicated in other states as well.
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