The views of stakeholders, primarily religious leaders from Hindu and Muslim communities, will be taken into account in the development of a UCC project.
On July 4, the UCC committee held its first meeting at Uttarakhand Sadan in the nation’s capital, chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice Ranjana Desai. Speaking to the media later, Desai said this was a preliminary meeting and they would then meet on July 14 or 15. Sources said that during the first meeting, the members basically introduced each other and discussed the scope of a project.
“The main priority now is to talk to stakeholders such as religious leaders and community leaders. Indeed, the main subject matter of the UCC is marriage and divorce laws, adoption laws, and property division laws. I personally believe that everything about UCC is very pro-gender. In the absence of this, there is exploitation (of women) in any religion. There are thousands of cases where people exploit existing laws for their own benefit. So we are looking into such cases to understand the shortcomings,” a committee member said. The Sunday Express.
Adding that the committee’s responsibilities are huge and that they don’t want any mistakes, “even punctuation”, the member said that being perhaps the first state to implement the UCC, Uttarakhand hopes give the example. “This (UCC) is the greatest need of the 21st century and it will be a very progressive step…I’m pretty sure we will get the support of most Muslim leaders because they too want a UCC. Only the most fanatical could argue against it,” the MP said.
Apart from the chairman, Justice Desai, the UCC committee includes former Sikkim High Court Chief Justice Permod Kohli, social activist Manu Gaur, former Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Shatrughan Singh, and Doon University Vice-Chancellor Surekha Dangwal.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had promised to usher in the UCC on the final day of campaigning for assembly elections earlier this year, in which he returned to power. “The security of Uttarakhand’s cultural and religious heritage, the security of its environment and the security of its borders are important not only for the state but for the whole country. Shortly after the swearing-in ceremony, the BJP government will form a committee consisting of people familiar with the legal system, retired employees, company figures and other stakeholders to prepare a draft UCC,” Dhami said.
He then announced the committee, at the first-ever Cabinet meeting of the new government, in May, with the task of verifying all relevant laws governing the personal affairs of residents of the state.
Announcing the committee, Dhami said the introduction of the UCC would “realize the dream of the creators of our Constitution and solidify the spirit of the Constitution” and that it was a major election promise of the BJP.