Uttarakhand Gets Uniform Civil Code For Marriage, Divorce, Succession & Live-In Relationship
The Legislative Assembly Of Uttarakhand passed Uniform Civil Code of Uttarakhand, 2024 yesterday.
The Code deals with Marriage and Divorce, Succession, Live-In Relationship.
Recently, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai had submitted its final draft report on Uniform Civil Code (UCC) to the Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. This was moved as a Bill by the Chief Minister of the State before the Assembly.
When it comes into force, this Uniform Civil Code will be the law for most residents in the State Of Uttarakhand. Section 2 of the Code excludes its application to the members of Scheduled Tribe and to those persons whose customary rights are protected under Part XXI of the Constitution.
Marriage and Divorce
Marriage can be solemnized/contracted between a man and woman in accordance with the religious beliefs, practices, customary rites and ceremonies. Marriages should be compulsory registered.
Conditions for marriage: A marriage will be valid only if neither party has a spouse living, neither is incapable of giving valid consent, neither is suffering from a mental disorder, and neither is insane. It further provides the age of marriage for man and woman to be 21 years and 18 years and the rule of prohibited relationship.
Section 29 of the Code provides that Marriages shall be dissolved only in accordance with the provisions of the Code. This means that it cannot be dissolved as per custom, tradition, usage or personal law.
The code also talks about (1) the period and procedure for registration of marriage (2)period and procedure for registration of decree of divorce or nullity (3) the appointment of Registrar General, Registrar, and Sub-Registrar (4) the action on receipt of memorandum under Section 10 or 11 (5) appeal against rejection of registration (6) the public inspection of registers of marriage and divorce (7) the penalty for neglect or false statement (8) the procedure in case of non-registration. (9) the punishment for inaction by Sub-Registrar and (10) marriage shall be deemed to be invalid solely because it was not registered.
As per Section 25 (1), any marriage solemnized/contracted before or after the Code’s commencement, may on a petition presented to the Court by either party to the marriage, be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the following grounds: a) Adultery b) Cruelty c) Desertion d) Conversion to another religion e) Incapacity
Sub-section 2 of Section 25 provides that either party to a marriage may also approach the Court for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce on ground of no resumption of cohabitation for one year or no restitution of conjugal rights. According to Sub-section 3, a wife may also approach the court for the same on the ground that the husband has been guilty of rape or any unnatural sexual offence or he had more than one wife from marriages solemnized/contracted before the Code’s commencement. This is an important Section as it will affect the system of bigamy or polygamy which is being prevalent amongst the Muslim population.
Section 27 states about Divorce by mutual consent and Section 28 about the restriction on petition for divorce within one year of marriage.
Section 30 is about the right of a person to remarry where a divorce decree or nullity of marriage has been passed.
Section 32 provides for the punishment for contravention of certain provisions, Section 33 about maintenance pendente lite and expenses of proceedings, Section 34 about permanent alimony and maintenance, and Section 35 about the custody of children.
This Part of the Code is something new for everyone. As per Section 378, it will be obligatory for partners to a live-in relationship within the State, whether they are residents of Uttarakhand or not, to submit a statement of live-in relationship to the Registrar. That means, this provision provides for the registration of live-in relationships. Hence, according to Section 379, any child born out of a live-in relationship will be considered as a legitimate one.
Section 380 says that a live-in relationship between parties shall not be registered in case of the following: a) Prohibited relationship (Sapinda) b) One of the parties is already married or is in a live-in relationship c) Minority d) Consent obtained by force, coercion, undue influence, misrepresentation, or fraud. Section 381 states about the procedure for registration of a live-in relationship. Whereas, Section 384 empowers the partners to terminate such relationship by submitting a statement of termination to the Registrar. According to Section 387, whoever stays in a live-in relationship for more than one month without submitting the statement under Section 381(1) i.e., without registration, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term upto three months or with fine upto 10,000 rupees or both. Interestingly, Section 388 also provides for the maintenance to the woman if she gets deserted by her live-in partner.
Section 49 of the UCC/Code is about the general rules of succession, according to which the estate of a person dying intestate shall devolve in an order of preference. Section 50 talks about the manner of succession while Sections 51 and 52 about the distribution of estate amongst the Class-1 heirs and Class-2 heirs, respectively. And, Section 53 provides for the distribution of estate amongst the other relatives.
Under Class-1 heirs, the estate of an intestate shall be divided amongst them and shall cover the following categories:
a) Spouse shall take one share each.
b) Child shall take one share each.
c) Heirs in the branch of predeceased child of intestate shall take one share together.
d) Share devolving upon branch of predeceased child shall be divided equally.
e) Surviving parents shall together take one share in equal proportion.
Hence, Section 50 covers both sons and daughters for the purpose of succession.
Sections 57-60 provides for disqualifications under succession in form of remarriage, murderer, disease, defect, deformity, etc. As per Section 61, every person of sound mind not being a minor may dispose of his/her estate by Will and Section 63 talks about its alteration and revocation. Section 64 states about the execution of Wills, mode of making, rules for executing, privileged Wills. According to Section 186 of the Code, a person claiming right by succession to estate of deceased may apply for relief against the wrongful possession.