With the implementation of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC), Uttarakhand has made it mandatory for live-in couples to register themselves with district officials.
Under the newly enacted UCC Bill, live-in partners, particularly those below 21 years of age, must obtain parental consent and register their relationship within one month of cohabitation.
Failure to comply could result in severe penalties, including imprisonment ranging from three to six months, a hefty fine of ₹25,000, or both.
The registration process involves submitting a detailed statement of their living arrangement to the nearest registrar, who conducts a thorough inquiry into the authenticity of the claims.
This inquiry may include summoning the partners for verification.
Within 30 days of statement submission, the registrar has the authority to either issue a registration certificate or refuse registration, citing specific reasons in writing.
Instances where registration is denied include cases deemed against public morality, involvement of a married or already committed partner, the presence of a minor, or instances of coercion or fraud in obtaining consent.
Additionally, the UCC Bill empowers both partners to terminate the registration through a written statement submitted to district officials, adhering to prescribed procedures.
In cases involving minors, officials are mandated to inform parents or guardians accordingly.
Meanwhile, the enactment of UCC in Uttarakhand has also sparked anticipation in other states, including the Northeast.
Earlier on January 11, Assam’s Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had expressed intentions to emulate Uttarakhand and Gujarat in implementing a UCC.
Sarma affirmed that while Assam would adopt a similar framework, tailored adjustments would be made, particularly to accommodate the state’s tribal communities, exempting them from the UCC provisions.
The Uniform Civil Code aims to establish and enforce a set of personal laws that are applicable uniformly to all citizens, ensuring equality and justice.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has previously underscored the necessity of a single legal framework, highlighting that the nation cannot operate on dual laws, and that the UCC aligns with the foundational principles and ideals of the Constitution.
However, the Northeast will not be affected by its implementation, according to union minister SP Singh Baghel, who made this claim earlier in 2023.
The union minister had assured that the BJP-led government will not implement a law that “goes against the interests of the people of the Northeast”.