By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 6 Feb: Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami introduced the Uniform Civil Code Uttarakhand 2024 Bill in the state assembly on the second day of the Special Session, here, today. Slogans of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Jai Shri Ram’ were raised by MLAs in the House after the introduction of the Bill.
The proceedings of the House were adjourned till 2 p.m. soon after the introduction. After the lunch break, the discussion began on the bill and continued till late evening. The bill was scheduled to be passed today, but in view of many members wanting to participate, the discussion will continue in the pre-lunch sitting tomorrow, followed by putting the bill to vote.
Interestingly, while initially the Opposition members created a ruckus at the time of the introduction of the bill, as the discussion continued till late evening, barely three to four members from the Opposition were seen in the House. These included Leader of the Opposition Yashpal Arya and Tilak Raj Behad.
While Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami highlighted the salient points of the bill and the necessity for it, the Opposition members opposed the bill mainly on the technical ground that they had not been given adequate time to study it.
When Parliamentary Minister Prem Chand Aggarwal started presenting his views on the merits of UCC, the opposition leaders started creating a ruckus, on which the Parliamentary Minister responded by claiming that there is no ground under their feet but they are unable to realise this.
After Aggarwal, Leader of the Opposition Yashpal Arya presented his stand on the UCC. He said it was being rushed through. The Opposition has asked for adequate time to deliberate on it. Arya said that the Opposition is not opposing the bill but rather asking the House to function as per the constitutional procedure and rules. However, the BJP is continuously ignoring this demand of the Opposition.
In the morning, Chief Minister Dhami reached the House with an original copy of the Constitution in his hand.
There was uproar before the introduction of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill in the Assembly. Congress raised questions on the process of listening to the opposition and running the House in the business advisory committee. The Opposition members claimed that the ruling party is trying to run the House merely on the basis of numbers.
Chief Minister Dhami said that the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is in everyone’s interest and no one needs to be worried. He claimed that the state and the country had been waiting for a uniform civil code for a long time. Everyone was waiting for it to be presented in the Uttarakhand Assembly. Now this wait is ending. The CM also claimed that the whole country’s eyes are on Uttarakhand. This is a revolutionary time. He asserted that everyone should participate in the discussion positively for the upliftment of mother power. This is for every sect, every community and every religion. Before the 2022 assembly elections, the BJP had pledged to the people of the state that as soon as the new government is formed, the party would work on equal laws for all communities and bring the Uniform Civil Code. That time has now come. This is a moment of pride. On the doubts of the opposition, Dhami claimed that no provision in the UCC bill is ultra vires of any Constitutional provision.
Later, while the Opposition members chose to express their apprehension regarding certain provisions in the bill, the members from the Treasury Benches, such as Munna Singh Chauhan, Bansidhar Bhagat, Durgesh Pal, Preetam Singh Panwar and others lavishly praised the provisions and claimed that all the credit for the bill goes to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. They also claimed that the bill was long awaited and, now, this would end the discrimination against women in matters of divorce and inheritance, and also provide security cover to those in live-in relationships.
In addition, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prem Chand Aggarwal also tabled a bill providing for ten percent horizontal reservation in government jobs to statehood agitationists or their dependants. This bill is also expected to be passed tomorrow. Though the session is scheduled to conclude on 8 February, it may end tomorrow, itself, in case both these bills get passed tomorrow.