By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 24 Mar: The Uttarakhand Cabinet held its first meeting, today. The meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and attended by all the 8 cabinet ministers. As expected and promised during the election campaign, the cabinet discussed the proposed Uniform Civil Code and approved formation of a committee to be chaired by a retired Supreme Court or High Court justice to study and draft the code. In addition, the cabinet also decided to summon the first session of the Fifth State Assembly from 29 April onwards.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami briefed the press after the cabinet meeting. He said that his party had promised on 12 February to bring a Uniform Civil Code in Uttarakhand and implement it. Now the Cabinet has approved a proposal to set up a committee to be headed by a retired Supreme Court or High Court Judge to draft the code, which would later be adopted and implemented in Uttarakhand.
The Cabinet also authorised the Chief Minister to set up the Committee for the purpose. Dhami said the committee would prepare a draft of the law and the government would implement it. He said that a resolution to this effect was passed unanimously in the Cabinet. He added that the government expected other states to implement it as well.
The CM said that protecting the cultural and spiritual heritage of Uttarakhand, its environment and the national borders was very important not only for Uttarakhand but for the whole of India. With this in view, the new government decided in the first cabinet meeting immediately after its swearing-in that a committee consisting of jurists, retired judges, enlightened people of the society and other stakeholders would be constituted to prepare a draft of the ‘Uniform Civil Code’ for the state of Uttarakhand. The scope of this Uniform Civil Code would be uniform laws on matters like marriage, divorce, property, guardianship, adoption and inheritance for all citizens irrespective of their religion.
The Chief Minister said that this Uniform Civil Code would be an important step towards fulfilling the dreams of the framers of the Constitution. It would give shape to the spirit of the Constitution. It would also be an effective step in the direction of Article 44 of the Indian Constitution, which recommends the concept of Uniform Civil Code for all citizens of the country. The Supreme Court has also stressed on its implementation from time to time. The government would also consult with the state of Goa which had set an example in the country by implementing a kind of ‘Uniform Civil Code’ there. He added that implementation of the ‘Uniform Civil Code’ at the earliest in Uttarakhand would strengthen equal rights for all citizens of the state. This would increase social harmony, promote gender justice, empower women, and at the same time help to preserve the exceptional cultural spiritual identity of Devbhoomi. A committee of experts, intellectuals and stakeholders headed by a retired Judge from the Supreme Court or High Court had been proposed to be constituted through a notification in the Official Gazette.
The CM further said that Uttarakhand is a vibrant state of India, the culture and heritage of which had been at the core of Indian civilisation for centuries. Therefore, it was important to protect its cultural-spiritual heritage. Uttarakhand was also the origin of Mother Ganga, the centre of faith of 130 crore people. The Himalayas, the crown of India, and the nature that flourished in its womb are the heritage of Uttarakhand. Therefore, protecting the environment was also important in Uttarakhand.
Govt will constitute committee to draft uniform civil code: Dhami
By Arun Pratap Singh