Community and Patriarchy:  CPIML on the Uttarakhand UCC Bill

Uttarakhand State Committee of CPI(ML) Secretary Indresh Maikhuri in a statement issued on February 6 strongly condemned the divisive Uniform Civil Code (UCC) legislation introduced in Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly by BJP government. He said that the bill is a futile exercise and doesn’t bring uniformity amongst citizens in any way. Rather, the bill is aimed at furthering BJP's nefarious agenda of communal polarization. Furthermore, the bill is an attempt by the state to make intrusion in personal relations of consenting adults. There are existing laws in place to deal with marriage, divorce, and succession and there is no need for a new law. 

The BJP government claims the bill being uniform for all citizens but keeps tribals practices and customs out of its preview. At the same time, the bill aims to regulate the customs and practices of other communities, especially minorities. Clearly, the aim of the bill is to target minority communities and intrude into the personnel relationship of consenting adults in the name of 'uniformity.'

On registration of marriage and divorce, the UCC bill stipulates for compulsory registration, a clause that was already provided in existing laws.  Section 15 of the bill mandates that the marriage and divorce register have to be put in public domain. This move raises serious questions, as it infringes upon the privacy of individuals. Furthermore, the provision in the bill that even if one individual in marriage is not resident of Uttarakhand but still the marriage has to be registered in State is beyond comprehension.

The provision regarding compulsory registration of live-in relationship is a matter of serious concern. As per the bill, the starting or ending a live-in relationship for heterosexual couples needs to be registered and record of which will be kept in a police station. Not only the bill penalizes non-registration with a jail term and/or fine, but also a delay in registration beyond the one-month window period.  

It is beyond comprehension why Pushkar Singh Dhami's government is so anxious to intrude into the personal liberty and privacy of adults. Clearly, it is an attempt to convert the 'one-day hooliganism' by right-wing groups during Valentine's Day into a permanent state narrative for moral policing.

The bill is patriarchal, regressive and communal. Such legislation, that violates liberty and privacy, has no place in any democratic society.