Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Uttarakhand’s UCC Bill Takes On Live-In Relationships

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The recent passage of the UCC Bill by the Uttarakhand government marks a significant step towards legal equality for all citizens. A government-appointed panel deliberated on the Uniform Civil Code Bill. The panel’s chairman, retired Supreme Court Judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, tabled the bill to be approved by the state cabinet.

However, the spotlight of this bill falls on its approach to live-in relationships. Liberals are up in arms about the clauses that relate to this modern casual union. Let’s discuss the implications of this particular clause and its alignment with Sanatani values!

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Why is the Live-In Relationship Clause of the UCC Bill Important?

Uttarakhand Uniform Civil Code (UCC): Child born out of a live-in relationship will be 'legitimate' | Dehradun News - Times of India
PC Times of India

Critics have raised concerns, suggesting that the bill infringes on citizens’ personal lives. They seem to believe that the government wants to know what happens behind every closed bedroom door. However, the reality is that the UCC Bill addresses a pressing need in society. An increasing number of young couples choosing to cohabit without the sanctity of marriage. The influence of Western culture has led to a preference for casual intimacy over traditional commitments.

Moreover, Indian parents often feel powerless to intervene as their adult children opt for this alternative path, undermining the sanctity of relationships. Thus, the government’s intervention through this bill aims to establish guidelines that protect individuals who opt for live-in relationships.

It also aims to give these grey-zone unions a legal recognition to protect female partners and offsprings, if any. 

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How Does the UCC Bill Protect Couples in Live-In Relationships?

Declare live-in relationship or face up to 6 months jail: Uttarakhand Uniform Civil Code - India Today
PC India Today

The Uttarakhand government has introduced measures to streamline and legalize live-in relationships. Here are the key take-wawys for the wise:

  • Mandatory registration of all live-in relationships within the state provides couples with a semi-legal status in society.
  • Individuals in live-in relationships residing outside Uttarakhand must submit a statement to the state Registrar, enhancing transparency and preventing fraud.
  • Provisions in the Bill ensure that partners have complete knowledge of each other’s legal identity, marital status, and religion; minimizing the risk of deception or misrepresentation.
  • Couples must demonstrate their free consent to the relationship, eliminating coercion and fraud.
  • Parental consent is mandatory if either partner is under 21, preventing impulsive decisions among the youth.
  • Deserted female partners of long-term live-in relationships are entitled to claim maintenance from their male partners, granting women in such unions legal protection akin to formal marriage.
  • Children born during the relationship are recognized as legitimate offspring of the couple.
Uttarakhand Uniform Civil Code (UCC): Child born out of a live-in relationship will be 'legitimate' | Dehradun News - Times of India
PC Times of India

The bill also outlines punitive measures for non-registration, including imprisonment or fines, to deter fraud and coercion. Thus, the UCC Bill aims to eradicate misrepresentation, coercion, and abandonment from society, thereby legitimizing live-in relationships.

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UCC Gives Live-In Relationships Gandharva Vivaha Status

Law Web: Marriage performed in gandharva form -whether wife is entitled to get maintenance?
PC Law Web

Drawing parallels with ancient Hindu traditions, the UCC Bill bestows live-in relationships with a status akin to Gandharva Vivaha. Similar to Gandharva Vivaha, where couples chose companionship without elaborate ceremonies, the UCC Bill emphasizes individual freedom and choice over societal norms. Under Gandharva Vivaha, the couple’s union was legitimized via public declaration of intent. Thus, the society assigned the partners the roles similar to that of husband and wife. Moreover, the Vivaha ensured that children born of this union were recognized as legal descendants.

Similarly, by providing a legal framework for live-in relationships the Uttarakhand government acknowledges the changing dynamics of modern relationships while upholding traditional values. The bill ensures that young couples must declare their intent and consent through legal registration. Thereby, offering clarity to family and society as well as protection to the couple. This Bill is a positive step that acknowledges the evolving needs of society. Moreover, it aims to enrich relationships by providing legal recognition and security. Let’s hope that the youth of Uttarakhand embrace this UCC bill as a progressive change aligned with Sanatani principles.

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