Uttarakhand Chief Minister Puskhar Singh Dhami on Saturday said that Uniform Civil Code (UCC) will be implemented in the hill state if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returns to power. This comment, by the Uttarakhand CM, comes ahead of the state assembly election, that is scheduled to be held on Monday, February 14.

However, CM Puskhar Singh Dhami’s statement has left many confused regarding the implementation of UCC in a state. Let’s take a look:

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Can one state implement Uniform Civil Code?

Indian laws do follow a uniform code in most civil matters — Indian Contract Act, Civil Procedure Code, Sale of Goods Act, Transfer of Property Act, Partnership Act, Evidence Act, etc. However, states have made hundreds of amendments and there is diversity even under these secular civil laws. Recently, several states refused to be governed by the uniform Motor Vehicles Act, 2019.

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If the framers of the Constitution had intended to have a Uniform Civil Code, they would have given exclusive jurisdiction to Parliament in respect of personal laws, by including this subject in the Union List. But “personal laws” are mentioned in the Concurrent List. In 2019, the Law Commission concluded that a Uniform Civil Code is neither feasible nor desirable.

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What is a Uniform Civil Code?

A Uniform Civil Code is one that would provide for one law for the entire country, applicable to all religious communities in their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc. Article 44 of the Constitution lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for the citizens throughout the territory of India.