Uttarakhand UCC Bill: The Uniform Civil Code was tabled in the Uttarakhand Assembly Tuesday morning and, among other points, says children born out of live-in relationships will receive legal recognition.
Individuals in, or planning to enter, live-in relationships in Uttarakhand must register themselves with district officials once the Uniform Civil Code becomes law, with parental consent required for those below the age of 21 who wish to live together. Mandatory registration of such relationships extends to individuals who “any resident of Uttarakhand… in a live-in relationship outside the State”.
Live-in relationships will not be registered in cases that are “against public policy and morality”, if one partner is married or in another relationship, if one partner is a minor, and if consent of one partner was obtained by “coercion, fraud, or misrepresentation (with regard to identity)”.
A senior official told NDTV a website is being prepped to accept details of live-in relationship, which will be verified with the District Registrar, who will conduct a “summary inquiry” to establish the validity of the relationship. To do so, he may summon either or both partners, or anybody else.
Should registration be refused, the Registrar must inform in writing his/her reasons.
The “termination” of registered live-in relationships requires a written statement, in a “prescribed format” that can invite police investigation if the Registrar feels reasons for the relationship ending are “incorrect” or “suspicious”. Parents or guardians of those under 21 will also be informed.
Failure to submit live-in relationship declarations, or providing false information, could land one in jail for three months, a fine of ₹ 25,000, or both. Anyone who fails to register a live-in relationship will face a maximum of six months in jail, be fined ₹ 25,000, or both. Even a delay in registration, by as little as a month, will trigger a jail term of up to three months, a fine of ₹ 10,000, or both.
Among other key points in the section on live-in relationships in the Uniform Civil Code that was tabled in the Uttarakhand Assembly Tuesday morning are that children born out of live-in relationships will receive legal recognition; i.e., they “shall be a legitimate child of the couple”.
This, the same official told NDTV, means “rights of all children born out of wedlock, in live-in relationships, or via incubation, will be the same… no child can be defined as ‘illegitimate'”.
Also, “all children will have equal rights in inheritance (including parental property)”, the official said, drawing attention to the language of the UCC, which refers to “child” and not “son” or “daughter”.
A woman “deserted by her live-in partner” can claim maintenance, the UCC draft also said, although it does not specify what constitutes “desertion”.
Uttarakhand’s Uniform Civil Code: Explained
A Uniform Civil Code, or UCC refers to a set of laws applicable to all citizens, and is not based on religion when dealing with marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption, among other personal matters.
A common civil code for Uttarakhand was one of the major poll promises made by the BJP in the run-up to last year’s assembly election, which the party won.