Highlights

  • Scheduled Tribes exempt from Civil Code
  • Tribals can follow own customs, traditions
  • Questions over universality of proposed law

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Tribals exempt from Uttarakhand's proposed Uniform Civil Code

Scheduled Tribes that make up close to 3% of Uttarakhand's population will not come under the proposed civil law.

Tribals exempt from Uttarakhand's proposed Uniform Civil Code

Tribals are a notable exemption from the Uniform Civil Code Bill tabled in the Uttarakhand Assembly on Tuesday, sparking a debate on the universality of the civil laws if certain communities continue to be governed by their own traditions.

The draft bill provides a uniform legal framework governing marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption across religious communities in the state. However, Scheduled Tribes that make up close to 3% of Uttarakhand's population will not come under the proposed law.

Tribal populations will continue to be allowed to engage in outlawed practices like polygamy and child marriage, even as the bill claims to foster gender equality. Right to inherit land and property, irrespective of gender, will also remain alien to Scheduled Tribes.

All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) leader Aminul Islam questioned a uniform code that excludes some sections of the society. "If Adivasis and Dalits are not included under this law then how is it going to be universalised,” he asked.

Tribals like Tharu, Bhotiyas, and Jaunsari form 2.9% of Uttarakhand’s population and are natives of border districts of Chamoli and Pithoragarh. They have been excluded from the UCC after the ruling BJP government faced backlash over fears that customs integral to the Tribal identity would be banned.

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