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The Uttarakhand government has formed an expert committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge for implementing Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and to check all the relevant laws that control personal matters for those living in Uttarakhand.

A state government order said that a five-member committee will be headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Desai, who currently heads the Delimitation Commission of India. Other members of the committee are: retired Delhi High Court judge Pramod Kohli, social activist Manu Gaur, retired IAS officer Shatrughan Singh, and Doon University Vice-Chancellor Surekha Dangwal.

“The Governor has given his permission to establish an expert committee to check all the relevant laws which control personal matters for people living in Uttarakhand, and to prepare a report on amendments in the present laws,” reads the order by the state Home Department.

Earlier in March, after the first cabinet meeting of the newly formed government, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had announced to form a committee of experts for implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the state. The UCC is referred to a common set of laws governing personal matters such as marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance and succession for all citizens, irrespective of religion.

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Making the announcement after the meeting, Dhami had said that the cabinet has unanimously approved setting up of a high-powered committee at the earliest on the issue. Bringing in the UCC in the state in order to “fulfil the dream of our Constitution’s creators, and solidify the spirit of the Constitution” was a major electoral promise of the BJP.

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On the last day of poll campaigning in Uttarakhand, Dhami had announced forming a committee of experts for the draft UCC. “The security of cultural and religious heritage of Uttarakhand, security of its environment and security of its borders is important not just for the state but the entire country. Soon after the oath-taking ceremony, the BJP government will form a committee of those with knowledge of the legal system, retired employees, prominent people from society, and other stakeholders to prepare a draft of the UCC,” Dhami had said.

“The UCC will be an important step to solidify the spirit of the Constitution. This will also be an effective step towards Article 44 of the Constitution that talks about securing a UCC for every citizen of the country. The apex court, too, from time to time has emphasised on its implementation,” he had added.

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