Assam CM Affirms Front Door Approach to Uniform Civil Code

Guwahati, 26th February: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma reiterated his government’s commitment to implementing the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) through the “front door,” assuring that it won’t encroach upon traditional practices and rituals.

During a discussion on the ‘Assam Healing (Prevention of Evil) Practices Bill, 2024’ in the Assembly, Sarma clarified that the UCC primarily focuses on preventing underage marriage, banning polygamy, defining inheritance laws, and registering live-in relationships.

The Uttarakhand Assembly recently passed a similar bill, excluding Scheduled Tribes, emphasizing uniform rules on marriage, divorce, inheritances, and live-in relationships.

Asserting that Assam would be the third state after Uttarakhand and Gujarat to introduce the UCC, Sarma emphasized exempting tribal communities from its purview.

Addressing concerns raised by opposition leader Debabrata Saikia about the UCC being brought in through the “back door,” Sarma affirmed the government’s transparent approach.

The ‘Assam Healing (Prevention of Evil) Practices Bill, 2024,’ aimed at eradicating non-scientific healing practices, was passed, making ‘magical healing’ with malicious intent a punishable offense.

Sarma expressed disappointment at the opposition’s stance on repealing the Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorces Registration Act, 1935, emphasizing the need to combat child marriage.

Responding to objections about the bill potentially disturbing traditional systems, Sarma assured that it would not interfere with customary practices but target actions with malicious intent.

While the Congress and AIUDF withdrew their amendments after Sarma’s clarification, Independent MLA Akhil Gogoi maintained concerns about the bill’s definition of ‘evil practice.’

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