Uttarakhand, a small northern Indian state governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, is set to pass a bill to replace religion-specific civil laws with a Uniform Civil Code, which could be used as a template by other states.
The bill, being debated by Uttarakhand’s legislature on Wednesday, is expected to sail through as Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) commands a majority in the state.
But many Muslims see it as curbing their religion, interfering with centuries-old practices such as polygamy.
WHAT IS THE UNIFORM CIVIL CODE?
Indians from different religions can follow laws specific to their faiths or opt for a secular code. Laws on who and how many people a person can marry, how to end a marriage and inheritance differ by religion.
The code envisions the same set of rules for everyone.
The constitution adopted in 1950 placed the code in a section that recommends laws for future governments. It encouraged the state to “endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory”.