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Uttarakhand Excludes Tribes: Civil Code Impact



  Feb 29, 2024

Exclusion of Scheduled Tribes from Uttarakhand’s Uniform Civil Code



1. Why are Scheduled Tribes excluded from Uttarakhand’s UCC?

Scheduled Tribes are excluded from Uttarakhand’s Uniform Civil Code (UCC) due to constitutional protections under the Fifth and Sixth Schedules, which safeguard their customs and practices. Laws affecting these communities require the approval of the Governor. The UCC also references Part XXI of the Constitution, protecting the special status of certain states and their tribal communities.

2. Is the exclusion of STs from the UCC a political decision?

While the exclusion has constitutional and legal bases, there is also a significant political dimension. The decision aims to assure ST communities, especially in light of upcoming elections, that their customs and rights will be protected against the imposition of a uniform code that may not respect their unique cultural practices.

3. How does the UCC impact tribal land ownership and cultural practices?

ST communities fear that the UCC could affect their land ownership patterns, which are integral to their culture and livelihood. The concern is that a uniform legal framework may not accommodate the communal and ancestral nature of land ownership prevalent among tribal societies. Additionally, there’s apprehension about the legal push to assimilate tribal customs into the mainstream, potentially eroding their distinct cultural identities.

4. What is the legal precedent regarding the application of Hindu law to ST communities?

The Indian judiciary has occasionally applied the Hindu Code to ST communities through the test of “Hinduisation,” where tribal customs and practices that have become assimilated into Hindu practices are subject to Hindu law. This approach, however, raises concerns about undermining the unique cultural and religious identities of ST communities.

5. Can tribal customs and practices be discriminatory? How does the law address this?

Yes, some tribal customs and practices can be discriminatory, especially towards women in matters of inheritance and property rights. The Supreme Court of India has acknowledged such issues but faces challenges in addressing them without infringing on the autonomy and customs of tribal communities. The judiciary seeks to balance respect for tribal traditions with the protection of individual rights, often navigating complex legal and ethical considerations.

SRIRAM’s


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