Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma gets reports to enact a law to end polygamy.

An expert committee assembled by the Assam government to assess the legislative authority of the state legislature in enacting a law to end polygamy presented its reports to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday.

The committee, led by Justice (Retd) Rumi Kumari Phukan, submitted its report with unanimous agreement that the state possesses the capability to establish its own regulations to eliminate polygamy. 

Must, Read The Uniform Civil Code in India

“The report unanimously said the state government can frame laws on polygamy. The only point they said is that the final assent on the Bill has to be done by the President instead of the Governor, who does the final signature on other state laws,” Chief Minister added.

Chief Minister Sarma responded positively about the possibility of Assam implementing a law against polygamy and added that there would be a deliberative period for Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to engage in debates before the bill is tabled. He expressed certainty that the law would be introduced within the ongoing financial year.

Emphasizing the significance of the committee's report, Chief Minister Sarma conveyed, "Assam is now closer to creating a positive ecosystem for women's empowerment irrespective of caste, creed, or religion." 

Initially, the committee was formed on May 12, which included Advocate General Devajit Saikia, Senior Additional Advocate General Nalin Kohli, and Senior Advocate Nekibur Zaman. However, it was extended until August 12 after being granted an additional month beyond the original 60-day deadline.

The committee's core responsibility was to scrutinize the provisions of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Act, 1937, in conjunction with Article 25 of the Constitution concerning the Directive Principles of State Policy for the establishment of a Uniform Civil Code.

Chief Minister Sarma said that the state is backing UCC and its intent to promptly proscribe polygamy within the state, subject to the President's assent. He also underlined that the proposed Bill could be introduced in either the upcoming September Assembly session or the following session in January.

In response to the government's decision, opposition parties have criticized it as diversionary and driven by communal motives, particularly as the Law Commission is concurrently soliciting input on the UCC.

— Harshita Kumar

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