Nepal | April 05, 2020

Big III want will system dropped from Civil Code Bill

Ram Kumar Kamat

Kathmandu, September 6

Three major parties — the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre — want to drop the will system, a provision whereby a person can give property to the person(s) of his choice — from the much awaited Civil Code Bill.

Representatives of the Parliamentary Business Advisory Committee had on Monday decided to pass the Civil Code Bill sans the provision of will system and as per the same agreement the Parliament Secretariat had listed the issue in its business schedule for Monday, but Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar removed the agenda from the business schedule later after the CPN-UML sought the matter to be referred to the Legislation Committee again.

The Legislation Committee has passed the bill, including the provision relating to will system, unanimously.

This bill is expected to be listed in the Parliament’s business schedule on Friday. It is yet not clear whether the bill will be passed on Friday without the provision of the will system or be referred to the Legislation Committee as demanded by the UML.

CPN-MC Chief Whip Rekha Sharma said the UML had agreed with other parties to pass the bill without the provision of the will system and then the Parliament Secretariat had on Monday listed the bill in the business schedule on Monday, but the UML changed its mind at the eleventh hour and demanded that it to be sent to the Legislation Committee again.

“If we send this bill to the Legislation Committee again, it cannot be passed in this session of the Parliament. We are in no mood to prolong this issue,” Sharma said, adding, “I hope the UML agrees to pass the bill on Friday without the provision of the will system.”

UML Chief Whip Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal said his party was committed to passing the bill without the provision of the will system
as the issue had already been agreed upon by the leadership of the major parties, but his party wanted to send the bill back to the Legislation Committee to follow due process.

“The Legislation Committee has unanimously passed the Civil Code Bill and in such a case if the line minister changes some contents of the bill in the Parliament, it will undermine the supremacy of the Parliament,” Dhakal said and added that the Parliamentary panel could make changes in its report and send it to the Parliament within two days.

“Our lawmakers represented in the Legislation Committee will not go against our party’s official line which is to drop the will system” he said and added that the party decided to drop the provision relating to the will system after many people said that since the provision would be enforced after 18 years, it was not necessary to include it at this stage.  Dhakal said the government had not discussed the process to be followed on the bill with his party.

Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Yagya Bahadur Thapa said the government would drop the provision of will system as the majority of lawmakers wanted the same.

Member of the Legislation Committee Ram Narayan Bidari said the major parties changed their mind after some women leaders of the parties pressured their leadership to remove the provision of will system.

“Women leaders argue that the will system should not be introduced in Nepal’s law at a time when women won equal share in parental property after a long battle,” Bidari added. Bidari said existing General Code’s provisions relating to partition of property was against fundamental rights as those provisions allowed the members of one’s family to claim share in the property earned by another member of the family.

“This provision is against the right to property ensured in the constitution but we tolerated this provision till now. I am in favour of the will system because I want the Parliament to end the customary law that unfairly give
the right to one individual to claim a share in the property earned by his/her father, spouse, siblings and members of the family,” he added.


A version of this article appears in print on September 07, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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