Wives may not get partition share of hubby’s property

Kathmandu, June 11

A sub-committee formed under the Legislation Committee of the Parliament may propose barring a wife from claiming partition share of her husband’s property.

This debate has been triggered by a provision in the New Civil Code Bill 2015 that proposes giving the wife partition share of her husband’s property if she divorces him.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Radheshyam Adhikari, who heads the sub-committee formed to work on the Civil Code Bill said the sub-committee members were still discussing whether or not it would be reasonable to allow the wife to get partition share of her husband’s property.

Adhikari said the new constitution prohibited discrimination on grounds of gender and therefore, sons and daughters would be equally eligible for share of parental property.

“I am of the view that sons and daughters will be entitled to their partition share of parental property, so when a wife divorces her husband, she should not claim her partition share of the husband’s property. If a wife gets partition share of husband’s property, she will be getting property from her parents as well as her husband,” Adhikari added.

Adhikari said the panel members could recommend a provision allowing spouses to claim equal share of properties earned by them jointly.

He said the sub-committee members would also take into account the divorce rate in recent times.

“Barring women from partition share of husband’s property will also prevent them from divorcing their spouses for property,” he said, adding that such a provision would prevent women from seeking divorce for property and immigration purposes.

The question of barring or not barring a woman from claiming her partition share of the husband’s property, however, will be irrelevant once the country adopts the will system.

The new Civil Code Bill also proposes to opt for the will system. Legislation Committee members are of the view that the will system can be enforced 16 to 18 years after the Civil Code is enacted into law.

Advocate Nirmala Bhandari said as the new Civil Code Bill was planning to introduce will system in the country, it would be a positive step to bar women from claiming partition share of her husband’s property after divorce.

She said there were some women who sought divorce for the sole purpose of claiming partition share of their husband’s property and if the Civil Code Bill prevented such women from seeking partition share of husband’s property, that would be good for society.

“But there are other categories of poor women who endure violence committed by the husband. Such women do not seek divorce because they think they won’t get any property if they divorce their husband,” Bhandari added.

Civil Code Bill has also proposed that both husband and wife can file divorce cases in the district court. Under the exiting provision, women can directly file divorce cases at the District court, whereas the husband should first file the case in his VDC or municipality before going to the district court.

Adhikari said the new civil code bill will have profound impact on society as it will change society in a dramatic way.

The Legislation Committee has decided to discuss people’s feedback on the Bill’s provisions till the last moment.

According to Adhikari, Parliament has made an exception for this Bill by allowing amendments till the last hour without prohibiting amendments after 72 hours as is the general rule.

“We are taking notes on the Civil Code Bill because we know that if any provision of the bill is rejected by our society, that could create division in society,” he added.