Civil Code Bill proposes will system on property

Kathmandu, April 30

Civil Code Bill 2015 proposes to introduce the will system which will abolish people’s right to parental property.

This bill is being considered by the Legislation Committee of Parliament.

Legislation Committee member Ram Narayan Bidari, who represents the Unified CPN-Maoist in the panel, said the committee was initially discussing implementing the will system from 2023, but now they were of the view that more time should be given before implementing it.  He said families should be given enough time to prepare their members to accept that the old system of partitioning parental property would be a thing of past and now they would have to be self- reliant and not expect anything from their parents.

The will system chapter of the proposed Bill states that once these provisions come into effect, provisions relating to partition of property will automatically become ineffective.

“We need to give our children enough time to know that from now on they cannot rely on parental property and they should be self-reliant,” said Bidari, adding that he was in favour of implementing the will system only after 18 years from the date the civil code  comes into effect.

“Today’s children are very dependent on their parents. This is bad for the family and the country,” Bidari said, and added that if the country continued to allow partition of parental property, the new generation would be lazy and unproductive. He further said partition of property had led to the worst fragmentation of land and this could only be stopped by the will system.

Another member of the committee Laxman Lal Karna said the will system was partially in existence in the past as there was a separate chapter on ‘Donation and Gift’ in the Muluki Ain (General Code), but the provisions that the new Civil Code Bill was proposing was comprehensive in the sense that they would fundamentally change property law.

Karna also said that the state should give people enough time, preferably 16 years, so that they could psychologically prepare themselves to be self-reliant.

Karna said the committee was also discussing what percentage of parental property one could give through will. He said the committee was of the view that people should be allowed to will their self-earned property, but with regard to parental property, there should be some restriction on the testator.

“If a person is allowed to give all of his/her parental property by will to one person when he has other dependents, particularly sons and daughters, then that could be injustice,” Karna said, and added that the committee was still discussing appropriate provisions. He said the best thing would be to mandate a testator to save a certain percentage of parental/ancestral property for his/her dependents.

Bidari also said the committee was also discussing whether the will maker should give his/her property equally to sons and daughters. The committee will consult more stakeholders, including jurists, before presenting the bill to the Parliament in September.