Lawyers demand clear definition of private property

Kathmandu, June 25

Lawyers say the new Civil Code Bill needs to clearly define private property to lessen property disputes in families.

Senior Advocate Shambhu Thapa said the new bill should state that people should be free to sell or transfer private property. “A father should have the right to sell or transfer all other properties, save parental property. The new bill, including the existing laws, say a father, even if he has earned property through personal efforts, should share it with other coparceners, but sons and daughters are not required to do the same with their father,” Thapa said, adding that the provision did not protect the rights of elderly citizens.

“The law must stipulate clearly that the person who owns property can sell or transfer that property,” he added.

Advocate Ram Krishna Timilsina also said that the constitution deems every citizen sovereign and if a title holder is not allowed to sell or transfer  his/her property, then s/he could not be truly sovereign.

Timilsina said parents should be mandated only to provide maintenance for their sons and daughters and spend money on their education until the age of 21 years.  “Parents should have the right to sell and transfer their property. There may be some shortcomings in the new Civil Code Bill that need to be amended, but this bill must be enacted into law to introduce timely changes in our society,” Timilsina said.

Former Deputy Attorney General Narendra Prasad Pathak said unlike the existing bill, the bill does not say that a joint family will have to set aside some percentage of property to be spent on the marriage of unwed coparceners, as is the case in the existing provisions.

Very often, married members of a joint family separate from the family after marriage and if certain percentage of joint family property is not kept aside for unmarried coparceners, then these people will have to spend money from their own partition share, Pathak argued.

Senior Advocate Harihar Dahal said the new bill proposes to deem both sons and daughters coparceners and if that was enacted, it could create conflicts in families. He said the newly enacted law had prohibited married daughters from getting share of parental property. “With the abolition of this provision, married daughters are filing cases in courts seeking partition share of parental property. I have myself drafted a few such cases,” Dahal said.