EDITORIAL: Sweeping reforms

The Will System which was passed at the Legislation Committee was dropped when the Bills were discussed in the full House of Parliament

The Legislature-Parliament made amendment to the Civil Code Bill and the Civil Procedure Code Bill, making sweeping reforms in the country’s civil law introduced 164 years ago by the then Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana.

Both the Bills will come into force one year later on August 17, 2018.

The Bills have however scrapped the government–proposed Will System, widely prevalent in developed countries, after influential women lawmakers from major political parties stood against it, arguing that the provision of equal rights for son and daughter on parental property, which was introduced a few years ago, has yet to be implemented, and it is the daughter who will be deprived of the right to parental property once the Will System is introduced.

The Will System which was passed at the Legislation Committee was dropped when both the Bills were discussed at the full House of Parliament, which sent them back to the concerned committee for reconsideration as per the wishes of the top leaders of the major political parties.

The Will System was supposed to come into force only 18 years later, considering that by then the society will be mentally prepared for the system which was new in Nepal’s context and land holding pattern in the country.

The Civil Code Bill passed by Parliament has given more rights to woman divorcee. According to the Bill passed on Monday, the woman divorcee can use the property received from her former husband even if she gets re-married.

The original Bill had it that the woman divorcee was required to return the alimony to her son or daughter from the previous marriage if she remarries and, if she does not have any child, she had to return the property to her former husband.

Both the Bills will replace the existing general code.

The Bills also allow a woman to use either the surname of her father or mother or of her husband or both. In yet another reform, the Civil Procedure Code Bill states that the loan deeds involving more than Rs. 50,000 is required to get registered at the concerned ward office at the local level. Any deed not registered at the ward office will be considered invalid.

The right to property was passed in 2067 B.S. when it allowed sons and daughters  equal right on parental property.

The Criminal Code passed earlier has toughened the jail sentence for life term on six kinds of crimes which include: killing of a person in a cruel and torturous manner, killing of person(s) after hijacking/exploding of an airplane, killing of a person after abduction or taken under control for ransom, killing of person(s) by poisoning drinking stuff or food to be used publicly, genocide and killing after rape.

A person convicted on any one of the above-mentioned crime will have to remain in jail till death.

A person convicted on other crimes that seeks 20 years of jail term has been extended to 30 years. Both the Civil and Criminal Code Bills will have a pervasive impact on society as both of them have tried to address some of the pressing issues not addressed by the existing codes which were obsolete in the changed context.

SHAPU outbreak

There is now an outbreak of Seasonal Hyper Acute Panuveitis (SHAPU) which is a sight-threatening ocular disease in the country. Children below 10 years old are particularly vulnerable.

If patients do not seek timely treatment they could lose their vision. The symptoms of the disease can be seen within 24 hours after infection. If they are not treated within 48 hours then they could lose their vision. The reasons for this disease is not clear but most of the patients with the disease report having contacting with moths.

Considering that children are more likely to be affected parents should prevent their children from coming into contact with moths, use mosquito net at night and also not to use while lamps or CFL that attract the moths.

According to doctors the symptoms of the disease are the sudden onset of redness in the eye with little pain in the affected eye leading to sudden loss of vision or poor vision.

Therefore, all those who have such symptoms should immediately seek treatment. The BP Koirala Lions Centre for Ophthalmic Studies says that ten children below five had been diagnosed with this disease within 12 days.

About 50 were infected with SHAPU last year. There are fears that this disease will affect more children.