TOPICS: Property rights of women

The idea of making provision in the New Civil Code Bill 2015 will and already has drawn flak as it may propose barring a wife from claiming the partition share of the property of her husband.

A sub-committee which has been formed under the Legislation Committee of the Parliament is mooting this idea.

The Nepali Congress parliamentarian Radheyshyam Adhikari leading the sub-committee to work on Civil Code Bill has said that this is still being discussed as to whether the wife can claim the partition share of her husband’s property should she divorce and if this is reasonable or not.

Clearly it would be a flaw should the Bill be passed by not permitting women who divorce to get their just share.

Adhikari is arguing that the new constitution disallows any discrimination on the grounds of gender and both sons and daughters will have an equal right to inherit a share of their paternal property.

He insists, therefore, that a wife could not claim the share of the property in case she divorces.

He says that if a wife gets property from her husband she would be getting parental property as well, which is not reasonable.

However, he is of the opinion that the members of this sub-committee may, however, recommend that they make provisions which would entitle both husband and wife to an equal share of the property that was earned jointly.

According to some, the rationale behind all this is to not provide women with the partition share from their husband so as to prevent the women from divorcing solely for the purpose of acquiring property.

Things as they are, it was high time a thorough study was conducted by the sub-committee members to be acquainted with the divorce rate in recent times as it is reported to be sharply on the increase, as well as reasons for the divorces.

But it should also be remembered that only a small percentage of women are believed to divorce with the main objective of acquiring property from their husbands.

The New Civil Code Bill, when passed, is expected to have various repercussions on society at large.

There is merit in the argument that women should not be allowed to get a double benefit of property inheritance as men do not have this right.

But the way out of this is not to prevent women from getting the partition share of husbands’ property but to amend the constitutional provision which has given equal right to sons and daughters to get a share of parental property.