Draft curtails women’s right to inherit propertyThe draft constitution has left women in the lurch as far as parental property is concerned.
The draft constitution has curtailed women’s right to inherit ancestral property, which is one of the major achievements regarding women rights and is stated in the Interim Constitution, by simply wiping out the provision that clearly states that both “sons and daughters shall have equal right to ancestral property.”
Article 43 (6) of the draft constitution states that “a couple shall have equal right to ancestral property”, which means a woman becomes eligible to inherit property only after she gets married.
Lawyers say the provision, if passed without amendment, will hit hard women who chose to remain single.
“The lawmakers have mopped the word “patriarchy” but it is clear that only a patriarchal mindset would backtrack to deny women their right to inherit
ancestral property. The draft statute is also silent about how single women will get access to their parental property,” said advocate Meera Dhungana.
She argued that lawmakers cannot curtail the right that was already enshrined in the Interim Constitution. “The provision also contradicts the Article 43 of the constitution draft, which says that women shall not be discriminated only because of their sex,” Dhungana said.
The provision is a huge setback in empowering women economically and will only make them dependent on their husbands to inherent property. It also contradicts government initiatives to provide women access to property by providing 30 percent exemption on tax while transferring land ownership to women in rural areas.
Advocate Deependra Jha said the statute draft is prejudiced as far as daughters are concerned. “Women in our country are poor. They have very little access to property and this will only worsen their plight,” Jha said, arguing that if sons have the right to inherit parental property so should daughters.