House to skip marriage, inheritance of property Bill

Itanagar: The Arunachal Pradesh government on Friday clarified that tabling the “Arunachal Pradesh Marriage and Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021” in the ensuing assembly session is “out of the question” and no such step would be taken without due consultation with all the stakeholders.

“A delegation of the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (APSCW) met chief minister Pema Khandu recently and a request was made to consider the Arunachal Pradesh Marriage and Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021. Though the Commission has titled the proposal as a Bill, but the same is a draft/recommendation and does not qualify as a Bill, till the due procedures are not followed,” Home Minister Bamang Felix said.

Addressing a news conference at the civil secretariat here, Felix said the so-called “Bill” has also been drafted by the Commission at its own volition and without any consultation with the state government.

“The state government was not aware of any such draft proposal being penned down. The government came to know about its existence only when the draft was submitted recently,” he said.

Felix said while the State Commission for Women is a statutory body of the Government of Arunachal Pradesh, it is, however, an advisory body and the advice like the proposal for introducing a statute for the inheritance rights of the women is not binding on the state government.

“A proposal needs to be approved by the minister and government concerned after which it needs to be examined thoroughly by the law department which would assess each and every clause of the proposal. The state Cabinet shall thereafter deliberate upon the relevance and consequences of such examined proposal and if agreed upon by the Cabinet, only then would the proposal shall qualify as a Bill and tabled in the state assembly for further debates and discussions,” Felix said.

Felix, who is also the government spokesperson, said it would not be appropriate to label the proposal as a Bill at this stage.

“This draft submitted by the APSCW is at a very nascent stage right now. Nevertheless, it has been made very clear that if the government decides to take up any such matter it would deliberate on the pros and cons and take consultations with all the stakeholders – community based organizations, civil societies, intellectuals etc,” he said.

“It is clarified that taking the said proposal in the ensuing assembly session is out of question and no such proposals will be tabled without due consultation with all the stakeholders,” Felix reiterated.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu had also on Thursday said that the matter needed consultancy and a proper debate involving all the stakeholders of the state.

“We all love our daughters and want to give them equal rights be it of education, employment or property. But this matter needs a proper debate and consultancy with regard to our indigenous identity and tribal rights specifically on property and inheritance rights,” Khandu had said.

The “Bill”, especially a clause in the “draft” of the “Arunachal Pradesh Marriage and Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021” which was submitted to the state government for consideration by the APSCW has drawn flak from several organizations of the state.

The clause states: ‘An APST (Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe) woman shall enjoy the right of any immovable property owned and acquired by her in her lifetime. In the event of her death, her husband and her heir would have full rights of its disposal and alienation to any indigenous tribal of Arunachal Pradesh.’

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