New Civil Code gives a new reason for women to rejoice. Women dispirited over ‘discriminatory provisions’ on citizenship have, however, one reason to rejoice over property issues. The New Civil Code that came into action on the 17th of August, 2018 specifies that daughters will be entitled to their share of both parental and husband’s property.
Starting from 17th of August, 2018, daughter won’t have to return their parental property to their parents after marriage. This case was propagated back on September 2015.
Lawmaker Ram Narayan Bidari, a senior advocate, stated that it was a matter of explanation whether daughters will have equal share in their parental property when the new civil code came in action or back to when the new constitution was promulgated or on October 1, 2015 when the new gender equality law (act to amend some Nepali acts to maintain gender equality and end gender-based violence) was approved.
Article 38 of the constitution specifies that every woman shall have equal descent right without gender-based discrimination. The new gender equality law amended the General Code (Muluki Ain)’s provision that required daughters to return parental property after marriage. The eleventh amendment made to General Code 17 years ago had granted daughters for the very first time to have an equal share in the parental property but they were required to return their property after marriage.
Bidari also stated that it may take 10 to 12 years to fully implement the new provision as daughters were wary of seeking their share in the parental property after marriage. “But if any daughter seeks her share in the parental property after marriage, she will be entitled to get her share from now on,” Bidari said.
Nepali Congress lawmaker Radhe Shyam Adhikari, who is also a senior advocate, said the new law established the fact that sons and daughters had the inherent right in parental property. He said the Parliament rejected the provisions relating to will system last year, but ultimately society would have to adopt the will system in around 20 years’ time.
“Last year some leaders argued that if the country adopted will system, parents who favour son over daughters will end up giving all their properties to their sons through will, and therefore, major parties agreed to drop the will system from the civil code, but I think ultimately we will have to go for it,” he added.
Adhikari said many people who earned property abroad were not required to share their property with other family members, and parents whose sons and daughters were living abroad were not in a position to sell their property in Nepal without the consent of their children, and these complex social phenomena would force society to adopt the will system.
Advocate Meera Dhungana said, “Although the partition chapter of the civil code gave equal rights to sons and daughters over parental property, the same principle was not followed on matters of divorce as the code stipulated that women would not get share in her husband’s property if the divorce took place due to her fault.”
Advocate Indu Tuladhar said some people were mistakenly arguing that women would now be entitled to double property as they will have a share in both parental and husband’s property. A woman is entitled to get an equal share in the parental property because she is an equal copartner and as far as her share in husband’s family is concerned, she also contributes to the family earning, and therefore, she has the right to demand her share in husband’s property, she argued.
“In the past when unmarried daughters had the right to claim parental property, most of them did not do so because they did not feel empowered. I hope things will change in the days to come,” she said.
Tuladhar said the flip side of the provisions of the partition of the property was that disputes relating to partition led to conflict between male members of society and now with the introduction of this provision, daughters might also find themselves in similar precarious situations.
Reference: The Himalayan Times