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Draft Arunachal Inheritance Bill

Context:

The draft Arunachal Pradesh Marriage and Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021, envisaging land rights for girls has met with stiff opposition in the State.

Experts have asked the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (APSCW) to scrap certain provisions from the proposed Arunachal Pradesh marriage and inheritance bill, keeping in view the public sentiment and the state’s interest. However, the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (APSCW) has defended a “contentious” Bill it has drafted for providing equal inheritance rights to women in the State.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Issues related to women, Government Policies and Initiatives)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Arunachal Pradesh Marriage and Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021
  2. Controversial Provisions of the Bill

About the Arunachal Pradesh Marriage and Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021

  • Essential conditions of marriage, registration of marriage: The bill is made applicable to any person who belongs to any indigenous scheduled tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. It provides that a marriage between parties may be solemnized according to local customary rites and rituals of the either party.
  • Restitution of conjugal rights, void and voidable marriage: The bill also provides for restitution of conjugal rights stating when either of the party has, without reasonable excuse, withdrawn from the society of the other, the aggrieved party may apply by petition to the district court for restitution of conjugal rights.
  • Grounds for dissolution of marriage (divorce): Marriage solemnized after the commencement of the act can be dissolved on various grounds.
  • Permanent alimony and maintenance: A wife who is unable to maintain herself can file application to the court for maintenance. The court may order that the husband shall pay to her an appropriate lump sum of permanent alimony.
  • Bill’s status on polygamy: Every person who, being at the time married, procures a marriage of himself or herself to be solemnized under this act shall be deemed to have committed an offence under Section 494 or Section 495 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), as the case may be, and the marriage so solemnized shall be void.

Controversial Provisions of the Bill

  • An Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) woman married to non-APST man shall enjoy any immovable property inherited from the head of the family in her lifetime.
  • In the event of her death, her husband and her heirs would have full rights of it for disposal and alienation to any indigenous tribe of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Because of these Provisions, the draft Bill is termed as “anti-tribal”, “anti-Arunachal”, violative of customary laws and an invitation to outsiders to take over tribal land through marriage.

-Source: The Hindu

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September 2022
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