Govt dumps Permanent Resident Women Disqualification Bill

Greater Kashmir

RTI Reply Says No Proposal To Re-Introduce The Legislation

Srinagar, June 16: Notwithstanding the stand of ruling National Conference on the issue, Jammu & Kashmir Government has said it has no plans to re-introduce the Permanent Resident Women Disqualification Bill in near future.
The Bill pertains to disqualification of a woman as the State Subject after marrying a non-State Subject.
“It is informed as of now there is not any proposal to re-introduce the Permanent Resident Women Disqualification Bill, in pursuance to the judgment passed by Hon’ble High Court,” the Public Information Officer of Revenue Department has stated in reply to an RTI application by Irfan Hafiz Lone, vice-president of Baramulla Bar Association.
The Revenue Department has however pushed the ball on the controversial issue in the court of Law Department saying that further steps/ measures will be taken only after getting opinion of Law Department.
“We will give our opinion on the matter as sought by the Revenue Department,” Law Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar told Greater Kashmir.
Senior leader of Peoples Democratic Party, Muzaffar Hussain Baig, said the Government reply has exposed the ‘double standards’ of NC.
“We put coalition in jeopardy in 2004 to bring the Bill, but they don’t have the guts to take any such step,” he said.
Senior leader of National Conference and member Parliament from south Kashmir, Dr. Mehboob Beg, however, said that party is committed to bring the Bill.
“The Bill is concerned with the identity and special position of Jammu & Kashmir and any negligence towards this issue would have serious implication for the State,” Beg said, adding that in many parts of the country, women lose domicile certificate on marrying with people from other nationalities.
The controversy over the issue of a State Subject woman marrying a non-State Subject dates back to 2002. In October that year, the Full Bench of the High Court in a case, State of Jammu and Kashmir vs Dr Sushila Sawhney, said that daughter of a permanent resident of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will not lose status as permanent resident of the State on marriage with a person who is not permanent resident of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
However, Justice Muzaffar Jan had struck a discord note. He said, “I agree with the view of Justice V.K Jhanji (the then Chief Justice) only to the extent that a female non-permanent resident of the State on her marriage to the permanent resident of the State will have right to inherit the property in accordance with the personal law of the deceased (in the case). However, I don’t agree to ultimate conclusion that a female will not lose the status as a permanent resident on her marriage with a non-permanent resident of the State.”
Later, the state Government went for appeal in the Supreme Court against the judgment. However, the PDP Government in 2004 withdrew the appeal and moved a Bill in the Legislative Assembly seeking disqualification of a woman marrying a non-State Subject.
Although the Bill was passed in the Legislative Assembly but it hit a roadblock in Legislative Council with the then Chairman Abdul Rashid Dar adjourning the House sine die without putting the Bill to vote. National Conference then expelled Dar for ‘sabotaging’ passage of the Bill.
The Bill was again brought in the Upper House by PDP in March 2010, again raising the tempers. The NC-led Government didn’t oppose, knowing well that Legislative Council will drop it. After about 15 days, the Chairman of the Legislative Council said it was a Constitutional Bill and should be introduced in the Assembly. He then dropped the Bill.