J&K Bill Has Cong In Spot
6 March 2004
New Delhi: Terming a recent Jammu and Kashmir legislation denying women the right to inherit property in the State after marrying an outsider, as a retrograde step, the BJP asked its partymen to make it an election issue. Taking strong exception to the legislation, the BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu also asked his partymen here on Saturday to highlight the so-called dual role played by the Congress by supporting the bill in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly earlier this week. Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Jaipal Reddy said the party would take all steps to rectify it and issue directives to its state unit in this regard. Addressing newspersons, the BJP chief said it was unfortunate that the Jammu and Kashmir assembly had nullified the judgement of the full bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court which had earlier held the law to this effect as unconstitutional. He said it was a retrograde and reactionary action on the part of the State Assembly and more so on the part of the Congress headed by a woman. Mr Naidu said the Indian law allowed any Indian to marry in and outside the country without denying him or her right to own and inherit properties. Mr Reddy said the Congress did not agree with the Jammu and Kashmir unit of the party on the issue. 'Therefore, we will give necessary directive to see that it is changed,' the spokesman told reporters. He made this observation while responding to questions on the Bill passed by the PDP-led Government in which Cong is coalition's single largest constituent. Expressing concern over the development, Mr Reddy said the party had always been in favour of protecting woman's rights at all cost and if there was any legal problem in Jammu and Kashmir, it could be removed as per the law.