August 2004 News

Gender Balance Bid In New J&K Resident Bill

17 August 2004
The Hindustan Times

Jammu: Both men and women now stand to lose their citizenship rights in Jammu and Kashmir on marrying non-permanent residents. This is one of the modifications to the Permanent Resident (Disqualification) Bill, which envisaged rescinding of the citizenship rights of any woman marrying an 'outsider'. The Bill had set off a storm in national politics and could not be passed in the Legislative Council on March 11 after the Congress opposed it. It will now be introduced afresh in the Assembly session that gets underway in Srinagar tomorrow. 'This law would be applicable to both men and women on change of their domicile,' as per one of the changes incorporated in the Bill. Sources said women marrying non-state subjects would be able to inherit property and be able to retain it in case of a divorce or death of the husband. However, none of these provisions would apply to Kashmiri Pandits who have migrated from the Valley. A private member would introduce the modified Bill. It is a clever move to foil the opposistion National Conference's bid to introduce the Bill in its original form, which offers no concessions to women marrying non-state subjects. Still, it would require the cooperation of all the three major parties - the PDP, Congress and NC - to see the Bill through. A two-third majority is must for the passage of the Bill. On March 5, the Bill was passed within five minutes in the Assembly, but fell with the Congress and Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party turning hostile in the Council.


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