Bill giving equal inheritance rights to girls passed
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 29
The Punjab Vidhan Sabha today passed six important Bills in flat 50 minutes. Legislators from the ruling alliance had nothing to debate on the bills, while the opposition members raised a few points, more to mark their presence rather than debate the issue.
An important Bill called the Punjab Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2010, is expected to go a long way in promoting gender equality as the Bill gives equal rights to girls, who were hitherto unequal to their brothers in terms of inheritance. The Bill that has been adopted unanimously and is now an Act overcomes the shortcomings in the Punjab Land Reforms Act, 1972, that was enacted to achieve agrarian reforms.
As per the old Act, land in excess was treated as surplus, but sons who attained the age of 18 could forms independent units in terms of land holdings. But there was no provision for selecting additional permissible area for adult daughters. The House today said that the previous Act was discriminatory against women and since this was an era of gender equality, the Act “proposes that additional permissible area may be allowed for adult daughters by making appropriate amendments in Section 5-5 (I) of Act of 1972”.
The Vidhan Sabha unanimously passed the Punjab State Legislature Members (Pension and Medical Facilities Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2010, that provides for increase in the rate of pension and family pension payable to the former Members of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and further enhances their pensions. This Bill will cost the state exchequer Rs 3.5 crore annually.
Further the House also passed the PEPSU Townships Development Board (Amendment) Bill, 2010. Though the Bill was passed, it was opposed by Makhan Singh of the Congress on the ground that the government was using public money to appoint chairmen and vice-chairmen of boards and corporations to adjust its leaders, who could not win elections. Similarly, the Punjab Labour Welfare Fund (Second Amendment) Bill, 2010, was passed after Sukhpal Kahira and Balbir Sidhu, both of the Congress, made some objections and suggestions that were ultimately ignored.
With the objective to make punishment for petty crime more stringent, the House today passed the Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2010, and the Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2010. These Bills, proposed by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal who also holds the Home portfolio, have made snatching (Section 379-B) a cognisable and non-bailable offence that will invite imprisonment of not less than five years and may extend up to 10 years and may carry a fine of Rs 10,000.
Sukhbir said in the recent past, the cases of snatching especially in case of women and tourists were increasing, leading to a sense of insecurity. In public interest, it was important to make a stringent law that could act as a deterrent.
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