Kashmir council no place for bill limiting women’s rights: Chair


Jammu : Jammu and Kashmir legislative council Deputy Chairman Arvinder Singh Monday rejected the permanent resident (disqualification) bill that aims to deny citizenship rights to women marrying non-permanent residents of the state.

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“The bill cannot be discussed in this house,” he said.

“The legislative assembly is the appropriate forum to table the bill, not the council,” Singh said giving a ruling over the bill tabled by Peoples Democratic Party’s legislator Murtaza Khan on March 8.

Murtaza Khan had moved the bill saying that it will “help protect the distinct identity of the people of Kashmir, as the rights that the girls enjoy upon marrying non-permanent residents dilute Kashmir’s distinct identity as outsiders can become owners of the property of our daughters”.

In Jammu and Kashmir, only permanent residents, entitled to a certificate called state subject, can buy immovable property and are entitled for government jobs. Only the permanent residents have the right to vote in elections.

An earlier law making girls marrying non-state subjects forfeit their citizenship rights was overturned by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in 2003. The state government moved an appeal against the ruling in the Supreme Court.

Later, the appeal in the Supreme Court was withdrawn and a fresh permanent resident disqualification bill was introduced in the assembly in March 2004.

The bill was passed within five minutes without any debate or discussion. Both the National Conference, then in opposition, and the ruling alliance of the PDP and the Congress had supported the bill.

But, the Congress had a rethink as the bill created a nation-wide uproar on the eve of parliamentary elections. The bill was opposed by the Congress when it came up for discussion in the Council. After a daylong debate, the chairman of the council sent the bill to the assembly on March 11, 2004.

The bill was again introduced in the assembly in August 2004 but it could not be passed because of opposition from the Congress.