Arunachal Pradesh minister Bamang Felix

Arunachal Pradesh government on August 20 clarified that it will not introduce any bill on marriage and inheritance of property at the upcoming state assembly session.

Arunachal Pradesh home minister and state government’s spokesperson, Bamang Felix on August 20 said that a the “so-called bill” regarding marriage and inheritance of property, which has been doing rounds on social media, was not drafted by any government department and it will not be tabled in the upcoming assembly session.

The government clarification came after social media was abuzz with widespread debate on the ‘proposed bill’ with several people questioning its impact on the tribal society of the state.

“The issue came to the government’s notice on August 18 when a delegation of the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (APSCW) led by its chairperson Radhilu Chai (Techi) had met chief minister Pema Khandu and requested him to consider the Arunachal Pradesh Marriage and Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021,” the minister said.

“The document was drafted by the APSCW, without any consultation with the state government,” Felix, who also holds the portfolio of parliamentary affairs, said while addressing a press conference in Itanagar.

He said though the commission has titled it as a ‘bill’, but this was instead a draft proposal or recommendation.

“This proposal needs to be approved by the government and the concerned minister, thereafter this needs to be examined thoroughly by the law department, which would assess it clause by clause. The cabinet shall thereafter deliberate upon the relevance and consequences of such examined proposal and if agreed upon, then only it shall be qualified as a bill, which would be tabled in the state assembly for further consideration and debates,” the Arunachal minister clarified.

This particular proposal does not qualify as a bill, till such time the due procedure is followed to elevate it to the stature of a bill, he added.

The minister said that the draft submitted is at a very nascent stage right now. He, however, said that if the government decides to take up any such matter- before starting any process, wide consultations with all stakeholders – community-based organisations (CBOS), civil society groups, intellectuals etc to deliberate on the pros and cons will be carried out.

“The State Commission for Women is a statutory body of the Government of Arunachal Pradesh. It is an advisory body. The advice of the commission, like this proposal for introducing a Statute for the Inheritance Rights of the Women, is not binding on the state government,” Bamang Felix said.

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