Bill for equal property rights to women passed

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Gangtok, Jun 9 (UNI) Women empowerment in Sikkim received yet another boost with the State Assembly today assenting two bills that entitle equal property rights for Sikkimese women and forty per cent reservation for them in municipality bodies.

The Sikkim Succession Bill, tabled by Social Justice Minister Hissey Lachungpa yesterday, provides legislation for equal property rights to daughters, wives and divorced and abandoned wives having Sikkim subject holders.

Once the Act is notified, property (movable and immovable) of a male Sikkimese, if he dies, will go to the surviving members of his family-wife, sons and daughters in equal proportion.

However, a Sikkimese woman who has married a non-Sikkimese or has acquired foreign citizenship shall not be entitled to enjoy the benefits under this Act.

It has been considered expedient to enact a legislation for succession pertaining to movable and immovable properties of Sikkimese people as neither Hindu Succession Act, 1965 nor the Indian Succession Act, 1925 has been extended or enforced in Sikkim, said Mr Lachungpa while introducing the bill.

Meanwhile, the Sikkim Municipalities (Second Amendment) Bill, tabled yesterday to increase the reservation of seats of women to 40 per cent in urban local bodies, was passed by the House during the day.

''It is another feather in the cap for Sikkim Democratic Front party led by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling,'' said former MLA Manita Pradhan. Twelve other bills were also passed by the House during the day which was the concluding day of the two-day Assembly session.

A government resolution was also adopted by the House to express gratitude to the Centre for granting Sikkim subject holders and their descendents exemption under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

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