Senate Law Committee approves two bills, rejects two

Staff Reporter

Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Syed Ali Zafar here at Parliament House on Wednesday.

Meeting commenced with consideration of the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2021 (Insertion of Article 24A) introduced by Senator Saadia Abbasi in the Senate Sitting held on 12th of July 2021 regarding Right of Women to inheritance that no Women shall be deprived of her share from inheritance in Pakistan.”

Senator Saadia Abbasi said that Islam has prescribed well-defined shares for the male and female descendants of a deceased person. The Quran clearly states: “Men shall have a share in what parents and kinsfolk leave behind, and women shall have a share in what parents and kinsfolk leave behind.”

(Quran, Surah Al-Nisha 4:7) Islamic law (Shariah) entities women to inherit immovable and movable property, yet the practice has been to deny women their share in inheritance, particularly, in the matter of landed estates where their entire claim is often denied and male heirs tend to enjoy the right of receiving almost all the assets of the deceased.

It is an undeniable reality, and unjustified practice that it has become a norm that women either do not receive legal inheritance, or are obliged to surrender their legal rights.

The purpose of this amendment is to acknowledge, declare, and assert the right of women in inheritance as a Fundamental Right in consonance with Principles of Islam and Article 23, and Article 24 of Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

She further said that if the said amendment is approved it would enable women to directly approach Supreme Court of Pakistan on the matters related to inheritance.

Senator Azam Khan swati was of the view that relevant laws already exist and there is no need to list the matter of inheritance as fundamental right.

Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar while supporting the Bill said that this “Amendment reinforces State’s commitment towards protecting women’s right to inheritance”.

Chairman Committee Syed Ali Zafar commented that the said amendment is “Constitutionally Difficult”. It is a great concept but existing laws should be improved and further strengthened in order to make sure that women are not denied inheritance”.

Senator Farooq H Naek also opposed the said amendment and said that related laws already exist and we need to work towards better implementation of existing laws.

Committee rejected the Bill with majority vote after due deliberations. Committee also considered the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2021 (Amendment of Article 9) introduced by Senator Saadia Abbasi in the Senate Sitting held on 12th July, 2021 regarding right to bail and personal liberty that any person charged with an offence shall not be denied bail except in accordance with law and Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines Imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

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