11 amendment bills passed by Punjab Assembly
LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly on Friday passed 11 amendment bills, including the Punjab Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act 2015, in the absence of even a tiny opposition that left the house following the Speaker did not let them to go far in opposition tactics.
The Punjab Assembly session chaired by Sardar Sher Ali Khan Gorchani introduced, considered and passed five amendment bills amidst opposition’s gripes that the treasury had brought fresh amendment bills without referring those to the respective standing committees.
Opposition members Aamir Sultan Cheema and Khadeeja Umer criticized the treasury for bringing the five amendment bills in hurry and pushing back the six amendment bills, recommended by the Standing Committee on Home Affairs.
Ms Umer also pointed quorum in sheer despair. The quorum was found lacking but regained after five minutes. Mr Cheema, Ms Umer and another woman MPA left the house as the Speaker did not allow them to speak further (on the mike).
The Speaker said it was strange that even the women MPAs were not ready to let the House pass bills that would help women become empowered and protected.
The treasury also passed six amendment bills that were recommended by the Standing Committee on Home Affairs. No mover from the opposition was in the House to contest amendments, which were eventually withdrawn.
The House passed 11 amendment bills about land revenue, partition of immovable property, family courts, child marriages, Muslim family laws, security of vulnerable establishments, arms, maintenance of public order, criminal prosecution service, sound systems and prohibition of expressing matters on walls.
The Punjab Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act 2015 has restrained child marriages defining that a boy child will be considered under 18 years of age and a girl under 16 years of age.
The Act defines minor as a person of either sex, who is under 18 years of age. The new Act has increased punishment of imprisonment and fine from one month to six months and from Rs1,000 to Rs50,000.
The statement of objects and reasons of the Act says it has been enacted to curb the menace of child marriages prevalent in the country and to save the women from exploitation.
The Act has also introduced punishment for the nikah registrar, who solemnizes a child marriage. “An offence under the Act shall be tried summarily on a complaint of the union council or any other person prescribed by the government,” the Act says.
The Punjab Muslim Family Laws has been passed to supersede the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961, which did not provide any mandatory provision regarding filling of all the entries in nikahnama on instructions of the bride and bridegroom.
It was observed that in numerous cases non-filling of the entries of nikahnama had adversely exploited rights of the brides, particularly, in the matter of family disputes.
In order to ensure that all entries of the nikahnama shall be properly filled by the nikah registrar or a person who solemnizes a nikah, it has now become mandatory provisions in the law.
The Act has also inserted enabling provisions to grant maintenance to children in case a husband contracts second marriage without following the procedure provided in section 6 of the Ordinance.
The Act has empowered the Arbitration Council to specify the amount, which shall be paid by the father as maintenance of the child. Earlier, such husbands were paying a very low rate of only Rs5,000.
The Punjab Family Courts (Amendment) Act 2015 has superseded the Family Courts Act 1964.
Given the present position of prolonged litigation in the family courts with respect to adjudication of suits filed in the matters pertaining to dissolution of marriage (including khula), dower, maintenance, restitution of conjugal rights, custody of children (and the visitation rights of parents to meet them), guardianship, jactitation of marriage, dowry and personal property and belonging of wife, the law has been amended in order to resolve the family disputes in a more expeditious manner.
The provisions proposed in the bills encompass all the family disputes and provide enhanced powers to the family courts to resolve the issues rapidly and protect the rights of a wife and children, efficiently.
The Punjab Partition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Act 2015 has superseded the Act promulgated in 2012.
The latest Act’s statement of objects and reasons says the subsection (3) of section 9 of the Punjab Partition of Immovable Property Act 2012 provided for appointment of a referee for partition of the joint property at the request of one of the co-owners in suit for partition of an immovable property.
In the new Act, the provision has been omitted so as to ensure that the referee may only be appointed in event of consent of all the co-owners. This will ensure early disposal of partition cases.
The Punjab Land Revenue (Amendment) Act 2015 has superseded the Punjab Land Revenue Act 1967.
The new Act has allowed the inclusion of using electronic means and devices as valid modes of serving the summons.
A section of the new Act has made a binding on revenue officer to decide the question regarding title of the property himself instead of requiring a party to file civil suit.
Speaker Mr Gorchani expressed his displeasure for finance minister Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman’s failure in implementing the Finance Committee’s decision regarding payment of utility allowances to the Punjab Assembly employees.
It is learnt that 21 employees had received the utility allowances but others were denied due to certain hiccups.
As the Speaker asked the minister earlier in the day to inform the House about the implementation of the decision as he had committed to announcing within three days, Mr Rehman said that he would announce the decision soon.
However, upon re-askance, minister Rehman said that he would present the finance committee decision in the House on Monday.
Earlier, the Assembly members discussed Punjab Prisons department and Population Welfare issues in the question hour. The Speaker also pended some adjournment motions.
The Speaker adjourned the session till Monday (March 9) 2pm.
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