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10.12.2010 General News

Parliament Urged To Pass Property Rights bill

By Enoch Darfah Frimpong - Daily Graphic
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The Africa Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) has called on Parliament to expedite action on the passage of the Property Rights of Spouses Bill (PRSB) and the Intestate Succession Bill into law.

According to the association, an early passage of the two bills into law would help address the numerous problems encountered in the implementation of the Intestate Succession Law, 1985 (PNDCL 111) and ensure equity in jointly acquired properties by spouses.

Making the appeal in Kumasi at a news conference, Ms Edna Kuma, an Executive Director of AWLA, said the property rights of spouses in Ghana had been a problem for a very long time.

She said passing the bill into law would help fulfil article 22 of the 1992 Constitution which calls on Parliament to enact a legislation to ensure that a spouse was not deprived of a reasonable provision out of the estate of a spouse whether or not the spouse died having made a will.

Section two of Article 22 states, “Parliament shall, as soon as practicable after the coming into force of this Constitution, enact a legislation regulating the property rights of spouses” .

Ms Kuma said even though the two bills had had their first readings in Parliament, indications were that they were not likely to be passed into law before this year ended, urging Parliament to consider it in early 2011.

She explained that Ghana had a pluralistic legal system and the laws on marriage were regulated by the customary law, Islamic law and by statute and under each of these regimes, females were usually at the losing end when it came to the sharing of properties acquired at the end of a marriage or when a spouse died.

She said the two bills would ensure certainty in matters connected with the property rights of spouses, ensure fairness in determining matters that pertain to the property rights of spouses and also clarify the law for effective implementation.

Ms Kuma said Ghana had an obligation under international human rights laws like the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), to ensure equality between men and women in the enjoyment of rights and responsibilities within and after marriage.

She said it was in accordance with these international obligations that the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department prepared the two bills

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