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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, July 17, 2001: Nepal's parliamentary Law and Justice Committee today approved the most controversial clause in the bill proposing an 11th amendment to the Muluki Ain, or civil code, that would now allow women to retain parental property even after marriage. The change is taking place after extensive research in all areas of the country to access the opinion of Nepalese citizens. Under present law, a women could be required to return property upon marriage which had been previously given her by her parents. The proposed bill recognizes daughters as equal heirs of the parental property and as having a share in the husband's property even before a divorce. It also removes age restriction for widows to claim property from her in-laws. Earlier this year, members of this committee spent days travelling to all 14 zones in the country discussing the controversial bill. They had prepared 20 questions asking if the people supported the idea of equal property rights and, if they did, what should be the mode of distribution: should the property be equally divided among the sons and daughters or first let the parents keep a part of it and then distribute it among the children? Other options were, should the "will" system be introduced and, if so, should the parent be free to give the property to the children of their choice or let the state decide after the death of the parents. The existing laws do not give rights to women to stake their claim on parental property unless they are over 35 years of age and unmarried until then.