The Senate Standing Committee on Law has unanimously approved a draft bill proposing uncontested inheritance matters be taken out of court jurisdiction and handed over to NADRA.
In Tuesday’s hearing, the Committee Chair, Senator Javed Abbasi was able to generate consensus and get a nod from all members present for the ‘Administration and Succession Certificates Act, 2018. During the last few hearings, there was stiff resistance to it. The Vice Chairman of Islamabad Bar Council, Mr. Fayyaz Jandran showed up to oppose the Bill, arguing that courts are doing a pretty decent job and lawyers don’t charge much for such matters.
“He was, quite obviously, presenting the “lawyers’ version”, not that of the common citizen” said Umer Gillani, a lawyer invited to sit in on the proceedings of the committee.
According to details, a number of opposition senators, including former Chairman Senator Raza Rabbani, also criticized the bill harshly, arguing that inheritance was inherently a judicial matter and there was no need to hand it over to a government agency.
“Again, despite having tremendous respect for him, I think Senator Rabbani was primarily trying to snub the Law Minister. Forcing every Pakistani to go to court to claim inheritance may be the customary thing, but it actually makes very little sense” said Gillani, commenting on the criticism.
The idea of the bill is to take uncontested inheritance cases out of the jurisdiction of the courts, where it is often a slow and expensive process, and give it to NADRA. As per the bill, only when there is a dispute between heirs should the matter go to the courts, and should otherwise be handled like an administrative matter.
The bill now goes to the Cabinet, which will refine it further to remove errors pointed out in the hearing. Thereafter, it will be presented in either house as a government bill and after that the usual process.