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Dispute delays Lower House draft rules

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Apr 26, 2018-The dispute between the ruling and opposition parties on the number of parliamentary committees, and, whether to suspend or not, a lawmaker in judicial custody continues to delay the drafting of rules for the Lower House.

The Regulation Drafting Committee cannot complete the draft because of this impasse.

The members from ruling and opposition parties of the drafting committees disagree on these two issues.

The ruling alliance favours increasing the number of parliamentary committees to 10 and suspending lawmakers if they face judicial custody for any criminal offence. The opposition wants seven committees and opposes suspending lawmakers before a court of law convicts them.

The committee had to complete the draft on Tuesday. The dispute compelled it to defer its meeting to Thursday.

Rastriya Janata Party lawmaker Laxman Lal Karna said, “We could not find consensus on the two issues. It is illogical to suspend lawmakers before their conviction.”

RJPN MP Resham Chaudhary is in the judicial custody for allegedly masterminding the carnage in Tikapur. His suspension is certain if the rule pushed by the left alliance finds approval.

The Nepali Congress and RJPN are against automatic suspension of MPs. They claim the state could conspire to arrest any MP on some charge. This would lead to suspension and weaken the legislature of the country.

Thus far, the House suspends only MPs sentenced to jail terms after a court of law convicts them. MPs facing corruption charges are suspended after the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority files a case in the Special Court.

Opposition lawmakers support the Parliament Secretariat’s recommendation of seven committees instead of 15 for the Lower House.

“As the number of ministries has increased to 21, we have to increase the numbers of House committees as well,” said CPN (Maoist Centre) lawmaker Rekha Sharma.

Karna said his party plans to hold a joint meeting with the drafting committee to resolve contentious issues.

The Lower House has to endorse the draft rules at its next meeting. The new session of the federal parliament is likely to start on May 6.  

Published: 26-04-2018 08:59

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