House panel asks CC to explain nominations

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Oct 10, 2014-

The Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee has asked the Constitutional Council to clear the air over “non-inclusive” recommendation for new appointments at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

A meeting of the committee on Friday decided to seek views of the constitutional body after a majority of the parliamentarians raised question over the recommendation in the rights body. Expressing their preliminary views on the council’s recommendation, committee members said the appointment was against the spirit of the Interim Constitution.

“The major thrust of the Interim Constitution is to establish an inclusive state but the council’s recommendation was against it. There is no representation of indigenous nationalities and Madhesis,” said the committee member Hridayaram Thani.

On September 19, the council had recommended former Chief Justice Anup Raj Sharma as chairman of the NHRC and former Supreme Court Justice Prakash Osti, Senior Advocate Govinda Sharma Poudel, rights activist Sudip Pathak and Mohana Ansari as commissioners. Except Ansari all other names recommended for positions at the rights body belong to “upper caste”.

The committee members said they will decide whether to start the hearing procedures once the council furnishes its clarification. “We expect the council to furnish its clarification by Tuesday, the date for the next round of meeting. And we will decide on it,” said Thani.

Eight complaints have been filed against the proposed candidates for the posts of NHRC chairperson and members, according to the parliamentary committee. There are two complaints each against Sharma and Osti, one against Pathak and three related to the policy matter.  

In Friday’s meeting, the committee members blamed the council attempting to make it as rubber stamp.

They said the government overlooked the constitutional provision to have Dalit, women and indigenous nationalities and minorities while recommending candidates for constitutional bodies.

“I was expecting the council would recommend at least two women candidates including the commission head this time. But I don’t know why such decision was taken,” said UML lawmaker Bidhya Bhandari.  

Over two-third of legislators among those present in the meeting objected to the ‘exclusion’ of Madhesi, ethnic and marginalised communities in the September 21 recommendation and demanded the committee to send back the CC proposal. Their voices were for seeking a middle way to calm down the situation.

The legislators said the recommendation process itself was wrong and against the spirit of the Interim Constitution. Members of Parliament Sushil Kumar Shrestha, Gopal Dahit, Mahendra Yadav, Meghraj Nepali Nishad, Manju Kumari Chaudhary, Jayant Chand, Shivaji Yadav, Thani, Lokmani Dhakal, Laxman Lal Karna, Ram Kumar Bhattarai, Prabhu Saha and Amarsingh Pun called on the PHSC not to accept the CC recommendation.

However, chief whips and some leaders from the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) were in favour of the immediate approval of the recommendation to pave the way for the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Inquiry on Disappearances.

Congress lawmaker and Chief Whip Chinkaji Shrestha, leader Prakash Sharan Mahat, UML Chief Whip Agni Kharel, and UCPN (M) Parliamentary Board Secretary Agni Prasad Sapkota were in line of endorsing the CC decision keeping in mind the national necessity though it was not inclusive.

Published: 11-10-2014 09:21

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