Constitutional panel defends NHRC picks

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Oct 13, 2014-

The Constitutional Council (CC) has maintained that recommendations for the National Human Rights Commission office bearers came in line with the constitutional provision. The council defends the nominations saying that it sought to represent women, Muslims, Madhesis and experts in legal, human rights and social sectors.

The clarification follows the directive from the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee to clear the air over “non-inclusive” recommendations for new appointments to the NHRC. On September 19, the council picked former Chief Justice Anup Raj Sharma as the chairman and former Supreme Court Justice Prakash Osti, Senior Advocate Govinda Sharma Poudel, rights activist Sudip Pathak and Mohana Ansari as commissioners of the NHRC. Except Ansari, all the names belong to the “upper caste”.

Lawmakers will decide whether to start the hearing process once the council furnishes its clarification on Tuesday. More than two-thirds of the legislators attending Friday’s meeting had objected to the ‘exclusion’ of Madhesi, ethnic and marginalised communities from recommendation and demanded that the committee return the proposal back to the CC.

The legislators said the recommendation process was flawed and against the spirit of the Interim Constitution. Several parliamentarians called on the PHSC not to accept the names.

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

NC Chief Whip Chinkaji Shrestha, leader Prakash Sharan Mahat, UML Chief Whip Agni Kharel and UCPN (M) Parliamentary Board Secretary Agni Prasad Sapkota stood for endorsing the CC decision given the urgency of the matter.

Published: 14-10-2014 09:07

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