Restructuring report puts govt in dilemma

  • Implementing it could sour relations with Madhesi parties; revision may invite legal complexities
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Jan 15, 2017-

Just as the government continues to say the focus should be on holding elections, it fails to clear the confusion over the implementation of a report on local level restructuring, stoking uncertainty over polls. 

On Friday, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal urged the Madhes-based parties, which have been calling for revising the report submitted by the Local Level Restructuring Commission (LLRC), to help create the environment for local polls. 

The LLRC in its report submitted to PM Dahal on January 6 has recommended 719 local units in the federal set-up. 

Objecting to the LLRC report, the regional 

parties have been saying 

that population should be made the sole basis for restructuring of local units. 

The seven Madhes-based parties under the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha are pressing the government to revise the report and allocate over 50 percent of local units in 20 districts from the Tarai. 

Is any revision of the report possible?

The LLRC says: “No.”

Sunil Ranjan Singh, a member of the commission, says the government does not have the authority to revise the report prepared by a constitutional body. 

Singh, who is also a lawyer, argued that the sole authority to determine the number and boundaries of local units lies with the LLRC and that any attempt to revise its report could result in legal complexities. 

“The government needs to amend the constitution if it doesn’t want to implement the report submitted by the restructuring commission in its present form,” Singh said.

When asked, Minister for Local Development and Federal Affairs Hit Raj Pandey said the government “is still studying the ways to implement the report”.

Asked if the government can revise the report, Pandey would only say his duty was tabling the report in the Cabinet.

On one hand, the government fears its relations with the regional parties could sour if the report is implemented. On the other hand, it does not want to get into legal trouble by revising it. 

Constitutional expert Bipin Adhikari, however, said nowhere has there been written that the LLRC report must be implemented in whatever form it is submitted. 

“The government only needs to make sure that it does not kill the spirit of the report in the name of revision,” Adhikari told the Post.

Published: 15-01-2017 08:13

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