New bill registered at Parliament Secretariat

  • constitution amendment
  • Earlier proposal that sought to address boundary issue withdrawn
- TIKA R PRADHAN, Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Apr 12, 2017-The government on Tuesday withdrew an earlier constitution amendment bill that it had tabled in Parliament on January 8 and registered a new proposal at the Parliament Secretariat.

Unlike the earlier amendment proposal, the new proposal seeks to address the boundary row through a federal commission.

A Cabinet meeting on Monday evening had decided to withdraw the earlier amendment proposal and endorsed the new one, paving the way for its registration.

The Madhes-based parties have long been demanding an amendment to the constitution, seeking changes to the issues related to provincial boundary, language, citizenship and representation in the national assembly. 

While the new bill has retained the amendments on language and citizenship sought through the earlier proposal, it has brought some changes in articles related to provincial boundary and national assembly representation issues.  

Regarding provincial boundary issues, the proposal seeks to amend Article 296 (4). 

As per the proposal, Article 296 (4) says: “Until the provincial assemblies come into existence, the Legislature-Parliament will exercise their [legislative] power. The proposal has added Article 296 (4) (a), as per which the legislation formulated as per Article 296 (4) will become inoperative a year after the provincial assemblies are formed. 

The government through the new proposal has sought to scrap the term “federal” from Article 295 and scrap Article 295 (1). Instead, it seeks to amend Article 287 and add Article 287 (a.1), which says: “The government may constitute a federal commission for making suggestions on matters relating to the boundaries of provinces”. Article 287 (a.2) has been added, which says: “The mandate and working procedure of such a commission would be determined by the government”. The proposal seeks to amend Article 274 to add sub-article 8a, which says notwithstanding anything contained in Article 274 (8), until the provincial assembly is constituted, Federal Parliament can endorse the bills related to Article 274 (4a), which calls for agreement on change of provincial boundaries from the respective provincial assemblies and in case change is related to Schedule 6, agreements must be sought from all provincial assemblies.

Regarding representation in the national assembly, the new proposal seeks to amend Article 86 (2) (a), as per which chief and deputy chiefs of municipalities and rural municipalities (village councils) will not be part of an electoral college that will elect the national assembly. The remaining issues have been retained from the earlier provision, which calls for ensuring representation of 35 members in the national assembly on the basis of population of provinces. 

Earlier in the day, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ajay Shankar Nayak tabled a proposal in the House seeking to withdraw the earlier constitution amendment bill. It was approved unanimously. 

The Madhes-based parties, however, boycotted Tuesday’s House meeting, saying they are against withdrawing the constitution amendment bill. They were of the view that “the bill must not be withdrawn until a federal commission tables its report.”

“We are against withdrawing an amendment bill that aims to address the issue related to provincial boundaries,” said Akbal Ahamad Saha of the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party while addressing Parliament before the Madhes-based parties walked out. Minister Nayak said the government had brought a new bill with an aim to create an environment conducive for local level elections. The new proposal will address the concerns of the Madhes-based parties as well as the UML, he added.

The next House meeting has been scheduled for April 19.


Morcha leaders to decide today

KATHMANDU: The Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) said on Tuesday that it would discuss the new constitution amendment proposal that the government had introduced at the Parliament Secretariat at its meeting scheduled for Wednesday at 9am. Similarly, the Sanghiya Gathabandhan, a broader alliance comprising SLMM and Janajati forces, has scheduled a meeting for 3pm to discuss the development. According to Rajendra Mahato, chairman of Sadbhawana Party, the meetings of the Morcha and the Gathabandhan scheduled for Wednesday would come up with a common view on the new constitution amendment proposal. (PR)

Focus should be on polls: UML

Kathmandu:  Senior CPN-UML leader Subas Nembang on Tuesday described the government move of withdrawing a constitution amendment bill it had registered in Parliament on January 8 as a positive move. On the new constitution amendment proposal registered on Tuesday, Nembang said all the parties now should focus on local level elections slated for May 14 rather than getting stuck with amendment to the constitution . He added that the government had not consulted the UML while preparing the new amendment proposal despite the party’s repeated requests. The UML has long been objecting to constitution amendment. (PR) 

Published: 12-04-2017 07:43

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