Madhesi panel bill endorsed

  • Tharu, Muslim commission bills stuck for lack of quorum
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Sep 9, 2017-

Speaker Onasari Gharti was forced to adjourn the meeting of Legislature-Parliament three times on Friday since so many lawmakers left after marking their attendance that the House lacked the minimum number of MPs to meet.

The House meeting scheduled for 1pm began one hour late as the parties were divided on some provisions of the Civil Code and Criminal Procedures formed to replace the decades-old Muluki Ain.

Following a long debate, the parties had agreed to remove the two laws from the House agenda. When the zero hour and special hour proceedings were over, Minister for Land Reforms Gopal Dahit tabled the bill on the Madhesi Commission.

No sooner had Speaker Gharti put the bill up for a vote than Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party lawmaker Prem Suwal demanded that the House meeting be adjourned for it lacked the minimum number of lawmakers. When a headcount was conducted, only 136 lawmakers were in attendance. As many as 305 lawmakers had marked their attendance but most of them had left without appearing in the session.

According to Article 94 of the constitution, at least 148 lawmakers--one fourth of their total number--must be present in the House for the parliamentary process to begin. The House currently has 592 members. The MPs get Rs500 as meeting allowance, in addition to Rs1,000 to cover their transport expenses per sitting. The Speaker adjourned the session for 15 minutes and asked the ruling parties to guarantee smooth parliamentary proceedings. The House commenced after 158 lawmakers showed up. The meeting then endorsed the bill on Madhesi Commission. However, when Minister Dahit was present to table the bill on Tharu Commission, the same question of lack of quorum was raised by lawmaker Suwal. 

Over two dozen lawmakers had already left the House after endorsing the bill on Madhesi Commission, leaving only 127 lawmakers in attendance. The Speaker adjourned the Parliament meeting yet again for 15 minutes. But after finding that the lawmakers had already left the House premises, the meeting was adjourned till September 20.

“The tendency of absenteeism is increasing these days,” said a senior official at the Parliament Secretariat. Sources at the secretariat claim that the House has been adjourned for the lack of quorum for at least a dozen times in a year. The House was scheduled to endorse also the bills on Muslim and Tharu Commissions on Friday.

Though it is insincerity of all parliamentarians, the duty to ensure the adequate numbers lies with the ruling parties. “I agree it’s our weakness,” Rekha Sharma, chief whip of the CPN (Maoist Centre), told the Post, clarifying that lawmakers were busy with the elections.

Published: 09-09-2017 07:28

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