House panel agrees to suspend lawmakers put in judicial custody

Kathmandu

Apr 18, 2018-

The Regulation Drafting Committee of the House of Representatives has agreed on provisions for automatic suspension of lawmakers facing custody on any charges.So far, only MPs who get a jail term after being convicted by the court are suspended. On corruption charges, however, they are suspended once the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority files a case in the Special Court.

The provision in the draft regulation was introduced citing that it was a matter of shame for the House to have those serving in judicial custody as its members.

Rastriya Janata Party, Nepal lawmaker Resham Chaudhary, who is in the judicial custody for allegedly masterminding the Tikapur carnage, will automatically be suspended once the regulation is endorsed by the House. “This will be a new practice,” said Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, chairman of the Drafting Committee. The regulation will be important to guide the functions of Parliament and the thematic committees under it.

Min Bishwokarma, a member of the Drafting Committee, said the regulation would be finalised on April 22 and tabled at the first meeting of the new House session that is likely to start in the second week of May. He added that a majority of the issues except the numbers of the thematic committees had been agreed upon.

“We have agreed not to bring the Supreme Court under the jurisdiction of the thematic committee,” he added. The members of the ruling parties were for bringing the apex court under the purview of the Parliamentary Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights. According to the principle of separation of power, the verdicts of the judiciary are not discussed in the parliamentary committees in a democracy even as Parliament has the power to impeach justices.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Bishwokarma said the ruling parties agreed to withdraw the provision following reservations from the opposition. “The only issue that remains to be finalised is the number of parliamentary committees,” he said, adding his party was for not having more than seven committees in the Lower House. A majority of members of the committee are for increasing the numbers to 10 arguing that seven committees would be insufficient to look after 21 ministries at the Centre.

The Parliament Secretariat had recommended seven thematic committees in the HoR when there were plans to limit the number of ministries to 15. As the number of ministries has gone up to 21, members want an increase in the number of panels.

Published: 18-04-2018 06:43

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