Overlapping issues delay drafting of laws on basic rights

  • Fast-track endorsement necessary to meet September 19 deadline
- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Jun 5, 2018-

Time is running out for the government to draft laws necessary for guaranteeing citizens’ fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution as the matters are diverse and issues overlapping.

According to officials at the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, there are some issues including rights—right against exploitation, special privilege for women, housing and education for Dalits and right to property—so intertwined that they need extensive study to make the laws workable.

Officials from the line ministries are working to draft laws related to right to employment, right to health, right to property, right to housing and right to privacy. Bills related to reservations have become complicated since increasing or decreasing job quotas would need a comprehensive homework.

“We’ve recommended that authorities including Nepal Law Commission finalise legislation after studying cross-cutting issues so that the provisions are practical,” said Hum Bahadur KC, joint spokesperson for the ministry. A few legislations including those on social security and right to social justice and right to food are already in the Law Ministry while others are being directed to it. After the ministry reviews them, they would be sent to the Cabinet for endorsement before being forwarded to Parliament. Bills related to right against preventive detention are on the way to Parliament.

The ministry is concerned if all the laws related to fundamental rights are drafted and passed from Parliament by the September 19 deadline. Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Sher Bahadur Tamang said the complex legislation process was challenging.

The constitution adopted in September 2015 outlines 31 fundamental rights, and duties. It says that “the state shall, as required, make legal provisions for implementation of the rights conferred by this part within three years of commencement of the charter”.

The government is drafting laws through various ministries to implement the rights. The statute makes it mandatory to frame 110 federal laws and amend 315 others within a year since the first meeting of the federal parliament. The ministry is planning to make public the present state of the legislation process on June 27 as the outcome of Minister Tamang’s 100 days in office.

Among the 31 fundamental rights, the country already has many laws, which need minor amendments. But the government is working on 17 new laws to honour new fundamental rights.“We have a challenge to review 315 laws so that cross-cutting issues are not repeated,” said Ramesh Dhakal, spokesperson for the ministry, adding that the priority was for laws related to fundamental rights to reach Parliament before the deadline. In general, a law needs one year to complete its course but the government is preparing to fast-track their adoption.

Senior Advocate Chandra Kanta Gyawali said the government should have formed a special team to draft laws to implement the fundamental rights as a joint initiative between the three tiers of government.

Published: 05-06-2018 07:00

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