Lack of agenda delays winter session of federal parliament

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Nov 24, 2018-

The winter session of the federal parliament, which has dozens of laws to endorse ahead of the constitutional deadline, has been delayed because of inadequate 

agenda.

It is the responsibility of the government to give Parliament its business, but it has not prepared the draft amendment for even one law among dozens that need to be reviewed in three months.

There are hardly seven bills—four in the House of Representatives and three in the National Assembly—in the federal parliament pending from last session.

The government must review 339 Acts that were in effect before the promulgation of the new constitution in 2015 and prepare draft amendments to those inconsistent with the charter. Such drafts need to be registered in the Parliament Secretariat and then endorsed by both the Houses to make the Acts consistent with the constitution.

Lower House Secretary Gopal Nath Yogi said, “Despite repeated commitments from the government, not a single amendment bill has been registered with the secretariat. This is pushing the commencement of the winter session.”

The winter session was to begin immediately after the Chhath festival that concluded on November 13. According to Article 304 of the constitution, any law not in line with its law of the land becomes invalid one year after the first meeting of the federal parliament.

Since the first meeting of the federal parliament was held on March 5, the deadline for revising all the laws is March 4 next year.

Yogi said Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara has repeatedly reminded the government to ensure that the amendment bills reach Parliament on time. Further delay in drafting the laws would mean lesser time for discussion in the Houses.

The government’s delayed drafting of 17 laws to guarantee citizens’ fundamental rights in August resulted in the Parliament endorsing them without substantial discussion among lawmakers. Several groups, including international human rights organisations, criticised the hasty endorsement.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Dhanraj Gyawali said the 

ministry was taking initiatives to review the existing Acts after other ministries 

did not comply with its 

circulars.

The Law Ministry had directed 21 other ministries and the Prime Minister’s Office to complete the review process by mid-November, to no avail.

“We hope some of the bills start landing in the Parliament Secretariat from next week,” he said.

Officials at secretariat said the federal parliament will commence only after the Nepali Congress Mahasamiti meeting that ends on December 20. They say Congress leaders would be preoccupied with their party work. They say the winter session is likely to commence on December 23.

Published: 24-11-2018 07:27

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