Crucial bills may hit snag if opposition continues obstruction

- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Feb 1, 2019-

Some crucial bills may hit a snag if the Nepali Congress continues its protests in Parliament.

The opposition party has been obstructing the House proceedings since January 25, protesting against the use of marshals in the House of Representatives to endorse the National Medical Education Bill despite its serious reservations. The bill, which was endorsed by the Lower House last Friday, was endorsed by the Upper House on Thursday.

Earlier the Congress party was protesting against the government move of scrapping two hospitals named after its two leaders—Girija Prasad Koirala and Sushil Koirala. The government, however, has corrected the decision.

Following NC’s obstruction, a meeting of the Lower House called for Thursday was postponed until Sunday.

Opposition lawmakers have accused Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara of showing arrogance and working at the government’s behest.

The next meeting of both the Houses has been scheduled for Sunday.

“As there are still a few days for the next House meeting, we will make our position clear by then,” Congress Whip Pushpa Bhusal told the Post. “Being a constructive opposition, we will take prudent decisions.”

The federal Parliament now has less than a week to endorse the bill to amend the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act-2014 registered on Tuesday.

Even the delay by a single day might affect the endorsement, a must before February 9 after which there will be no law to govern the country’s transitional justice process.

The terms of the two transitional justice bodies—the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons—expires on February 9, and an amendment to the transitional justice law is a must to extend their mandates.

Along with the Act, there are dozens of laws that need to be endorsed by the federal parliament to meet the constitutional deadline.

The Ministry of Law and Justice has identified 174 Acts that need to be amended or replaced with new ones as they contradict with the provisions of the constitution that came into force three years ago. The constitution has set March 4 as the deadline to revise these Acts.

The government has registered two separate Some Nepal Acts amendment bills to revise over 100 laws, which need minor revisions, in bulk.

Another bill related to the management and coordination of police at the Centre and provinces is also in the Lower House. Tabulation of the bill in the House was on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting.

Officials at the Parliament Secretariat said since hardly over a month remains before the constitutional deadline, every single House meeting is of utmost importance.

The Nepali Congress said on Thursday that the party could consider not obstructing the proceedings of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly to allow for the passage of some crucial bills.

Bhusal said though her party was still for continuing the obstruction, it could consider lifting the protests if the government comes up with important bills.

Published: 01-02-2019 11:23

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