No suspension of MPs facing trial

- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Jun 9, 2018-

Members of Parliament remanded in judicial custody on criminal offences will not be suspended and hence can continue to be a member of the House of Representatives.

Ending a weeks-long stalemate, the ruling and opposition parties have agreed not to suspend such MPs but to deny them facilities and authority enjoyed by Lower House members.

Four months after the HoR commenced its business, its regulation was endorsed by a thumping majority. The Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party and the Rastriya Janamorcha protested the provision.

The regulation was delayed following serious differences between the erstwhile CPN-UML and the Nepali Congress over whether or not to suspend lawmakers remanded to judicial custody. The UML was for suspension but the Congress and Madhesi parties stood firmly against the idea. The Maoist faction was against suspension even as it was not vocal about it.

With an overwhelming majority, the ruling coalition wanted to decide the rules through a vote a few days ago but it was held back after the NC threatened to obstruct the House if its demand was not heeded.

“We finally reached a meeting point,” Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, chairman of the Regulation Drafting Committee, told the House. “Though there is no mention of ‘suspension’, an MP will not enjoy the authority and facilities while in custody.”

Endorsement of the regulation has opened the door for formation of 10 House committees. The Parliamentary Hearing Committee is a must for hearing of nominees for ambassadorial posts or constitutional positions before their appointment. The government had blamed the absence of the committee for not nominating candidates for appointment as the chief justice, chief of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse the Authority and ambassadors.

According to Pokharel, the regulation has made it mandatory for the first time to award leadership of 30 percent parliamentary committees to female lawmakers. This means at least three committees will be led by women. Besides, the government will have to respond within five days to the concerns raised by MPs during ‘zero’ and ‘special’ hours. There was no such provision in the past.

In addition, the prime minister and ministers will have to respond to concerns raised in the House, on fortnightly basis. “Unlike in the past, the MPs will get the House agenda a day before the meeting,” he told the House..

Published: 09-06-2018 06:50

User's Feedback

Click here for your comments

Comment via Facebook

Don't have facebook account? Use this form to comment