HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: A meeting of the Legislature Parliament today amended Article 70 of the Interim Constitution, clearing the way for endorsing the new constitution through short cut.
Of the 595 existing CA members, 536 took part in voting for the 12th amendment to the Interim Constitution. Three members from Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal voted against the amendment, while 533 voted in favour.
The amendment has made two changes: It has scrapped the earlier provision, which provided 15 days time to forge consensus if the first round of voting failed to pass the bill of the constitution unanimously. Another change is that two-third of the 595 lawmakers will have to vote in support of a single bill containing everything in the new constitution. As per the previous provision, two-third majority of lawmakers present during the vote could endorse the bill of the constitution.
“As I am informed, the parties are mulling over some changes in the CA regulation to make it compatible with today’s constitutional amendment. I am very hopeful that the parties will now bring the bill of the new constitution by forging consensus at the Constitutional Committee,” said CA chairman Subas Nembang.
Nepali Congress lawmaker Ramesh Lekhak said, “It will take maximum two days to pass each article of the new constitution individually with time provided to lawmakers if they want amendment on a particular Article.”
Although the constitution amendment has shortened the process of endorsing the new constitution, it has increased the number of members required to pass the bills according to Lekhak.
Almost all the lawmakers who spoke on the proposal to amend Article 70 criticised the major political forces for unnecessarily wasting time in forging consensus and making it necessary to require an amendment to cut short the constitutional ratification procedures.
These lawmakers said they were compelled to accept the amendment because if they did not, then the country might not have a new constitution.
“This is a Hobson’s choice. If we do not accept it, we might not have a new constitution and if we accept it, the people and the representatives will not have enough time to take part in constitutional debate,” said Rastriya Janashakti Party leader Prakash Chandra Lohani.
UML lawmaker Agni Kharel criticised the government for not bringing the amendment bill earlier. “Had the government brought the bill before, we would have some time to debate on issues,” Kharel added. CPN-United lawmaker Pari Thapa said the CA members were denied the chance to debate constitutional issues because the big three parties wasted time on the issue of power sharing.