The Bhattarai-led government has been so adamant that it let the EC-given deadline to meet the Constituent Assembly (CA) poll requirements by July 22 expire, and instead five days later on July 27 it moved two ordinances related to clearing the legal hurdles for holding fresh elections for a new Constituent Assembly (CA). While the futile debate continues whether the President has the power not to approve the ordinances moved to him by the government, it should be understood that constitutionality is what matters uppermost. The government seems to be going overboard in claiming that the President has no executive powers and that he has no authority to reject the recommendations approved by the Cabinet — in this case it is only a caretaker government at best. In other words, the government wants the
President to merely be a “rubber stamp”, which is trying to fix his role as per the whims and fancies of the government-runners. The President is not bound to approve whatever decisions that the cabinet makes and is not spelt out in the Interim Constitution. However, the cabinet decisions that come within the purview of the constitution can be approved by the President. The question of constitutionality is what guides the President in approving the government-forwarded decisions. However, when the question revolves around political issues, when there is no parliament, the consensus on them by the major political parties only can break the ice.
What is of importance to note here is that the Interim Constitution does not have any provision for the election of a new Constituent Assembly. However, Prime Minister Bhattarai deceptively announced the CA polls for November 22. At the same moment the CA term expired on May 27. He did it without an all-party consensus, which is mandatory to hold whatever the election may be. It is true that elections are essential and come under the fundamental right of the people and have to be
held periodically, but the Interim Constitution does not have any provision for another election of any kind. That stops any move at elections without the relevant amendment in the constitution through political consensus.
Now, what election is the caretaker government aiming at, and how is it going to achieve it sans consensus among the political parties? The government is not naive to be doing what is not sanctioned by consensus among the parties, but it is trying to create a scene with Shital Niwas for cabinet decisions which do not fall under the parameters of the constitution. The malevolent intentions of the government have to be defeated, and as oft reiterated by the President, all decisions have to come through political consensus. But, the caretaker government seems to have forgotten its status and is aiming to do things in a futile manner without generating consensus among all the parties. The thought of bulldozing everything that stands in the way is what the government aims to do but that is simply daydreaming. It is only consensus among the parties that can resolve the political issues in the interest of all.
Save the tigers
At one time the forests of Nepal were teeming with a sizable number of tigers and other wildlife species. However, over the years due to rampant poaching their numbers dwindled in an alarming manner, and it was even feared that many of these exotic species would be wiped out. Now that conservation efforts are underway to save these endangered animals as well as their habitat, it is encouraging to note that the tiger population is making a comeback, albeit gradually. That the campaign to save wildlife is gathering momentum and is actually succeeding can be gleaned from the fact that in the last 18 months Nepal achieved zero tolerance to poaching of endangered species which is no small feat. In fact, there is now a goal set to double the tiger population in the country by the year 2020.
Incidentally, the Global Tiger Day was marked recently with the slogan “Stop Wildlife Crime. It’s Dead Serious”. It is heartening to note that the number of tigers in the Bardiya National Park has doubled in the last three years. The tiger population in other national parks have also noted a marked increase. Thus, it behooves on all to contribute to preserve endangered wildlife and their habitat as they are now threatened.