HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Although the Supreme Court (SC) has directed Constituent Assembly (CA) Chairman Subas Nembang to ensure that convicted CA member Shyam Sundar Gupta can take part in the voting process on the constitution, parliament sources said the SC verdict cannot be executed if the CA regulations are to be adhered to.
Gupta is in jail on the charge of kidnapping and taking businessman Pawan Kumar Sanghai hostage for ransom.
In its ruling on May 15, a joint SC bench had directed the CA chairman and CA secretariat to make arrangements to enable Gupta can take part in the CA voting process for endorsing the new constitution, arguing that his membership still remained valid even if he was in jail as ordered by Kathmandu District court.
Gupta had petitioned the SC seeking a mandamus order to enable him to take part in all CA proceedings, claiming that his CA membership had not been terminated.
“It’s incompetent judgment on the part of the SC to issue an order without considering the Interim Constitution and CA regulations,” said a parliamentary source.
According to the Interim Constitution and CA regulations, CA and parliamentary proceedings take place in the CA building in the International Convention Centre (ICC), Baneshwor, and a sitting CA member has to be present in person in the CA hall to participate in the voting process.
When the voting process to endorse the new constitution begins, the CA Chairman rings the bell for five minutes calling all members to be present in the CA hall within that period. Then, the CA chairman orders the Marshals to close all doors and windows in the CA hall before CA members start casting votes on any motion tabled in the CA.
If a CA member, by whatsoever reason, does not take his/her seat in the CA hall within that time, s/he has to stay outside till the voting process is over. “This rule applies to Gupta as well,” said the source, adding, “Nor can CA officials take all the papers to Dilli Bazaar jail to collect his vote, either.”
It should be recalled that veteran leaders like former prime ministers Surya Bahadur Thapa and Madhav Kumar Nepal, were also barred from entering the parliamentary hall for failing to show up within the time set.