Crucial bills are pending, but Upper House meeting not called


President Bidhya Devi Bhandari has summoned the first meeting of the House of Representatives, acting on the February 24 directive of the Supreme Court, for March 7.

The HoR meeting will convene at 4:00pm on the slated date, as per the press release issued by the Office of the President today. The release added that the president has called the HoR meeting pursuant to Article 93 (1) of the constitution on the recommendation of the government.

The Supreme Court had ordered the government on February 24 to call the HoR meeting within 13 days.

The five-member constitutional bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana had reinstated the HoR, terming Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's move dissolving the Lower House of the Parliament unconstitutional.

The government, however, has not called a joint session of the HoR and the National Assembly.

By calling only the HoR session, the government has indicated that it is only focused on political issues and passing crucial bills pending in the House is not its priority, said NA lawmaker Radhe Shyam Adhikari. Crucial bills that need to be passed urgently include the Citizenship Bill, the Civil Servants Adjustment Bill, and bills related to the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority and civil aviation.

Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Lilanath Shrestha told THT that the government would call the NA meeting after the Lower House got business. He said the government had earlier called the NA meeting in January, but the session ended within days as there was no business for the Upper House.

The upcoming HoR session could witness filing of a no-trust motion against the PM by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal-led Nepal Communist Party (NCP).

The Dahal-Nepal faction of the NCP has called its Standing Committee and Central Committee meetings on Wednesday to discuss the new political situation that arose after the order reinstating the Lower House.

NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the party would discuss formation of the new government and other political issues. He said if Oli did not resign before March 7, then the party would begin the process of unseating him.

The Dahal-Nepal faction of the NCP had termed the PM's move dissolving the HoR unconstitutional, undemocratic, and autocratic.

Lawmakers to be vaccinated

All lawmakers, employees of the Parliament Secretariat, and mediapersons covering the Parliament will be vaccinated against COV- ID-19 ahead of March 7 meeting of the House of Representatives. According to Assistant Spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat Dasharatha Dhamala, lawmakers and Parliament Secretariat employees and security personnel deployed at the House will receive shots on March 3, whereas other employees and journalists will receive shots on March 4 and 5.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 02, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.