Big 3 for fewer constitutional bodies

KATHMANDU: Influential Constituent Assembly (CA) members of three major political parties — Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist — Thursday recommended forming fewer constitutional bodies than proposed by the CA Committee to Determine the Structure of Constitutional Bodies (CDSCB).

CDSCB has recommended constituting 11 constitutional bodies which include: Commission for Investigation of the Abuse of Authority, Auditors’ General Commission, Public Service Commission, Election Commission, Human Rights Commission, Women’s Commission, Dalit Commission, Indigenous and Nationalities’ Commission, Madhesi Commission, Muslim Commission, and Commission for Preservation of the Interests of Differently-abled People, Minorities and Marginalised Communities and Backward Class and Region.

Taking part in the discussion on the preliminary concept paper of CDSCB at the CA meeting, Maoist leader Dev Gurung suggested a limited number of constitutional bodies “with people’s access, control and participation.” He said the CA should discuss the CDSCB’s concept paper only after discussing one on the State Restructuring Committee.

“Some of the constitutional bodies proposed by the CDSCB are similar in nature,” Gurung said, adding that the proposed commissions related to women, dalits, differently abled people, Muslim and Madhesi could be brought under the Human Rights Commission.

He recommended that the legislative body be given more teeth than the commissions. “Instead of the constitutional council, the council of ministers should be given authority to form the constitutional bodies.”

Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, NC CA member, said the CDSCB lacked theoretical clarity. “Some of the constitutional bodies are required to maintain check and balance among the executive, the legislature and the judiciary,” Mahat said.

“However, some constitutional bodies as suggested by the committee are not necessary as the government can form them as and when required,” he said. He agreed with Gurung over the possibility of overlapping the commissions’ jurisdiction in case all the proposed bodies came into force.

UML leader, Bishnu Rimal, questioned the rationale of all the proposed bodies. “If the Human Rights Commission is made systematic with inclusive representation of women, Dalits, Muslim and ethnic communities, other bodies are not required at all,” he claimed.