Cong lawmakers tell party not to ignore SC order

KATHMANDU: Nepali Congress lawmakers Bimalendra Nidhi, Amresh Kumar Singh, Shekhar Koirala and Chandra Mohan Yadav on Thursday told Parliamentary Party meeting that the NC must respect the interim order issued by the Supreme Court on June 19 and ensure that the new constitution settles all federalism issues.

Nidhi said the NC, which has always respected the supremacy of law, should not follow a party that rejected federalism.

He said the party must try to form a federal commission as soon as possible and settle all federalism issues in one month before promulgating the constitution.

“If the fast-track process can be applied to address other issues, why not do the same to settle federalism issues? Why have parties intended to give six months to the federal commission for settling federalism issues?” he wondered.

Nidhi said it was a mistake on the part of leaders of the four parties, which signed the 16-point agreement, to criticise the interim order of the SC. These leaders have already made a mistake, now efforts should be made to correct it, he added.

NC lawmaker and Central Committee member Shekhar Koirala criticised Krishna Sitaula, Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, for not incorporating pluralism in the preamble of the constitution.

Koirala said if the interim order was not respected just because a case was filed by a Madhesi petitioner and the order was passed by a Madhesi justice, tomorrow any case filed by Pahadis and decided by Pahadi Justices might be challenged by Madhesis. The party must respect the SC order, he said.

“The CDC chair (Sitaula) mentioned late leaders BP Koirala, Ganesh Man Singh, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai and GP Koirala in his speech in the CA, but he did not make any attempt to incorporate pluralism in the preamble of the constitution, which was one of the ideals of the party that these leaders stood for,” said Koirala. “The NC is being dragged by the CPN-UML on constitutional issues.”

Koirala also said that secularism must be replaced with religious freedom in the constitution.

Another NC lawmaker Amresh Kumar Singh said the NC must respect court order and go for promulgation of the constitution only after settling federalism issues, as asked by the apex court in its June 19 order. “If the CA does not respect Article 138 of the Interim Constitution, why should I accept the constitution framed by the CA then?” said Singh, only to face fierce objection from three lawmakers — Keshav Budhathoki, Bharat Kumar Shah and Ramhari Khatiwada.

Singh said the late Girija Prasad Koirala had entered an agreement with Madhesi forces on the issues of federalism and therefore, party president Sushil Koirala should not ignore that agreement. He said UML Chair KP Oli’s recent statement against President Ram Baran Yadav hurt the sentiments of Madhesi people.

Sujata Koirala and Arzu Deuba said citizenship provisions of the draft constitution were discriminatory. Man Bahadur Bishwakarma and Min Bahadur Bishwakarma said the draft constitution had failed to clearly define the rights of Dalits.