Consensus eludes parties on HoR business rules

Kathmandu, May 3

Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara today held a meeting with the chief whips of political parties represented in the House of Representatives and the National Assembly to forge consensus on the parliamentary business rules, but failed to do so.

Parties are divided on some issues particularly on whether a lawmaker accused of a crime carrying a jail sentence of three years or more should be suspended after s/he is indicted in a crime. The UML supports suspension while the Nepali Congress, the CPN-Maoist Centre, the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal and the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal oppose the proposal. Chair of   HoR Business Rules Drafting Committee Krishna Bhakta Pokharel said the parties stuck to their stances in today’s meeting. He said he would put the issue to vote on Saturday.

Spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat Bharat Raj Gautam said the Speaker had also called top leaders of the parties represented in the Parliament, but they could not attend the meeting due to their busy schedules and the Speaker would again try to hold a meeting with the top leaders to forge consensus on the issue.

Committee members are also divided on how to decide the expiry of the term of National Assembly members.

RJP-N lawmaker Laxman Lal Karna, who is a member of the HoR Business Rules drafting Committee, said some committee members particularly the ruling parties’ lawmakers favoured cluster-wise lottery to decide which lawmakers’ term will end when, but others opposed it.

Some NA members serve for two years and some for four and six years, the decision of which is made through lottery.

Karna said names of all NA members should be there in the lottery and the replacement of the lawmakers whose term end should be made on the basis of the clusters they represent. “If the term of a lawmaker representing particular cluster ends, representative from the same cluster should be elected,” he added.  There are 59 lawmakers in the NA.