Hearing on registration of bill to continue

Kathmandu, January 1

Hearing on cases filed against registration of the constitution amendment bill by an advocate and four former lawmakers will continue tomorrow.

Two cases were filed by Advocate Tika Dhwoj Khadka and five other petitioners, including   former lawmakers Jhalak Nath Wagle and Brahm Narayan Chaudhari of Nepali Congress and Bishnu Bahadur Raut and Shankar Nath Sharma Adhikari of the UML and a fifth petitioner Sharada Pokharel against registration of the constitution amendment bill.

The court is hearing both the writ petitions together as their contents are similar.

These people filed the writ petitions after the government registered the amendment bill on November 29 proposing to revise provincial boundaries in an attempt to address one of the key demands of agitating Madhesi forces.

A Division bench of Chief Justice Sushila Karki and Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada is hearing the case.

In today’s hearing, petitioner Khadka, senior advocates Shambhu Thapa, Ravi Narayan Khanal advocates Tika Ram Bhattarai, Ramesh Badal, Chandra Kanta Gyawali, Tika Bahadur Hamal and Bijay Mishra pleaded on behalf of the petitioners.

Government attorneys, particularly Attorney General Raman Kumar Shrestha, will present his arguments in defence of the government.

The petitioners have named the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and Parliament Secretariat as defendants, among others.

The bench will decide whether or not it should issue an interim order in the case. If the court does so, the government cannot proceed with the constitution amendment bill.

The CPN-UML and some fringe parties are protesting against the registration of the bill and one argument the UML has been citing is that registering the bill is against the constitutional provision.

Petitioner Khadka stated in his writ petition that as per Article 274 of the constitution, revision of provincial boundaries can happen only with the consent of the concerned provincial assembly .

The petitioner also argued that the government should follow the provision of Article 295, which states that a federal commission can be formed to settle questions of provincial boundaries.

The petitioner also said that the government did not form any such commission even 14 months after the constitution was promulgated and now it was trying to amend the constitution, which it has no power to do so under the constitution.

Some constitutional experts, however, argue that since elections to the provinces have not taken place and since the transitional phase continues, the Parliament has the authority to amend the amendable provisions of the constitution.