House nod to Nepal, Uprety as ECs

Kathmandu, November 1:

The parliamentary Hearing Special Committee (HSC) today approved Usha Nepal and Dr Nilkantha Uprety as new election commissioners, even as some MPs said Janajatis and Dalits had not been considered for the post. They termed the nominations of Nepal and Uprety as an instance of “Brahmin domination of the Janajatis and Dalits”.

The committee suggested the government, Constitutional Council (CC) and the Judicial Council (JC) to adopt the “principle of inclusion” while making appointments in constitutional bodies.

“We approved Nepal and Uprety as the election commissioners,” chairperson of the committee, Asta Laxmi Shakya, told journalists after a meeting of the committee. “Approving Nepal and Uprety as ECs, we also urged the government, the CC and the JC to adopt the principle of inclusion while making appointments in the constitutional bodies. We warned the government that tough steps will be taken if our call is not heeded,” said Shakya.

After the approval, the committee forwarded its decision to the CC to further the appointment process. The committee said it will be useless for the HSC to conduct a hearing on appointments if the authorities concerned do not respect suggestions of the HSC.

In today’s discussion in the House, MPs criticised the CC for nominating Brahmins for the posts, thereby violating the principle of inclusion adopted through the House declaration of May 18. Some MPs, accusing Nepal of distributing citizenship certificates to foreigners, were against appointing Nepal as the EC. They later approved Nepal as the EC since there was no clinching evidence to back the allegation.

Some MPs, including Bijaya Subbha, Rajendra Mahato, Bharatmohan Adhikary and Dr Ram Baran Yadav, criticised the CC for not adopting the principle of inclusion. They said they approved Nepal and Uprety as ECs because they did not want to pose obstacles to the process of Constituent Assembly elections.

MP Subbha, following a secret discussion with committee chairperson and chief whip Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, had agreed to approve the two as ECs.

The MPs also agreed to urge the Prime Minister and the Speaker to amend the House of Representatives Regulation 2006 to make the hearing effective. They said there is an urgency to give more days to the public to comment on any appointment. The existing provision gives 72 hours for commenting on any appointment.