Interim statute has undermined judiciary: NBA

Kathmandu, January 8:

President of Nepal Bar Association (NBA), Shambhu Thapa and senior advocates today said the interim constitution, which is being tabled at the House of Representatives (HoR) on January 15, has undermined the judiciary.

Thapa, and two NBA presidential candidates — Basanta Ram Bhandari and Biswokanta Mainali — were unanimous to stress that certain provisions, including the ‘impregnable position’ enjoyed by the Prime Minister in the interim constitution be suitably amended.

Bhandari and Mainali have filed for presidential candidature for the NBA top post in the elections to be conducted this Saturday.

Thapa said the absence of sitting judges while finalising the interim constitution has left room for amendments.

“It (interim constitution) appears more of a political document than a legal paper,” he told an interaction at Reporters’ Club today, adding that the leaders, in the absence of legal experts, concentrated more on political issues while finalising the interim statute. “This is one of the causes why the judiciary has been undermined,” he added.

Bhandari suggested the eight political parties (Seven Party Alliance and the Maoist) to make necessary amendments in the interim constitution before it is tabled at the HoR. “If they fail to do so, there can be anarchy,” he warned. Bhandari also suggested that the

constitution brought by the constituent assembly should be acceptable to the people or else there can be a people’s uprising.

He also made it clear that any constitution that is “dictatorial in any form” would be unacceptable to the NBA. “We will be compelled to initiate protests if dictatorial constitution is brought,” he warned.

Mainali said “autocracy in any form (in the constitution) would not be acceptable” to NBA. “We will not allow any constitution to come that undermines judiciary,” Mainali warned, saying that judiciary cannot be independent if the NBA fails to stand against any form of autocracy.

“If the constitution brought by the constituent assembly gives place to autocracy, NBA will not tolerate,” he said and cautioned the concerned parties to bear this in mind.

“Be it a republican set-up or a democracy, there should be no room for autocracy,” he added, while referring to the provision of giving more powers to the Prime Minister in the interim constitution.

Senior advocate and former NBA president Harihar Dahal stressed on constitutional supremacy, rule of law, independent judiciary and human rights.