Major parties fail to forge consensus on PHC strength

Kathmandu, May 14

A high-level meeting of major political parties today failed to forge consensus on the disputed issues of Parliamentary Regulations as the ruling and the opposition parties stuck to their old stances on the strength of the Parliamentary Hearing Committee.

Nepali Congress Chief Whip Chin Kaji Shrestha said his party rejected the ruling parties’ proposal that a 15-member PHC be formed.

Shrestha said NC’s stance was that the provision of the new constitution would be applicable only when the Upper House was formed and as there was no Upper House at present, the PHC should have 73 members as was the case under the Interim Constitution. “This is a transitional period and all other committees are functioning as per the old regulations, so the PHC should also be formed accordingly,” Shrestha said, adding that his party leaders told the meeting if it was urgent to conduct parliamentary hearing, then they should agree on reviving the old PHC. Shrestha said his party leaders told the meeting that under the present system, it was necessary for the PHC to have more members to reflect the size of the 601-member Parliament and to ensure representation of all parties in Parliament. “The spirit of the constitution is to ensure representation of all the parties and communities in the PHC,” Shrestha added.

The prime minister’s Press Adviser Pramod Dahal informed that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said the constitution had mandated a 15-member PHC, and therefore it was necessary to fulfil the constitutional obligation. The PM also said if a 15-member PHC was formed, it would give positive message about the constitution being implemented. “If we revive the old PHC or form a 73-member to reflect the old PHC, it will give the message that the constitutional provision is not being implemented,” Dahal quoted the PM.

The leaders decided to sit for talks tomorrow to make a last ditch effort to resolve the matter so that they could register a proposal in the Parliament on Monday to amend the draft parliamentary regulations and get it passed by the House.

Unified CPN-Maoist lawmaker Ram Narayan Bidari said all the parties except the NC were for forming a 15-member PHC.

He said the prime minister also told the meeting that the constitution had a clear provision for a 15-member PHC and there was no provision for transitional period for the PHC. “As far as the size of the Cabinet in transition period is concerned, the constitution has separate provision for such a situation, but not for the PHC,” Bidari quoted the PM. as telling the leaders of political parties in the meeting.

Nepali Congress President  Sher Bahadur Deuba, General Secretary Dr Shashank Koirala, lawmakers Ramesh Lekhak and  Chinkaji Shrestha; CPN-UML Chair and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, party leaders Madhav Kumar Nepal, Agni Kharel, Subas Chandra Nembang and Bhanubhakta Dhakal;  Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic Chair Bijay Kumar Gachhadar and party leader  Ram Janam Chaudhari and Unified CPN-Maoist Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Narayan Kaji Shreshta, Hitraj Pandey and Barshaman Pun represented their respective parties in the meeting.

Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal and Rastriya Prajatantra Party were represented by Dilnath Giri and Dipak Bohara respectively.