Prohibit them from registering individual amendment proposals
Kathmandu, August 31 The Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML today issued instructions to their Constituent Assembly members not to register any proposal on the provisions of draft constitution without consulting their parties. NC Chief Whip Chinkaji Shrestha issued a circular to NC CA members telling them not to individually register any proposal on the draft constitution. Shrestha said he issued instruction to CA members after being told by the party leaders to do the same. Shrestha also made it clear that it was not a whip but merely an instruction. Shrestha stated in the letter that if any NC CA member felt like registering a proposal, s/he should first consult the party and should not individually register any proposal even after consulting the party office bearers before the party’s central committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Shrestha said if CA members were allowed to register proposals as they pleased that would unnecessarily delay the constitution-making process. UML Secretary Prithvi Subba Gurung said a Standing Committee meeting today decided to inform the party CA members not to register any proposal on the draft constitution without consulting the party’s chief whip. “If we have to register any proposal, our chief whip will do so after consulting the NC and the UCPN-M, whose consent is necessary for the proposal to be passed in the CA,” Gurung said. Constitutional lawyer Bhimarjun Acharya said the decision to prevent CA members from registering proposal in the CA was most undemocratic, illegitimate and against the autonomy of the CA.   “It is an accepted principle that CA members have the right to use their conscience. This was ensured in the CA Rules in the first CA,” he added. Acharya said if the constitution was promulgated without giving CA members opportunities to participate in the process, it could undermine its legitimacy. Vice-president of the Nepal Bar Association Tika Ram Bhattarai said the aim of the NC and the UML might be to maintain discipline in the parliamentary party but it was against the principle of democratic constitution making process. “Parties should have confidence that their CA members will support their policies and CA members should also abide by their parties’ polices,” Bhattarai added. Meanwhile, NC CA member Dhan Raj Gurung said a majority of the party’s CA members had said during the consultation meetings that the party should be cautious against any attempt to derail the constitution making process in the name of dialogue, but at the same time, it should also make attempts to address the grievances of the protesting forces through amendment to the draft. Gurung said the CA members also told the party leaders that the party had to back proportional inclusion of marginalised communities.