Prez to consult legal experts on National Assembly nominees

Kathmandu, February 11

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari will consult legal experts before endorsing three members of the National Assembly the government recommended yesterday.

President Bhandari’s Personal Secretary Bhesh Raj Adhikari said although the government sent a recommendation letter on Saturday  to the Office of the President, the letter was registered only today. “The president will consult legal and constitutional experts on the matter and take a suitable decision on the matter at a suitable time,” he added.

The Cabinet has recommended Gopal Basnet, Chandani Joshi and Krishna Prasad Paudel to the NA.

The president’s Political Advisor Sushil Pyakurel said the president was as confused as anybody else on the nominations made by the caretaker government. “The constitution only states that three members will be recommended by the government. It does not say whether this recommendation has to be made by a caretaker government or a new government. Therefore, the president wants to consult constitutional experts,” Pyakurel said and added that the government had to consult political parties before making the recommendation.

CPN-UML Secretary Padeep Gyawali condemned the government’s decision to nominate three members to the National Assembly.

Talking to  mediapersons after the party’s Standing Committee meeting here today, Gyawali  said, “ Such a recommendation has to be made by the new government, which has a fresh mandate. The caretaker government is taking one after another wrong decisions and we cannot accept them,” he added.

Fifty-six members of the 59-member NA are elected by an electoral college that consists of members of the provincial assemblies and chiefs and deputy chiefs of local levels. With the constitution not explicitly mentioning, which government — the incumbent or the new one — would recommend NA nominees, legal eagles expressed differing views on the issue.

General Secretary of Nepal Bar Association Khamma Bahadur Khati said the government’s decision was constitutional. “Article 86 (2B) of the constitution is very clear about it,” he said, adding, “There is no moral issue as well as the process of forming the new government can begin only after the Parliament gets full shape.”

However, Advocate Tika Ram Bhattarai said it was up to the president to approve or reject the recommendation made by a caretaker government. “The constitutional provision has been misinterpreted. A government is one that has majority in the Parliament and has the people’s mandate, but the current government is a caretaker one,” he said.

Bhattarai, however, said that the new government could not revoke the recommendation if the president endorsed it. Of the three recommended, Basnet and Paudel are active members of the Nepali Congress.