Statute ‘not open’ to interpretation

Kathmandu, November 6:

Senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India, Rajeev Dhavan, today said that the 1990 Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal has adopted the best constitutional principles and no one has the authority to act beyond the limitations sets by the statute.

Dhavan also said that the King has not been working within the limitations of the statute. “Since the Constitution does not provide any state power even to the King to act but only to protect the Constitution, no one can interpret the constitution to serve anyone’s interests,” Dhavan said while giving a lecturer in the Nepal Bar Association premises today.

He also said that Article 127 of the Constitution does not provide any authority to the King to act in any way to form a new Council of Minister as he had done after his February 1 takeover.

Dhavan advised everyone to interpret the Constitution in connection with the preamble of the 1990 Constitution. “The Constitution is clear what powers it provided to the King,” he added. According to him, the King has no special authority to act without the recommendation of the Council of Ministers. Dhavan was citing Article 35 (2) of the Constitution that has said that the King has to work with the recommendation of the Council of Ministers.

“There is no special power guaranteed by the Constitution to anyone,” he said. Dhavan, also a member of the International Commission of Jurists’ (ICJ), said that the current status of the 1990 Constitution of Nepal is just a wrong turn and it can be rebuilt. He was comparing Nepal’s current constitutional impasse with the 1975 situation in India when the judiciary and the Press Council had played a role to restore rule of law in India.

One of the drafters of the 1990 Constitution, Daman Nath Dhungana, said India had equally contributed to bringing democracy in the country in 1990 just as Nepali leaders have helped India for its independence. According to Dhungana, after the October 4, 2002 dismissal of the government and the King’s subsequent moves a direct confrontation between the monarch and the people is building up here.