Nepal | January 18, 2021

Women’s proactive role in exercising constitutional rights stressed

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Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Shiva Maya Tumbahangphe said the present constitution is not discriminatory.

She stressed that the constitution had guaranteed the rights of all – women, indigenous nationalities, Madhesi and the marginalised communities.

The law minister also stressed on the need of implementing the constitution in its letter and spirit to ensure the rights of all.

She suggested that the women should also enhance their capacity for effective utilisation of their rights guaranteed by the constitution. She said legislations related to food sovereignty and right to housing were in the process of making by incorporating the spirits of fundamental rights.

Refuting the comments that the central government had not been cooperating with the provincial and local governments in formulating laws, the law minister said there was cordial relations among the three tiers of the government.

“The constitution has guaranteed the rights of the central, provincial and local governments.

All the three tiers of the government function accordingly. This is the first time that the country has adopted federalism. It might take some time to study and formulate laws related to it,” she said adding that the federal government had been fulfilling its coordinating role effectively.

Commenting on the nature of the constitution she said, “I don’t think the constitution has guaranteed limited rights to women. This constitution is not like that of the previous ones. The constitution has inscribed rights of all women, indigenous people, Dalit, Madhesis and all. But those rights have yet to be fully implemented.

For this, the women should boost their capacity,” said the minister. On limited participation of women in different state apparatuses she said, “Such a situation will continue until the feeling of equality remains ingrained in the mind of women and men in the leadership position. This gets reflected in the council of ministers and political parties too.” It was necessary to bring changes in our minds and political parties too, she said.

“Currently, efforts are ongoing to develop laws and systems. It is needed to translate the provisions of the Constitution and acts in practice,” Minister Tumbahangphe said.

Responding to a query over delay in the implementation of provision of providing citizenship certificate in the name of mother, she said that there was no change in the mentality of Nepali people and that it was necessary to bring change in the mind-set of the people. She added that though laws have been formulated in favour of women, single women have been facing difficulties to obtain citizenship certificates. Besides creating awareness in people for change the provisions mentioned in the constitution should be implemented.

Commenting on vacant posts at different commissions including the National Women Commission for years, the law minister said it was not good to keep the posts of office-bearers at the commissions vacant and all the commissions should get full shape.

She further said the commissions should carry out activities as per the objectives of their formation, adding that the government had not obstructed the appointment of the office-bearers at commissions.

Minister Tumbahangphe shared that the Constitutional Council had to recommend for appointment of office-bearers and the government would not hinder its proceeding. Responding to the query on ineffective implementation of laws on untouchably, she said that the caste based discrimination was a crime and the victim also should be aware of filing complaints against such activities for effective implementation of laws. The minister also said that most of the cases were settled through mediation.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 18, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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