Accused lawmakers not to face suspension

Kathmandu, June 8

The House of Representatives today endorsed the House of Representatives Regulation incorporating a provision whereby lawmakers accused of crime carrying a jail sentence of three years and more will not face suspension. But such lawmakers will be deprived of their pay and perks during trial.

Lawmakers who are convicted of the crime will face suspension when the conviction verdict is endorsed by the last tier of the court.

The house endorsement comes after weeks of delays due to a dispute between the ruling Nepal Communist Party and opposition parties — Nepali Congress and the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal — delaying the formation of parliamentary committees, including the Parliamentary Hearing Committee.

The appointment of the new chief justice also remains stalled due to the absence of the Public Hearing Committee.

Although the HoR Regulation Drafting Committee had forged consensus, especially on the provision that the accused lawmakers would not face suspension, some ruling party lawmakers registered amendment proposals after the draft regulation was tabled in the Parliament seeking to incorporate a provision whereby such lawmakers could be suspended.

Opposition parties have been saying that lawmakers should be suspended only when the last tier of the court convicts the accused lawmakers.

The new regulation has provisioned 10 thematic parliamentary committees, compared to 12 such panels previously. The committees will have around 28 members each. There will also be two joint committees — Public Hearing Committee and the Constitution Implementation and Monitoring Committee — including members from both the houses.

The new regulatory provisions that the prime minister has to attend the Parliament at least twice a month to answer questions raised by lawmakers.

“The regulation also makes it mandatory for ministers concerned to answer questions of lawmakers raised during zero hour and special time within five days. Of the 10 house committees, 33 per cent (at least three) should have women presidents,” he said.