Assembly sans 26 nominees violates law, say legal eagles

Kathmandu, May 28:

The Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007 has provided for 601 members in the Constituent Assembly but first CA meeting convened without the appointment of 26 members.

The meeting convened with the participation of CA members elected through the first-past-the-post system and the proportional representation system only.

Constitutional experts have taken this issue as a violation of rule of law on the process of abolishing the 240-year old institution of monarchy.

Article 63 (3) (C) of the Interim Constitution has provided for nomination of 26 CA members by the Council of Ministers, on the basis of consensus, from amongst the prominent persons and those who could not make it to the CA via direct election or proportional representation.

“The CA will take full shape only after the appointment of the 26 members,” constitutional expert Surya Dhungel told this daily. “But convening a meeting and decision taken by it would not be illegitimate or unconstitutional only because of this technical lapse,” he opined.

“The assembly can convene even without the appointment of the 26 members,” he added. According to him, the cabinet should have appointed the 26 members before the first meeting to give full shape of the CA to avoid any technical mistake,” he added.

Article 74 of the Constitution states that the CA shall have the power to carry out its business even if not all the members are present.

“This shows that the politicians have a tendency of not following the spirit of the Constitution because the appointment of the 26 members was essential before the first meeting. And it shows that the major players have the tendency not to respect the rule of law,” Dhungel added.

Another expert, Purna Man Shakya, also said rule of law was violated in the process of abolishing the institution of monarchy.

“Though this is only a technical glitch, no questions will be asked on political front,” Shakya said.

“Any major decision of this scale should be taken without giving anyone any chance to raise question,” Shakya added.

“We cannot undermine the question of legitimacy when the nation is determined to abolish the monarchy through a legitimate manner,” Shakya said, adding: “We should have abided by the law and should not have given any space of doubt.”