Bill to amend 108 laws sent to Cabinet

Kathmandu, December 30

The government will register, within a week, a new bill in the Parliament Secretariat seeking to amend 108 laws that contradict the constitution.

Secretary of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Rajib Gautam told THT that the bill seeking to amend the contradictory laws had already been sent to the Cabinet for its nod. This bill will have to be endorsed by the Parliament by March 5, a deadline set by the constitution.

Article 304 of the constitution states: “All laws in force at the time of commencement of this constitution shall remain in operation until repealed or amended, provided that laws inconsistent with this constitution shall, to extent of inconsistency, cease to operate one year after the first session of federal legislature in accordance with this constitution.”

“The bill was discussed in a Cabinet committee on Friday,” a minister told THT. According to him, the legislative committee of the Cabinet held a meeting today. “All the contradictory laws will be repealed by the Parliament by March 5 and adjustments will be made in those laws,” Gautam said. The government has already registered a bill in the Parliament proposing to repeal 56 contradictory laws after the Cabinet okayed the bill.

MLJPA had initially stated that the government might have to amend 339 laws, but it found out that only 174 laws needed to be repealed or adjusted as per the new constitution.

According to the law ministry, the parliamentary panels discussing the bills will also repeal or adjust 12 contradictory laws. According to an MLJPA official, the ministry sent 12 reminders to the ministries concerned, but they did not send the draft bill seeking amendment to contradictory laws, following which the MLJPA drafted all the bills itself and sent them to the Cabinet for approval.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had also directed the ministries concerned to draft urgent bills as per the constitutional provision and Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara has been reminding the government to register urgent bills in the Parliament so that the House could have enough business.

A meeting of the government secretaries held on November 30 had asked the ministries to send the draft bills to MLJPA by March 4. Government sources said this was also a reason why the ministries concerned did not hurry up to draft the bills.

The government’s ill preparation to draft bills led to a situation in the budget session when the Parliament had to suspend its regulations to pass urgent bills, particularly the bills related to fundamental rights, through a fast-track process. Lawmakers had complained that they passed those bills without even seeing their content.

“The contradictory laws have to be amended by March 5, after which they will cease to exist,” Gopal Yogi, secretary at the House of Representatives, said. “The ministries concerned need to send urgent bills to the Parliament pronto. For example, the Federal Parliament has to replace Legislative Parliament in the draft of the laws. Without amending that provision, the Parliament cannot function,” said Yogi.