Constituent Assembly in ‘fast-track’ mode

KATHMANDU: The Constituent Assembly today began cutting short its procedure to promulgate the new constitution through fast-track method. It suspended Rule 93 (3), according to which the CA Secretariat should provide one copy of the first draft Bill of the new constitution to each CA member seven days before tabling the document in the CA and sending it for people’s feedback.

The copies of the document were distributed yesterday to each CA member and the rule was suspended on Thursday to shorten the seven-day duration and table the document today itself. The seven-day provision is intended to provide the document to the CA members for studying it before discussing it in the CA full house.

The proposal of suspending the rule was passed today by majority vote amid disruption and sloganeering from some fringe parties.

“Getting the copy of the draft Bill seven days before discussion is the right of all CA members. Since, only rules related to procedure can be suspended according to Rule 169 and the provisions related to rights of CA members cannot be suspended, I am raising point of order against the proposal of the suspension of Rule 93 (3). This is arbitrary and autocratic,” Sadbhawana Party leader Laxman Lal Karna told the house before resorting to sloganeering.

As soon as NC’s Shrestha went to rostrum to table the proposal for suspending the rule, the members of RPP-N, Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, Tarai Madhes Democratic Party, Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party Nepal and Bahujan Shakti Party went to the well and chanted slogans against violation of CA Rules.

After the majority voice vote endorsed the proposal amidst the uproar, Chairman of Constitution Drafting Committee Krishna Prasad Sitaula tabled the draft Bill of the new constitution to get it endorsed with consent of the house for publishing the document in the gazette for people’s feedback. Sitaula had tabled the CDC report on Tuesday and what he tabled today is formal Bill of the first draft of the new constitution.

RPP-N Chairman Kamal Thapa said his party would resort to severe protest at tomorrow’s CA meeting against the forceful act of the four parties. He alleged that the Bill had inserted right to conversion under fundamental rights though that was not included in the CDC report.

CA Chairman Nembang called the next meeting of the CA for 1:00pm tomorrow to discuss the draft Bill before endorsing Sitaula’s proposal.

Today’s CA meeting began four hours late, as the four parties – NC, UML, UCPN-M and Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (Democratic) — and the fringe parties were divided on suspending Rule 93(3) in the meeting of CA’s Business Advisory Committee.

Earlier, before the disgruntled parties began sloganeering, CA Chairman Subas Chandra Nembang said the proposal of suspension of the CA Rules was brought by following the provision of Rule 169 of the CA Rules and the CA members were free to endorse or reject it.