Constitution amendment process enters Stage II

Lawmakers have till Thursday afternoon to register their amendment proposals

Kathmandu, January 4

Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar today gave lawmakers 72 hours to register their amendment proposals on the Bill on First Amendment of Constitution of Nepal.

The Speaker made the announcement to this effect while replying to a minister who was addressing the concerns of lawmakers on the bill during four days of deliberations that concluded yesterday.

With today’s development, the constitution amendment process has entered the second stage.

Although discussion concluded yesterday, the Speaker had paused the proceedings till this afternoon, hoping for a positive result in the ongoing negotiations between the three major parties and the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front.

Lawmakers have till Thursday afternoon to register their amendment proposals. The Speaker can form a committee to organise and manage the proposals before beginning clause-wise discussion on the bill and putting it to vote.

The time provided for amendment proposal would be meaningful if the three major political parties and agitating Madhes-based parties could find ways to address the concerns of the agitating parties and register a proposal based on consensus by Thursday afternoon. This will depend on the success or failure of the ongoing negotiations.

Replying to the lawmakers’ queries at today’s House meeting, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Agni Prasad Kharel requested the agitating UDMF to utilise the 72 hours to find solution and resolve the Tarai agitation through parliamentary process.

“There is evidence that the constitutions of democratic countries across the world have been amended many times. I request all parties, mainly the agitating ones, to utilise the time provided for amendment,” Kharel said.

He rejected the allegations made by some lawmakers during the discussion that the bill was introduced keeping in mind the interest of foreign forces. “The bill was tabled keeping in mind the interests of the Nepali people and not those of foreign forces,” he said.

Altogether 58 lawmakers had taken part during the preliminary discussions on the bill.

Lawmakers of agitating Madhes-based parties were chanting slogans in the well of the House, demanding that their concerns be addressed, while the minister was addressing the House.

The agitating parties have rejected the bill registered by previous Nepali Congress-led government, stating that it was insufficient to address their concerns and it did not mention their major concern related to changing the existing seven-province federal model.

Today’s Parliament meeting endorsed a bill on vaccination and forwarded three bills related to banking crime and punishment, bank and financial organisation and education to concerned committee of the parliament for further discussion.

The next meeting of the Parliament is scheduled to be held at 1:00pm tomorrow.