Deadline looming large over passage of rights bills

Kathmandu, September 15

The House of Representatives today endorsed two fundamental rights related bills — environment protection bill and bill on the rights of people with disabilities — which have already been endorsed by the upper House.

These bills will now be sent to the Office of the President for certification. While the environment bill ensures people’s right to clean environment, the bill on rights of people with disabilities proposes to protect their rights.

Fifteen bills related to fundamental rights are under consideration. They have not been passed by one of the Houses yet. The government needs to ensure that the remaining bills related to fundamental rights are passed by September 18 as per the three-year deadline set by the constitution.

All the parliamentary panels of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly have finalised the 17 fundamental rights bills and presented their reports to the respective Houses.

Hum Kumar KC, deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, said the government needed to ensure passage of 15 fundamental rights related bills by the deadline. The Parliament has already passed the public security law which is also related to fundamental rights. The HoR will send the bills it passed to the NA for endorsement and vice-versa. In order to fast-track the passage of bills, both Houses have shortened the amendment registration time from 72 hours to 12 hours.

The NA today started thematic discussion on the bills the HoR had endorsed on Thursday and sent to the NA for approval.

They are safe motherhood and reproductive health bill, right to employment bill, consumer protection bill, right to food bill, right to housing bill, right to land bill and public health bill.

Once the NA endorses these bills, they will be sent to the Office of the President for certification.

The bill on protection of crime victims and bill on rights of children, which were endorsed by the NA, were sent to the HoR for approval. The bill on right to privacy and bill on caste discrimination (crime and punishment) have also been endorsed by the HoR. These bills will be sent to the NA.

In the HoR meeting today, the relevant parliamentary committees presented their reports on the bills. The State Affairs and Good Governance Committee presented the final draft of social welfare bill and the Education and Health Committee today presented the final draft of regular and free education bill.