Deadline to enact laws may be missed

Kathmandu, August 12

The Parliament, which has to enact laws related to enjoyment of fundamental rights before September 18, is likely to miss the deadline.

The Parliament has yet to enact 19 laws related to the enjoyment of fundamental rights.  A top official of the Parliament Secretariat said if normal procedures were followed, the Parliament would take one to three months to pass the bills.

A bill is tabled in the Parliament five days after it is registered in the Parliament Secretariat. Following a theoretical discussion on a bill, 72 hours are given for moving amendment proposals. Higher the number of the amendment proposals, the more time Parliament needs to pass the bill.

There are two options for the Parliament to pass the bills -- table them in the full House to fast track their passage or send them to thematic committees, which can take up to 15 days to endorse a bill before sending it back to the Parliament.

“It will be against the spirit of parliamentary practice to suspend the rules so as to fast-track the endorsement of the bills,” a senior official of the federal Parliament told THT.

Though the constitution, which was promulgated on September 15, 2015, has set a deadline of three years for the passage of bills related to the enjoyment of fundamental rights, the Parliament can amend the constitution to remove the three-year deadline.

The Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal ruled out that possibility. He, however, admitted that the government was under pressure to ensure enactment of bills within the stipulated deadline. According to him, 10 bills related to the enjoyment of fundamental rights have already been registered in the Parliament Secretariat and they will soon be tabled in the House.

According to him, three bills related to the right to privacy and compulsory education were yet to be drafted, but the Cabinet had given theoretical approval for the drafting of these bills. Three other bills related to the enjoyment of fundamental rights are under discussion in the Cabinet and three bills are in the process of being registered in the Parliament.

“The Parliament will not take long to endorse these bills,” said Minister Dhakal. “We’ll give priority to the bills related to fundamental rights. I don’t think that we will have to amend the constitution to resolve the issue of the deadline,” he added.

He said the government wanted to endorse the bills related to fundamental rights on the basis of consensus between ruling and opposition parties.  He added that the thematic committees would not take very long to endorse the bills.

As the Parliament lacks time to pass bills related to the enjoyment of fundamental rights, the Parliamentary Business Advisory Committee is likely to discuss how to run parliamentary meetings in the days ahead.

Sources said the committee might decide not to stop the meeting of the Parliament after passing condolence motion on the death of former lawmakers.