Debate on amendment bill deferred


The Parliament Secretariat removed the constitution amendment bill, which seeks to amend Schedule 3 of the constitution to include the revised map of Nepal in the Coat of Arms, from today’s business schedule.

The bill that seeks to include Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani as Nepal’s territories in the country’s map was removed from the House of Representatives’ business schedule as the main opposition Nepali Congress sought a few more days to take a formal call on the bill, said a source at the Parliament Secretariat.

Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota’s Press Secretary Shreedhar Neupane said the decision to remove the constitution amendment bill was taken to help parties forge consensus on issues of nationality.

Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal has demanded that the constitution should be amended not just to revise the country’s map, but also to address the concerns of Madhesis and Janajatis.

Nepali Congress said it would take a formal call on the issue through its Central Working Committee, which has not yet been scheduled.

NC Chief Whip Bal Krishna Khand told THT that he did not know when the bill was listed for today’s business and when it was removed from the list.

He said his party was steadfast on issues of nationality and democracy, but the government should not think of passing the constitution amendment bill just on the basis of two-thirds majority, as the bill that was linked to the country’s nationality and territorial integrity required national unity.

Khand said the government should forge consensus on the issue.

Asked how the NC viewed the JSP-N’s demand that the constitution should be amended to address their agenda also, not just the country’s emblem, Khand said it was both the government and the NC’s duty to help forge consensus on the issue. “The government should talk to the JSP-N, consider its genuine demands and try to take it on board the constitution amendment process,” said Khand.

JSP-N leader Rajendra Mahato said nationality did not just mean land but also people. He added that the government should also amend the constitution to address the rights and identity concerns raised by Madhesis, Janajatis and other marginalised communities. He said merely depicting Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani as Nepal’s territories on a map would not ensure return of those territories to Nepal. Mahato said if the government forged consensus on issues of nationality, it could go to the negotiating table with a morally high position.

“The government has to hold serious talks with India to reclaim our land. But both governments should understand that ties between Nepal and India were unique and deep at the people’s levels. Ties between the peoples of the two countries exist from time immemorial and nobody should impair these ties,” he said.

He added that the people of Nepal wanted to know how Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani that existed in Nepal’s map some decades ago vanished from the country’s map and which rulers were responsible for that.

A JSP-N source said his party would not vote in favour of the constitution amendment bill registered by the government if the constitution was not amended to address concerns of Madhesis, Janajatis and other marginalised groups.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 28, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.