Delineation of constituencies every 20 years illogical: MJF-Democratic

Kathmandu, July 28

Vice-chairman of Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic Jitendra Narayan Dev said Article 88 of the draft constitution should be rewritten to make population as the sole basis of the demarcation of election constituencies.

Talking to THT over the Madhesis’ concerns about the draft constitution, Dev, whose party is a signatory to the 16-point agreement, said drafters added the words ‘geography’ and ‘geographical balance’ after ‘population’ in Article 88 of the draft on the basis of which election constituencies would be determined.

He said the draft constitution’s provision that election constituencies should be demarcated every 20 years was illogical.

“Census takes place every 10 years so it is logical to demarcate election constituencies every 10 years,” he said.

People, he argued, migrate from the hills to the Tarai and if election constituencies are delineated every 20 years, hills will at least retain their constituencies, while the Tarai would not get extra seats that it might deserve.

He said federalism was ensured in the Interim Constitution through Madhes movement and not through people’s war or the popular movement of 2006 and therefore, Madhes movement should be mentioned in the Preamble.

Dev said if democratic, federal republican system was not stated in the unamendable provisions of the constitution, it would be a betrayal of the past movements.

Dev said he was optimistic that the boundaries of the federal units would be demarcated before the promulgation of the constitution but in case they failed to do that they would probably agree to extend the deadline of the CA.

On citizenship issue, Dev said he was not opposed to giving only the citizens by descent the prerogative to hold the post of the prime minister and the President but the list of the posts that the naturalised citizens and citizens by birth are barred from holding is unnecessarily long in Article 282. “This provision was reintroduced with ill-intention,” he added.

Dev said the drafters of the preliminary draft manipulated the words in Article 8 which states that Nepali would be the official language at the centre. “We had agreed to have Nepali as official language of communication at the centre, between centre and the states and between states. But in Article 8, the drafters manipulated the phrasing, saying states can choose additional languages besides Nepali as the languages of communication in their states. States should be free to choose their language of communication,” he said.

Commenting on row over religion, he said the state should neither give privilege to any particular religion nor should it remain secular.

Dev said Khas Arya was not a disadvantaged group and therefore it should be removed from Article 47 that ensures right to social justice.

Judicial Council, he added, needs to be a fully inclusive body in order to address the problems of judiciary.