Experts hold forth on constitution

KATHMANDU: Experts in various fields on Friday presented their view on the content of the new constitution at a meeting of the Constitutional Committee of the Constituent Assembly.

Human rights activist Krishna Pahadi asked political parties to uphold the dignity of the Parliament. “Frequent disturbances in the parliament will send a negative message to the people,” he said. “No one has the right to disturb the parliamentary proceedings.”

He sought a constitutional guarantee of 50 per cent representation of women and inclusiveness of marginalised groups in all state organs.

Pahadi said some people were misinterpreting the right to self-determination, suggesting that the UN Charter be consulted for its sense. He said global warming and climate change were serious and sensitive issues, requiring a mention in the preamble of the constitution.

Political analyst Shyam Shrestha urged leaders to note that the past constitutions had failed as they excluded the rights of the marginalised and the poor. He said the new constitution should narrow the gulf between the haves and have-nots. “The issue of inclusiveness should be addressed in terms of both class and caste.” Shrestha was of the view that the constitution should enshrine the politics of consensus rather than the rule of majority.

Advocate Lalit Bahadur Basnet said the constitution should uphold democratic norms and values. He said that the new constitution should be able to prevent autocracy. He also advocated for a constitutional guarantee of social justice, judicial independence and devolution of power.

Dhamendra Jha, president, Federation of Nepali Journalists, said the constitution should ensure press freedom. He urged parties to be serious about the timely promulgation of the constitution.