Four parties defend 16-point agreement

KATHMANDU: The signatory parties of the 16 point agreement — Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, UCPN-Maoist and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic — issued a joint statement today saying that the constitution making process would continuously move ahead.

These parties held an urgent meeting after the Supreme Court issued an interim order against the implementation of the 16-point agreement and issued the statement.

The four parties said they wanted to assure everyone that the 16-point agreement was a very important document as far as the constitution making process was concerned, and therefore, the constitution making process would continuously move ahead as per the same agreement.

“We want to reiterate that we will continue with the constitution making process so as to complete the draft of the constitution and promulgate it in a short period,” read the statement.

Our serious attention has been drawn to a Supreme Court order passed by a single bench at a time when the constitution drafting process is entering a crucial juncture as a result of long discussion and political agreement which has injected a feeling of exuberance and confidence among the public about promulgation of the constitution,” read the statement.

These parties stated that the SC’s interim order was against the sovereign right of the people to frame their constitution through the CA, principle of separation of power and the prerogatives of the CA given by the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007.

“The CA is an independent and capable body as far as the making of the constitution is concerned, and its decision in this matter will be final. It is the sovereign right of the CA to decide what kind of constitution it wants to make and when. Nobody can challenge this fact in any manner,” the four parties said in their joint statement.

NC Vice-president Ramchandra Paudel, UML Acting Chair Bam Dev Gautam, Chair of UCPN-M Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Chair of MJF-D Bijay Kumar Gachhadar jointly issued the statement after a meeting held at Baluwatar.

Hitraj Pande of UCPN-Maoist, member of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) task force, said all the task force members had been working to complete their tasks on time. “The CDC won’t discontinue their task until it completes the draft of the new constitution,” Pande said. He, however, said the issue of Supreme Court’s stay order was not discussed during today’s meeting of the task force.

Meanwhile, Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Chair Mahantha Thakur issued a press release saying the SC’s interim order had protected the preamble and spirit of the Interim Constitution.

SP Chair Rajendra Mahato told THT that the passing of the interim order by the apex court intended to protect the preamble of the Interim constitution that talks of protecting the people’s right secured through movements. He said the court’s order was also a setback for the four parties, who were showing arrogance on the basis of their numerical strength.

Senior leader of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Ashok Kumar Rai hailed the decision saying they had been opposing the 16-point agreement for violating the Interim Constitution and had also informed the President about the same. This stay order of the Supreme Court has proved how autocratic the major parties are, he added.