Kathmandu, August 1
Except for the meeting of July 24, which discussed an urgent motion of public importance related to floods and landslides in the country, House of Representatives meetings have not been held properly since July 10.
The meetings of the House were either obstructed by the opposition or postponed with notices issued by the Parliament Secretariat.
Former Secretary General of the Parliament Surya Kiran Gurung told THT that if the lawmakers representing ruling and opposition parties didn’t want to run the house, they should not take any salary and allowance from the government’s treasury. “Lawmakers are elected by people to discuss their issues in the Parliament. But they are not holding meetings,” he said, adding that if they wanted to do this, why were they taking the benefits of being lawmakers.
If you look back, the last five meetings were obstructed by the opposition — Nepali Congress and Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal — jointly, whereas two meetings were postponed after Secretary General of Parliament Manohar Prasad Bhattarai issued notices on the direction from Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara.
Today’s meeting was also postponed by issuing notice. The next meeting is scheduled for August 5 as the all-party meeting failed to find consensus.
Last six HoR meetings
|August 1||Postponed by issuing notice|
|July 30||House proceedings obstructed|
|July 29||House proceedings obstructed|
|July 24||Motion of urgent public importance discussed|
|July 15||Postponed by issuing notice|
|July 10||House proceedings obstructed
The government doesn’t want to form a parliamentary panel to investigative two alleged cases of extra-judicial killings in Sarlahi district.
Sarlahi district in-charge of the Netra Bikram Chand-led group Kumar Paudel was killed in an alleged encounter with police on June 20; and Saroj Narayan Singh of Ishwarpur Municipality was killed in police firing in a protest on the East-West Highway on June 30.
Opposition parties insisted that a panel had to be formed because they were cases of human rights violation.
Opposition parties’ lawmakers were furious with the position taken by Speaker Mahara. Mahara had said during the July 10 meeting that he was positive about forming an investigation panel.
During that meeting, Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa also told lawmakers in the House there would be no problem if the Parliament formed an investigation panel. But later, upon direction of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) said they were not in favour of forming the parliamentary panel.
“Speaker didn’t keep his words,” said Bal Krishna Khand, Chief whip of the NC. He said the speaker should stand as a speaker of the House not as member of a political party.
NC Whip Puspa Bhusal and Chair of the RJP-N Raj Kishor Yadav said they were not going to stand down on the issue. “There will be no harm if the government forms the parliamentary probe panel because majority of members in the panel will be from the ruling party itself,” Bhusal said.
Yadav added that the ruling communist party had formed the government through democratic process, but was behaving like a communist regime.
Former prime minister and leader of Samajwadi Party-Nepal Baburam Bhattarai, whose party is a part of Oli’s government, said there would be no problem in forming the parliamentary panel. Deputy-parliamentary party leader of the NCP Subash Nembang told media that they needed more time to come to a conclusion regarding the issue.
According to the Parliament Secretariat, there are altogether 39 bills in the Parliament — 28 in the lower House and 11 in the upper HouseImportant bills including the Federal and Provincial Police Adjustment Bill are yet to be passed from the House.
Former secretary general of the Parliament Gurung said the ruling party should not think they will be in the government forever and the opposition parties should not think they will be in opposition forever. “The ruling and opposition parties should reach consensus. They should not waste time,” he added.
A version of this article appears in print on August 02, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.