Nembang warns against delay


Constituent Assembly Chairman Subas Chandra Nembang on Monday cautioned about the risk of wasting the achievements of various movements if the new constitution is not promulgated by the next one month.

“If we cannot deliver the new statute by mid-August, we may have to face the fate of May 15, 2012; and the achievements could be lost,” Nembang said addressing a function organised by the Committee on Citizens/ Relations and Public Opinion Collection on the premises of the CA to discuss he first draft of the new constitution.

The first CA was dissolved in May 2012 without delivering the statute after some parties, namely the Unified CPN-Maoist, could not abide by the agreement reached among major political parties on disputed issues of the constitution.

Although the CA has not prepared a calendar of operation this time, it is working with the target of promulgating the new statute by August 17, Nembang said at the discussions attended by representatives of professional organisations and civil society.

Stating that the new constitution would be a document of consensus, Nembang said, “No side should stick its stance now for not being able to incorporate their issues. The new statute will provide place to amend or incorporate issues that cannot be incorporated now.”

Nembang requested the disgruntled groups to join the constitution drafting process and urged the leaders of political parties to utilise the remaining one-month time to settle the remaining issues of the constitution, including demarcation of the boundaries of the to be formed federal units.

Presenting a paper, President of Federation of Nepali Journalists Mahendra Bista said that many proviso clauses related to media and freedom of expression are objectionable and against democratic norms. He suggested that such provisions be corrected and the clauses that allow “limiting” the media by making laws should be removed.

Hari Krishna Karki, president of Nepal Bar Association, suggested treating the right to life and right to dignity in different ways under the provisions of fundamental rights. “Many provisions of fundamental rights have mentioned “in accordance with law”. It means we are going to weaken fundamental rights by transferring them to be managed by the laws, he said, adding, “Fundamental rights should fully be addressed by the constitution and cannot be transferred to the law.” He opined that office bearers of constitutional bodies should be reappointed after the new constitution is promulgated for appointments in the bodies must be made as per the new statute. Karki suggested increasing the number of Supreme Court justices from the proposed 15 as it is insufficient.

Commenting on the papers, CA members Bhim Rawal, Radheshyam Adhikari, Ram Narayan Bidari and Jitendra Narayan Dev said the new constitution was going to be progressive in comparison to past constitutions although there are many things that need to be amended and reviewed before preparing the final draft.

Senior Vice-Chair of Confederation of Nepalese Professionals Premal Khanal suggested that the statute should be labour-friendly.