NCP chief whip opposes new bill

Kathmandu, January 13

Chief Whip of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Dev Prasad Gurung today opposed his own government’s bill in the House of Representatives saying it proposed to give too much power to the federal government at the cost of local and provincial representatives.

He was commenting on 12 provisions in the new bill the government had registered to amend and/or repeal 109 provisions of several acts.

Gurung told the House that 12 provisions of the bill proposed to have federal ministers, secretaries and joint-secretaries as representatives in boards and foundations ignoring the representation of the provincial and local governments.

“Proposing to centralise power of mechanisms in federal government and bureaucracy is against the constitutional spirit,” Gurung told the House. “The bill’s provision proposes to give maximum power to bureaucracy and reduce the roles of lawmakers and experts. If the bill is enacted into law without amendment, bureaucrats will run the government,” he warned.

He drew the government’s attention to the need to amend the bill’s provisions during panel discussion.

Responding to Gurung, Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal said the intention of the government was not to curtail the rights of provinces, adding that the bill’s shortcomings could be addressed during panel discussion.

“These provisions are meant for the transitional phase which can be amended when implementation process begins,” Dhakal said.

He said the government proposed to ensure representation of civil servants to reduce operational costs of the boards and foundations.   He said the bill was brought to ensure that laws were in conformity with the new constitution.

The government has to repeal or adjust laws that contradict the constitution by March 5.

Another ruling party lawmaker and chairperson of the Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee of the HoR  Krishna Bhakta Pokharel called for bringing the bills required to implement federalism, including bills on concurrent powers of the government. He said the government should also enact laws, as per Article 57(5) (related to concurrent powers), 59 (7) (laws related to fiscal discipline), Article 235 (umbrella laws), Article 279 (laws related to approval of treaties) and Article 291 (2) (laws related to foreign PR holder Nepalis).

“As per these constitutional provisions, those laws should also be enacted by March 5,” he said.

Nepal Workers and Peasants Party lawmaker Prem Suwal said the government should not bring bills that contradict the constitution.