Parliament passes Madhesi Commission Bill unanimously

Kathmandu, September 8

The Parliament today passed the Madhesi Commission Bill unanimously. Other two bills —  Tharu Commission Bill and Muslim Commission Bill — that were listed in the Parliamentary business schedule could not be passed due to lack of quorum.

In today’s meeting of the Parliament some lawmakers said the Election of the Lower House Members Bill contradicted constitution’s provisions relating to clusters for proportional representation. They said the omission of backward region from among clusters for proportional representation in the new bill contradicted Article 84 (2) and 176 (6) of the constitution. Those who raised the PR cluster issue were lawmakers Jivan Bahadur Shahi (Nepali Congress) Karna Bahadur Thapa (CPN-UML) Prem Bahadur Singh (Samajwadi Janata Party) and Mohan Baniya (UML).

Shahi said backward region was a cluster under the constitutional provision, and therefore, the newly passed bill should be amended immediately to incorporate backward region among the clusters for PR poll.

Lawmaker Thapa said backward region was treated as one of the clusters for PR election in two Constituent Assembly elections and this cluster was still being used for recruitment in Nepal Police and Nepali Army and hence it should not have been omitted from the new bill.

Thapa said if backward region was not incorporated in the newly passed bill, then that could lead to zero representation from the backward region of Karnali in the Parliament.

Lawmaker Singh said the newly passed bill only stated that the representation of six clusters — Dalit, indigenous nationalities, Khas Arya, Madhesi, Tharu and  Muslim — will be ensured   to the extent possible, but the  constitution had ensured representation of women, Dalit, indigenous nationalities, Khas Arya, Madhesi, Tharu, Muslim, backward region and minority community in proportion to their population.

He said the newly passed bill’s provision relating to three per cent vote threshold was against the constitutional provision. He said the new statute had copied the PR vote counting method from the Interim Constitution which fixed automatic vote threshold, and therefore, the three per cent vote threshold was against the constitutional provision. This bill became a law yesterday after President Bidhya Bhandari certified it.

Rastriya Janata Party Nepal lawmaker Akbal Ahmed Shah demanded explanation from CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal for visiting North Korea. He wanted to know why Nepal visited North Korea at a time when the United Nations Security Council was preparing to impose sanctions due to North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. “North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb after Nepal returned from North Korea,” the lawmaker said.

Lawmaker Ganga Chaudhari (Satgaunwa), who heads the Legislation Committee of the Parliament, said the major three parties were running their syndicate and they were trying to remove will system from the civil code bill which the Legislation Committee of the Parliament had unanimously passed. She said there was no need for dropping the will system. “Those who says only sons will benefit from will system are wrong,” she added.

The Parliament Secretariat removed Civil Code Bill from its business schedule.

UML Chief Whip Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal said the ruling parties and the UML continued to differ on the process to remove will system from the bill and therefore the issue was removed from the Parliamentary business schedule today.

“Top leaders of the Nepali Congress, the CPN-MC and the CPN-UML have agreed to remove will system from the Civil Code Bill.  We have almost 10 days to forge consensus on the process to be followed to remove will system from the bill. I hope the top leaders also agree on the process,” Dhakal said. The UML wants to send the Civil Code Bill again to the Legislation Committee to remove the will system from the bill, but the NC and the CPN-MC say that the Parliament can pass the bill without will system.