KATHMANDU, AUGUST 11
National Assembly member Ram Narayan Bidari, who is also a senior advocate, said the Parliament was not required to approve the Millennium Challenge Corporation compact signed between Nepal and the Unites States of America.
He said as per Article 279 of the constitution, only issues related to peace and friendship, defence and strategic alliance, boundaries of Nepal, and natural resources and their distribution required parliamentary approval.
"Since the $500 million MCC compact is not related to any of these, it should not be ratified by the Parliament. Moreover, there is no reason to oppose MCC compact," he said.
He added that Nepal received assistance worth billions of rupees from the USA in the past and there was no provision for parliamentary ratification of those documents.
He said former prime minister KP Sharma Oli, who sought answers from Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on the fate of MCC compact, must clarify why he submitted the document to the Parliament for approval.
The US Embassy in Nepal had said in June last year that parliamentary ratification of MCC project was the next step needed to proceed with the grant. Nepal had committed to ratifying it by 2019.
MCC Nepal states on its website that in Nepal, as in all other MCC compact countries, the compact must have the status of an international agreement and shall prevail over domestic laws in case of conflict in its execution.
Another NA member, Radhe Shyam Adhikari, who is also a senior advocate, said since parliamentary approval was a condition of the MCC agreement, Nepal had the option of getting that condition removed from the agreement with the consent of the American side, getting the MCC compact ratified by the Parliament, or forgoing the $500 million grant assistance. He said the MCC agreement did not have any provision that could be considered prejudicial to Nepal's interests.
Retired professor of international law, Yadav Kumar KC, said the US government itself wanted the MCC compact to be approved by the Parliament.
As per Section 9 of the Treaty Act, any international treaty or agreement that has been ratified by the Parliament will prevail over domestic laws in case any provision of such a treaty or agreement comes into conflict with domestic laws, KC said.
He said if any treaty or international agreement is not ratified by the Parliament, then that treaty or agreement cannot apply in Nepal as a domestic law.
A version of this article appears in the print on August 12 2021, of The Himalayan Times.