KATHMANDU, July 12
A group of civil society members on Sunday met President Ram Baran Yadav and drew his attention to the draft constitution saying it did not in comply with the spirit of the 12-point agreement, popular movement of 2006, Madhes uprising and the Interim Constitution.
The group led by Padma Ratna Tuladhar told the president that if the new constitution was framed without ensuring federalism, proportional representation, proportional inclusion, the statute could become a cause of future conflict, said Nepal’s former Ambassador to Denmark Vijay Kanta Karna.
The group said the draft constitution did not incorporate provisions that could help end discrimination against marginalsed communities.
Karna said the group told the president that as he was expected to play the role of a patron of the Interim Constitution he should make sure that the provisions of the Interim Constitution were not violated in the course of making the new constitution.
According to writer Ujjwal Prasain who was among the civil society members, the president told the group that there should be enough debate on the draft constitution both in the Constituent Assembly and outside. The president told the group that he had relayed his concerns to the chiefs of the four parties, and he would remind them again if required.
Former vice-president of Nepal Bar Association Surendra Kumar Mahato said the group also told the president that the first draft of the constitution had violated the Supreme Court’s recent interim order as it failed to incorporate provisions relating to federalism.
“The CA knew of the SC’s interim order, yet it did not resolve federalism issues in the draft constitution,” Mahato said, adding that the absence of federalism in the draft constitution would affect the constitution making process because the people would not be able to give their valuable feedback on federalism.
In response to a writ, the Supreme Court had issued an interim order on June 19 telling the defendant to ensure that this CA brings a complete constitution resolving all federalism related.
Karna said the president told the group that he had told the signatories of the 16-point deal that they should respect the Supreme Court’s Interim Order and bring a complete constitution resolving all issues, including federalism.
According to advocate Mahato, the president told the group that he had offered his suggestions to the leaders of the four political parties and he expected them to take his suggestions positively. “I wish to see a complete constitution like a healthy baby,” Mahato quoted the president as telling civil society members. The president wished to see a constitution that would address all stakeholders’ concerns, and contribute to harmonious relations among various castes and communities. Karna said the Interim Constitution stated that Madhesi, Janajatis, women and Dalits suffered discrimination for long and that should end. “A new constitution should try to end discrimination against those communities that the Interim Constitution says suffered for long,” Karna added.
A version of this article appears in print on July 13, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.