SAC still undecided on His Majesty, Head of State issue

Kathmandu, September 1 :

The Parliamentary State Affairs Committee (SAC) today could not decide on whether to remove the terminology ‘His Majesty’ or replace it with the ‘Head of the State’ in a Bill on Approving Public Document.

Nepali Congress and Nepali Congress-Democratic (NC-D) leaders, including Dr Ram Saran Mahat, the Minister for Finance, proposed going with the ‘Head of the State,’ but leftist lawmakers including Gokarna Bista, Parashu Ram Meghi Gurung, Ishwor Pokhrel and Lila Mani Pokhrel strongly opposed it, demanding definition of the term, if it was to be used to replace the term His Majesty.

The Bill in Clause (2) has given the right to approve public documents to ‘His Majesty’.

The bill drafting committee and the Chief Secretary cited the Vienna Convention, according to which, the ‘Head of the State’ accepts the credentials of ambassadors and the Foreign Minister accepts the credentials of the charge de affairs.

Dr Mahat said: “The terminologies such as ‘His Majesty’s Order’ should not be used, but a state cannot be imagined without any Head of the State. King exists in some way according to the existing laws and the fate of the King will be decided by a Constituent Assembly.”

However, the MPs did not agree to go with the terminologies because there was no provision of Head of the State in the existing 1990 Constitution.

Parliamentarian Mahendra Pandey had sought the provision of the Head of the State in the Constitution to use it in law.

Stating that the King of Nepal remains “suspended” in this transition period, MPs stressed that the monarch should not be given any right just because there might emerge technical problems in the government’s functioning.

“Letting the King become the Head of the State would be against the mandate of the people’s movement,” said MP Lila Mani Pokhrel.

Udaya Nepali, a member of the law drafting committee, however, opined that the King still had “residual power” and he could act as the “Head of the State” until his fate is decided by the Constituent Assembly.

MPs Hom Nath Dahal and Ananda Dhungana and Amod Prasad Upadhaya said the government should function even in the transition period and since there is a question of approving public documents, there should be a Head of the State.