EDITORIAL: Decks cleared

The amendment proposal of the three major parties has also sought to give more weight to the distribution of population than geography

Various political parties including the three major parties – Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist – registered as many as 56 amendment proposals on 1,300 issues related to the revised Bill of the new constitution till Saturday, the last date of registering the amendment proposals. The major political parties jointly registered 75 amendment proposals that are expected to get an endorsement by a two-thirds majority of the Constituent Assembly. None of the Madhes-based parties, including Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar-led Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic which was the part of the 16-point agreement paving the way for promulgating the new constitution, lodged any of the amendment proposals as they have boycotted the constitution-drafting process opposing the seven Pradesh model and delineations of their boundaries. The major parties had waited for the agitating parties to come for talks till the last moment. The three major parties have also registered an amendment proposal on forming a federal commission to demarcate the proposed Pradeshes. The proposed commission’s recommendations will be considered by the transformed Parliament within six months from the submission of the report.

READ ALSO: Three parties register joint proposal

Some of the prominent joint amendment proposals of the three major parties include forming a special Constitutional Bench within the Supreme Court, instead of the earlier-proposed Constitutional Court; formation of four additional constitutional commissions on indigenous nationalities, Madhesi, Tharu and Muslim with limited constitutional roles. These commissions will be reviewed in 10 years. The major parties seem to have considered the Supreme Court’s demand that a special Constitutional Bench be set up to look into the issues related to disputes between the federal government and Pradeshes and Pradeshes and Pradeshes over resources sharing and their jurisdictions. The major parties have also agreed to keep intact the term of “secularism” with its clear definition which means “protection of sanatan religion, culture and, religious and cultural freedom”.

Another important change sought by the major parties in the draft constitution is to grant the ceremonial president a constitutional right to mobilise the Nepali Army upon recommendation of the Council of Ministers. President Ram Baran Yadav had been lobbying for this right as the head of state and the supreme commander of the army. The joint amendment proposal of the three major parties has also sought to give more weight to the distribution of population than geography while delineating constituencies for the elections of federal parliament. This provision is expected to address one of the major concerns of the Madhes-based parties. One of the drawbacks of the joint amendment proposal is its complete silence on keeping a certain percentage of threshold required for the representation in Parliament under the Proportional Representation system. It is expected that the new constitution will be delivered by second or third week of September. The major parties have also left some space open to address the issues of Madhes-based parties, if they have any, as they have tasked the federal commission with recommending improvements to demarcations of the boundaries of the Pradeshses.

Fast ends finally

The medical sector is in doldrums and requires people like Dr. Govinda KC to agitate for reforms and make the profession accountable and transparent. Dr. KC finally ended his fast Sunday formally after an 11-point deal was signed between the doctor and the government late last night that included the implementation of the recommendations made by the Mathema report on improving medical education in the country. Dr KC had put forward an eight-point demand including the implementation of the Mathema Report on improving medical education.

The recommendations of the Mathema Report include the determination of student quotas to be admitted to the various medical colleges and putting a ceiling on the high tuition fee, and reaching medical education to the remote areas. However, some of his demands including putting a blanket ban on the opening of any new medical college for ten years, even those in the pipeline, irrespective of their fulfilment of all the criteria may well be called in question.

READ ALSO: Dr KC breaks fast-unto-death on 14th day