Nepal | July 09, 2020

EDITORIAL: Fast-tracked

Share Now:

Fundamental rights are essential to safeguard interests of the people, so the state now must act for their full implementation

The Constitution of Nepal promulgated on September 20, 2015 provisioned that all legal provisions for the implementation of the fundamental rights must be put in place “within three years from the commencement” of the charter. This required the state to pass all the bills related to fundamental rights by September 19, 2018 (Wednesday). Just three days before the deadline, the National Assembly (NA) on Sunday endorsed 11 bills and the House of Representatives passed two bills. The NA had already passed four other bills related to fundamental rights. Articles 16-46 of the Constitution stipulate fundamental rights of citizens. According to Parliament Secretary Bharat Raj Gautam, the federal Parliament endorsed the bills related to fundamental rights through “fast-track process” to meet the deadline.

“Fast-track” in Nepal’s polity has become a norm, whereas it should have been an exception. After squabbling for years, Nepali political actors came together in 2015—after the devastating earthquake on April 25 that year—and reached a deal to “fast-track” constitution drafting. After seven long years, when political parties promulgated the constitution, there were some reservations from some sections of the society. The fast-tracking of the process also hugely cut short the time that was to be allocated for collecting feedbacks from the general public. That’s there; now the country, after elections, is in the constitution implementation phase.

Making legal provisions for the enjoyment of fundamental rights is a crucial part of the constitution implementation process. But political actors once again started squabbling after the country got its new charter. The game of musical chair continued until elections were held last year. It took almost six months after the elections to pass the parliamentary regulations, largely due to differences over the number of parliamentary committees and strength of Parliamentary Hearing Committee. Then some crucial bills, including Right to Privacy Bill, came under scrutiny for some draconian clauses they carried. According to sources, Prime Minister KP Oli, Nepal Communist Party Co-Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress President had reached an understanding to “fast-track” the passage of the bill “to meet the constitution deadline”. The federal Parliament then suspended some parliamentary rules to pave the way for the passage of the 16 bills, depriving lawmakers of enough time to debate in Parliament. Some lawmakers have rightly pointed at the flawed process, saying there is enough room to doubt that the contents would be implemented, as there was no adequate debate. This once again reflects the self-centric attitude of Nepal’s political actors—they are on one page when their interests converge and they squabble when their interests diverge. This hence puts the interests of the citizenry on the back burner. Contents of some of the bills did demand extended deliberations. Fundamental rights are essential to safeguard the interests of the people and they constitute the backbone of the nation. Now that the bills on fundamental rights, which are a binding, have been endorsed, the government, parliamentarians and political actors must act sincerely to implement them.


Unmet pledges

Forty-one months after the devastating earthquake in 2015, the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has now sought additional Rs 600 billion to complete the reconstruction works. NRA CEO Sushil Gyewali said on Sunday that a huge amount of money was required, especially to rehabilitate the quake-affected families in safer places. So far, the NRA has spent Rs 185 billion in the last three years. The government has allocated Rs 151.08 billion for reconstruction for this fiscal.

Gyewali has said his office would spend Rs 336 billion in this fiscal. The additional amount of money will be mobilised only after convening the second donors’ conference. The first donors’ conference held in June 2015 had estimated around Rs 938 billion to complete the reconstruction work. At that time, the donors had pledged Rs 410 billion. But the actual money they had pledged hovered somewhere near Rs 343 billion. The Ministry of Finance has so far signed agreements with the donors for the money to the tune of Rs 262 billion. It is high time that the donors also fulfilled their commitments. The NRA also should effectively utilise its resources to rehabilitate the displaced families.

 


A version of this article appears in print on September 18, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Making sure our four-legged friends are fed

KATHMANDU The lockdown came into effect in Nepal on March 24 to curb the spread of coronavirus confining people to their homes while schools, offices and businesses shut down. Nobody knew how the situation would unfold and for how long the lockdown would continue. At that moment Founder of Dis Read More...

China, coronavirus

Serious brain disorders in patients with mild Covid-19 symptoms, warn UK neurologists

KATHMANDU: UK neurologists have warned that serious and potentially deadly brain disorder might be triggered among patients with mild Covid-19 symptoms or recovering patients. Publishing the paper in the journal Brain on Wednesday, neurologists said that there was a rise in a life-threatening con Read More...

Rain-triggered flood cuts road section, inundates half-dozen houses in Saptari

RAJBIRAJ: Half a dozen houses have been inundated as rain-triggered flood gushed into a human settlement in Tilathi Koiladi Rural Municipality-3 of Saptari district. The flood has also destroyed paddy planted in approximately 100 bigaha of fields, it has been reported. Two thatched-roof ho Read More...

Trump administration informs United Nations of US withdrawal from WHO

KATHMANDU: Trump administration that has been critical of the World Health Organisation (WHO) over its handling of coronavirus pandemic has formally withdrawn the United States from the UN health body, on Tuesday. The United Nations confirmed that the US would leave WHO on July 6, 2021, following Read More...

China, US trade tit-for-tat visa curbs over Tibet

BEIJING/WASHINGTON:  China said on Wednesday it will impose visa restrictions on US citizens who have engaged in what it called "egregious" behaviour over Tibet, in apparent retaliation against US restrictions on Chinese officials. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday the United Sta Read More...

Serbian police say 23 held, 60 hurt in clashes

BELGRADE: Serbian police say 23 people have been detained and scores of police officers and demonstrators injured in clashes that erupted over announced return of lockdown measures against the new coronavirus. Police director Vladimir Rebic told the state RTS television that police are working to Read More...

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 11.89 million, death toll over 543,500

At least 11,891,395 people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 543,539 have died, a Reuters tally showed. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019. The Worl Read More...

West Indies must try to win inside four days: Lara

LONDON: Batting great Brian Lara has said West Indies' best chance of victory against England is to race out to an early lead and secure the win inside five days. All-rounder Jason Holder is part of the tourists' impressive bowling attack but questions remain about their batting ahead of the Read More...