Govt tables constitution amendment bill in House

Kathmandu,December 24, 2007

The government tabled a constitution amendment bill at the parliament today, seeking to overcome constitutional hurdles to declare Nepal a federal democratic republic and hold an election to the 601-member Constituent Assembly by mid-April.

Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bikram Nemwang presented the “Nepal’s Interim Constitution (3rd amendment) Bill 2007” for discussion, expressing the government’s commitment to hold the CA polls by mid-April. The government has sought amendment in Article 159, to replace “Provisions regarding the King” by “Provisions of the Head of the State.”

The bill is likely to be passed by the House when the interim parliament sits on Friday after clause-wise discussion, party leaders said. When approved by the House, Nepal will be a republic, to be implemented by the first meet of the CA. But a two-third majority of the existing members of the interim House can declare a republic even earlier if the King creates obstacles in holding the CA polls, according to a 23-point agreement among the seven party alliance yesterday evening. The government seeks to amend Article 33 (A) of the Interim statute.

The Article specifies that the “State will focus all its attention to conduct free and impartial election for the members of the CA within December 15.”

The amendment proposes to replace “December 15” with “mid-April 2008” in the interim constitution as the deadline for the CA polls.

Shivpuri scandal: PM, Sitaula, CoAS give committee the miss

Kathmandu, December 24, 2007

Though the parliamentary committee on Human Rights and Social Justice had invited PM Girija Prasad Koirala, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Chief of the Army Staff Rookmangud Katawal to clarify on the Shivpuri issue, they did not attend before the committee today.

The committee members have agreed to reschedule the meeting. Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Baman Prasad Neupane told the parliamentary committee on Human Rights and Social Justice today that the army is not accountable for any crime investigation and giving security and it is the duty of the police to provide security and investigate any crime committed anywhere.

Neupane was invited by the committee to answer about the role of the army as the Shivpuri area is under army’s jurisdiction. “The Army does not investigate any crime and it should not be held accountable for providing security,” Neupane added.

The NHRC today forwarded the evidences gathered for forensic lab test at the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology. “We have sent evidences for lab test to Nepal Academy of Science and Technology and Teaching Hospital,” said a member.