THT 10 years ago: Statute amendment bill, republic motion registered in House

Kathmandu, March 8, 2007

A bill to amend the Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007 was registered in the Legislature-Parliament Secretariat to abolish monarchy in the country and to declare it a republic.

The bill seeks incorporating a provision in the Interim Constitution to declare the country a republic after abolishing monarchy if the king creates hurdles to holding elections to the Constituent Assembly, goes against the spirit of the Interim Constitution and the spirit of Jana Andolan.

The non-government bill was registered in the parliamentary secretariat this afternoon by a group of left parties led by Nepal Communist Party (Maoists). Maoists MPs Janardan Sharma and Khim Lal Devkota, Jana Morcha Nepal’s MPs Lilamani Pokhrel and Kaman Singh Lama jointly registered the bill.

The bill wants to amend the Interim Constitution to abolish the monarch by two-thirds majority of the Parliament. These MPs want to affix a proviso in Clause 3 of Article 159 of the Interim Constitution, which said the king will stay powerless and the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly would decide whether to scrap the monarchy or to retain it.

The Clause 3 stated that notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in this Constitution, the simple majority in the first meeting of the Constitutional Assembly shall take decision about whether or not to give continuation to the monarchy.

Gurkhas to get same pension as UK colleagues

The House of Commons today announced that Gurkha soldiers who had joined the British army after July 1, 1997 would get pension equal to their British counterparts.

A Labour MP for Halton and the veteran’s minister MP Derek Twigg made the announcement in the Commons. Pensions for riflemen with 15 years’ experience will increase by five folds — from £1,200 to at least £6,600 while a solder serving in senior ranks will get more than £7,000 depending on the time they have served.

Padam Bahadur Gurung, president of Gurkha Army Ex-Servicemen’s Organisation (GAESO), termed it the victory of the Gurkha soldiers. However, he said the announcement was biased against the soldiers applying the cut-off date of July 1, 1997.

“The dedication and loyalty of Nepali soldiers to the British Crown has been unquestionable all through history, but the issues of the Gurkhas who joined before 1997 have been ignored,” he said.

According to him, this announcement will benefit about 600 soldiers, excluding 40,000 pensioners who retired before the cut-off date.