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Nepal: Republic Day, Maoists’ Convention, and Constitution

Nepal: Republic Day, Foreign Assistance, Maoists’ Convention, and Constitution

by Siddhi B Ranjitkar
May 14, 2014

The government and the concerned minister have been regretting that they could not avoid a serious flaw in the law double-checking the Bill on Truth and Reconciliation, and on Enforced Disappearances. Currently, more than 50 members of the CA are in the foreign visits leaving behind the mandate the voters had given them for crafting a new constitution. A division bench of the Supreme Court of Nepal ruled that the government should nominate 26 representatives from among the people not represented in the CA, and in no case from among the candidates that had lost the elections to the CA held in November 2013. The national convention of UCPN-Maoist held in Biratnagar had made public another dissident group presided over by Dr. Baburam Bhattarai. The government has issued a 14-point circular titled “Mobilization and Effective Use of Foreign Aid” for the effective mobilization and utilization of foreign assistance to all the concerned State agencies on Thursday, May 8, 2014 without considering the adverse impact of such regulations on the lives of the rural people. Finally, the government had set up a committee on celebrating the Seventh Republic Day.

Celebration of Republic Day
While speaking at the meeting of the Seventh Republic Day Celebration Main Organizing Committee on Monday, May 5, 2014, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said that the nation achieved democracy, inclusion and secularism with the sacrifice of the people. “We all Nepalese have duty to protect the achievements made by the People’s Movement 2005/06 (2062/063 BS).” Prime Minister made this remark while speaking to the Seventh Republic Day Celebration Main Organizing Committee at Singh Durbar. He instructed the Committee members to make full preparations for celebrating the Republic Day. “Nation has moved ahead and it will not return back. Nobody can stop nation from its development and prosperity. The forces, which want to stop change and progress, will be eradicated,” he said. “The future of the nation is bright if we become able to work with a positive thinking by forgetting the past differences,” PM Koirala said adding that the nation would usher into big change in the next 10 years. Home secretary Surya Silwal informed the meeting that the Seventh Republic Day Celebration Main Organizing Committee formed under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Koirala to celebrate the Day from May 27 to 29 with different programs. The first meeting of the previous Constituent Assembly held on May 28 had declared the nation as Republic. Similarly, publicity sub-committee presided over by Minister for Information and Communications Dr. Minendra Rijal was formed, stage decoration and program venue management sub-committee coordinated by executive officer of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Laxan Aryal, and ground, parade, badge and pendant management sub-committee coordinated by Kathmandu Chief District Officer Basanta Raj Gautam. (Source: gorkhapatraonline.com, May 6, 2014)

National Convention of UCPN-Maoist
The closed-door session of the UCPN-Maoist postponed for Monday, May 5, 2014 could not hold as well. Spokesperson for the Party Dinanath Sharma said the session was postponed again for Tuesday in a bid to find a consensus on the leadership in the party. The Sunday's closed session of the ongoing national convention of the UCPN-Maoist was postponed for Monday morning after senior leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai did not attend the session. Dr Bhattarai criticized the political dossier of Chairman Prachanda. He could not attend the Sunday session citing a health problem. Chairman Prachanda had earlier tabled a political document at the ongoing national convention. Leaders divided into 22 different groups floated their opinion on the political document. The organizing committee would select and present the names of 99 CC members for approval. The chances of holding polls to elect the CC were slim even though the young leaders had earlier demanded polls to elect the CC members. Earlier, the election committee had made preparations for holding polls for the election of the central committee members of the party following the pressure of the youth leaders to select central members through election and not through a consensus of the party leadership. Following the party statute, 74 will be directly elected while the rest 24 will be nominated to the 99-member CC. Top leaders of the UCPN-Maoist had expressed their strong reservation about the names of central committee members proposed by party Chairman Prachanda on Monday, May 5, 2014. Senior leaders such as Dr Baburam Bhattarai, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, and Post Bahadur Bogati among others objected to the list of the names of the CC members proposed by Chairman Prachanda. Earlier, Chairman Prachanda proposed the names of 99 party leaders for the new CC members during the meeting of central organizing committee. (Source: gorkhapatraonline.com, May 6, 2014)

The closed session of the UCPN-Maoist national convention in Biratnagar could not resume even on Monday, May 5, 2014, as the party’s prominent leaders continued differing from major political issues. The closed session was supposed to begin early in the morning, and senior leaders such as Dr Baburam Bhattarai and Narayan Kaji Shrestha were to address it. The crux of the problem was of the selection of the new leadership. Youth leaders were favoring the election to the central leadership while senior leaders were for the nomination of the leadership. Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda agreed on an election but he was for an open election by raising hands instead of secret balloting. Chairman Prachanda said secret balloting was not necessary for the party’s internal election at this stage. Senior leader Dr Bhattarai was not happy with the view of Chairman Prachanda and was preparing to come back to Kathmandu without completing the convention. On Sunday, too, Dr Bhattarai left the convention in the halfway. (Source: nepalnews.com, May 6, 2014)

After rounds of closed-door meetings failed to select central committee members of the UCPN-Maoist in Biratnagar, participants at the national convention of the party had been demanding the elections to the leadership on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Carrying placards with the message: “We want elections, select members through polls”, representatives were shouting slogans at the closed session hall while top leaders were trying to build a consensus on the leadership at a meeting in a hotel. The party failed to select leadership despite rounds of meetings of the national convention organizing committee comprising bigwigs of the party and that of central office. Meanwhile, participants in the convention launched a signature campaign on the convention premises demanding polls. Some 1,004 representatives were participating in the political gala of the main opposition party. (Source:myrepublica.com, May 6, 2014)

Talking to the reporters at Biratnagar on the morning of May 7, 2014, Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda said that the party's national convention concluded in Biratnagar on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 helped rebuild and strengthen the party. He also said that unanimously endorsing the party's document and amending the party statute, the general convention strengthened the party. Chairman Prachanda said that he would bring party leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai on board the central working committee, as the committee would be incomplete without him. "The number of central members of the party has been proposed to 99 from 269 as per Dr Bhattarai's consent," he said adding that he was working to assign a responsible office to Dr Bhattarai and not trying to sideline him. Chairman of UCPN-Maoist said that he would hold discussions with Dr Bhattarai immediately after returning to Kathmandu in a bid to bringing him and other leaders on the central working committee of the party as Dr Bhattarai had been actively working to providing the party a new dynamism making it stronger. Responding to a query, he said that he started the initiatives for uniting the communist forces including the CPN-Maoist. He stressed the need for forming a front of all the leftist forces and the pro-change forces for formulating a constitution with identity in one year for maintaining durable peace in the country. (Source: gorkhapatraonline.com, May 8, 2014)

Dr Baburam Bhattarai along with his spouse Hisila Yemi, and the daughter flew to Tibet for allegedly a pleasure trip on May 7, 2014. He returned from Biratnagar to Kathmandu skipping the concluding event of the national convention of UCPN-Maoist. According to the Radio Nepal morning news of May 8, 2014, a mid level Chinese leader came from Beijing to meet Dr Bhattarai. He was supposed to visit Mansarovar Lake in Tibet. On May 7, 2014, chairman of CPN-UML left Kathmandu for China visit following the invitation. Chairman of CA Subhas Nemwang had been concerned with the leaders visiting foreign countries whereas the need was for them to work on crafting a new constitution. So, Chairman Nemwang was calling on the foreign diplomatic missions in Kathmandu not to make any arrangement for any Nepalese political leaders to visit their respective country. He also said that the leaders should not even go out of Kathmandu until the work on a new constitution was done. Dr. Baburam Bhattarai was the elected Chairman of the Constitutional-political Dialogue and Consensus-Building Committee. (Source: Various news clippings aired by the Radio Nepal morning program on May 9, 2014)

Foreign Assistance and Investment
Briefly talking to the reporters after the meeting with Prime Minister Sushil Koirala at the PM’s office on the morning of May 8, 2014, Japanese Vice Minister Seiji Kihara said that they discussed the progress in constitution writing and consolidation of democracy. He reaffirmed Japanese assistance for both the sectors. Thus, visiting Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Kihara pledged continued support for development in Nepal. He said that they also discussed the contemporary political situation in Nepal, and relations between two countries and various issues of mutual interests among others. Chief of the Northeast Asia Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambika Devi Luintel told RSS that the duo held discussion on the Japanese support for the socio-economic development in Nepal and for the ongoing construction in the Sindhuli-Bardibas road section, and the role of Japan in the infrastructure development among others. On the occasion, Vice-Minister Kihara said that Japan was going to file its candidacy to the position of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council next year and urged Nepal to help Japan get elected, said Luintel. Vice-Minister Kihara also expressed commitment that Japan would provide maximum support for making the upcoming ‘Eighteenth SAARC Summit’ successful. Similarly, Prime Minister Koirala said that the government has moved ahead with a concrete plan to take the country ahead on the path of the socio-economic development. He also expressed the view that Japanese support was necessary to prepare basic structure including foreign investment and technologies for the same. Prime Minister Koirala said that the government has given high priority to the development construction programs and added that the support of international community was indispensable for it, said Luintel quoting the Prime Minister as saying. He thanked the Japanese government and people of Japan for the continuous support for development in Nepal. (Source: RSS news on gorkhapatraonline.com, May 8, 2014)

The Government of Kingdom of Norway agreed to provide financial assistance of Norwegian Kroner 55 Million (about 962 Million Nepalese Rupees) to the Government of Nepal for the implementation of Local Governance and Community Development Program-II (LGCD-II). Following the JGFA signed on September 26, 2013, a bilateral agreement to this effect was signed between the Government of Nepal and Government of Kingdom of Norway at the Finance Ministry on May 8, 2014. Finance Secretary Yuba Raj Bhusal, and Kjell Tormod Pettersen, Ambassador of Norway signed off the agreement on behalf of their respective Government. The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development would implement the program through the local offices of the sector ministries and the Local Agencies of the Government of Nepal effective from 16 July 2013 to 15 July 2017. The total cost of the project is US$ 1362 Million. Development partners including Norway will provide US$ 236 Million. The objectives of this Local Governance and Community Development Program-II (LGCDP-II) are to improve local governance for effective service delivery, local development and empowerment of citizens through the investment in the sectors such as Local Government Restructuring, Federal Governance, Fiscal Decentralization, Fiduciary Risk Reduction, Result Based Management, Capacity Development, Social Mobilization, Child Friendly Local Governance, Gender Equality and Social Inclusion, Livelihood Improvement Schemes, etc. It covers all the 75 districts, 58 Municipalities and 3,915 Village Development Committee areas. After the implementation of this project, citizens and communities will hold their local governance administration accountable, and local bodies will be more responsive to citizens' demand. (Source: RSS news ongorkhapatraonline.com, May 8, 2014)

The government has issued a 14-point circular titled “Mobilization and Effective Use of Foreign Aid” for the effective mobilization and utilization of foreign aid to all the concerned State agencies on Thursday, May 8, 2014, according to the RSS news on nepalnews.com. It has also instructed the concerned agencies to follow the circular in letter and spirit.

The government issued this circular taking seriously the topics presented during four separate talks and consultations held with the group of executive directors and the vice president of the World Bank and the executive directors' group and the director general of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The talks were held under the leadership of the Chief Secretary.

Following the circular, foreign assistance should be accepted for income-oriented, and medium and large infrastructure projects such as power generation projects, road and airport projects that provide direct employments, doing away with the tendency of taking foreign assistance for all sorts of projects causing the scattering of the means and resources of the assistance in geographical regions or small projects.

The terms and conditions for the acceptance of foreign assistance for certain projects have been formulated in view of the means and resources getting scattered, increased cost of monitoring, supervision and evaluation, non-uniformity in quality, spending of means and resources on reports and records, and overspending on consultants when foreign assistance was taken or given to for small projects or programs.

The government also has directed through the circular to remove the provision for hiring international consultants except for projects such as construction of high dams, tunnels and modern airports etc requiring complicated, technical and high skills and knowledge.

The circular stated that the concerned ministry should use its own human resources for implementing the projects, and in case Nepali consultants needed to be hired to do so in small number and for a short period only.

The government also issued directives to the concerned agencies to remove the provision for foreign study tours, visits and training to be paid by the foreign assistance, and to completely scrap the provision for foreign study visits or training to be paid by the contractors or consultants from the contract or consultancy services agreements.

The government also decided not to send anyone on study visit or training abroad at the project's expenses except for those appointed by the government and nominated by a decision of the Council of Ministers.

The government also issued directives to the concerned agencies not to purchase expensive and luxurious vehicles, machines, equipment, computers, photocopy and fax machines and furniture, except for the indispensable to the projects or urgently required for achieving the expected outcome of the project. The circular called for removing the provision for having a deluxe office.

The government also issued circulars to all the concerned agencies not to have the provision for requiring prior approval or agreement by delegating all the powers and authority to the project chief for the implementation of any project on a trial basis.

The circular also required the making of the domestic or foreign advisors and consultants hired in course of implementing the projects responsible for completing work as scheduled, at the cost and quality, and asking for the compensation for the loss from those advisors and consultants unable to do so.

The government also asked the concerned agencies to keep the provision for filing cases against advisors and consultants for compensation up to a certain period even after the completion of the project in case of damages done to the government due to serious professional error or negligence.

The circular suggested that the projects implemented for enhancing the skill of the officials at any ministry should ensure the lasting structure and the maintenance of the organizations after the completion of the projects.

The circular stated that the government forwarded the necessary process to manage the advance budget provided for the mobilization expenses through banks but such an advance amount should not exceed five percent of any project.

The advance budget should be provided to the contractor company or the organization once they supplied the raw materials equal to the advance amount. The companies need to pay 10 percent interest on the advance amount in case of time overrun of any project.

The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers directed all the ministries, secretariats, and the government agencies to amend the Public Procurement Act (PPA) and other laws consulting the banks, and follow the amended act rather than only following the guidelines of the Asian Development Bank and World Bank.

The circular stressed to pay due attention to the above mentioned terms and conditions for the effective utilization of the foreign assistance as the concerned authorities and the government discussed such issues and that they had no objection to them, thereby, the government directed to enforce the circular in letter and spirit.

The circular signed off by Chief Secretary Lila Mani Poudyal directed to pay special attention to at a time of talks and while signing the agreements for foreign assistance, and follow the Article 3 (10) of the Good Governance Act of 2007 (2064) for the correct mobilization and use of foreign assistance.

Chief Secretary Poudyal directed the government agencies to keep the records of whether the officials have followed the circular 'Mobilization and Effective Use of the Foreign Aid ' in letter and spirit or not, and submit it within the 15 days after the end of every fiscal year. (Source: RSS news on nepalnews.com, May 9, 2014)

The second-phase Western Nepal Rural Drinking Water and Sanitation Project of Rs 150 million funded by the Government of Finland and implemented through the Myagdi District Development Committee was launched to increase the access of Myagdi folks to drinking water and sanitation. The project would run until 2017 (2074 BS). The project was to build drinking water systems at six VDC areas, to declare 'open defecation free zone' for cleanliness at all 41 VDCs, and to implement programs related to behavior change. Local Development Officer Bishnu Prasad Sharma said that the project was constructing drinking water systems at Muna, Bim, Marang, Jyamarukkot, Okharbot and Pakhapani VDCs for providing pure drinking water. (Source: RSS news ongorkhapatraonline.com, May 9, 2014)

Prime Minister and the Norwegian delegation held talks on investments in the hydropower sector at the Prime Minister's residence at Baluwatar on May 9, 2014. The Norwegian delegation led by Tima Lyer Utne senior vice-president of the Norwegian International Hydropower Sector looking after southeast portfolio said to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala for the possibility of investing in Nepal, as Nepal has the immense possibilities of producing energy, however, an environment conducive to investment has to be created, yet. Prime Minister Koirala, however, urged the Norwegian delegation for investment without any fear about the investment environment, as the country was moving to peace and stability following the second Constituent Assembly elections. (Source: RSS news ongorkhapatraonline.com, May 9, 2014)

Constitution Drafting
The Constitution Drafting Committee presided over by Chairman Krishna Prasad Sitaula held discussions with two noted constitutional experts such as Bhimarjun Acharya and Bipin Adhikari on the issues of a new constitution on May 8, 2014. Making a presentation at the CA panel presided over by Chairman Sitaula, Advocate Acharya said a new constitution would be framed this time as work on the new CA was moving ahead following the CA calendar of operation. “In the first CA, even the election of CA committees’ chairpersons could not be held in time. This time, chairpersons were elected in time,” he said. Acharya, however, said that the new CA needed to learn five lessons if it were to deliver a new constitution. The five lessons for the CA members were: 1) Constitution is a document of compromise, 2) it cannot resolve all problems, 3) it cannot foresee future problems and 4) it should be short and 5) precise. Acharya said no constitution in the world was promulgated following the unanimous vote; therefore, CA members in Nepal should not worry about all the stakeholders’ agreement on a constitution. “The CA’s efforts should be on having the consent of maximum number of members, not necessarily all members,” he argued. Another advocate Bipin Adhikari highlighted the constitution drafting process of the United States of America, France, Russia, India, Israel, South Africa and Japan. He said the most important procedure for writing a new constitution was to have a systemic approach. “There should not be a haphazard mix of various political systems in a constitution. We are free to choose either the presidential, parliamentary or mixed model of governance, but there should not be cocktail features of all the systems,” he argued. Adhikari said the CA must ensure democracy in a new constitution. Constitution Drafting Committee member also Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said that the constitution was an operative document not an expression of interest. “There should only be enforceable provisions,” he added. Committee member Yubraj Gyawali said the constitution could ensure democracy in the real sense only if it ensured economic equality. (Source: HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE, Thehimalayantimes.com, May 9, 2014)

Speaking at the program held to welcome new entrants in the party in Janakpurdham on May 9, 2014, Chairman of Terai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP) Mahantha Thakur said that a new statute would not be acceptable to them if it was promulgated neglecting the Madhes and Madhesi people. He said that his party would protest if a new statute were not to include the feelings of Madhesi people. Discrimination against the Madhesi people had continued and it would not end unless Madhesi people would get equal status, Thakur said. Senior vice chairman of the party Hridayesh Tripathi said local bodies' election would be meaningless unless these bodies were made inclusive. More than 100 people including former energy minister Umakanta Jha from other political parties joined the TMLP. (Source: RSS news on gorkhapatraonline.com, May 9, 2014)

Prime Minister Sushil Koirala urged top leaders of the CPN-Maoist to maintain what he called a ‘hotline’ with him so that they could discuss serious issues as and when they emerged. PM Koirala made this request at a recent meeting with Chairman of CPN-Maoist Mohan Vaidhya and Secretary Dev Gurung. According to Secretary Gurung, PM Koirala wanted to know whether the Conflict Resolution Committee within the Constituent Assembly could help resolve the issues of the CPN-Maoist concerning the constitution drafting. Secretary Gurung said, “Chairman Vaidhya informed PM that they are not interested in anything that the CA does.” Citing an all-party conference held during the drafting of the Interim Constitution four years ago, CPN-Maoist leaders said the same approach should be emulated to resolve the current crisis. “We have told PM that an all-party conference can be helpful in resolving the existing crisis,” he said. “PM Koirala, however, said the forces inside the CA may not accept such activities outside CA,” said Secretary Gurung. (Source: HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE, thehimalayantimes.com, May 10, 2014)

A subcommittee of the Constitutional Record, Study and Determination Committee sorted out the judiciary related issues: some of which were agreed and others debated in the last Constituent Assembly. The subcommittee presided over by Min Bahadur Bishwokarma sorted out 20 issues, which were debated at the past CA. These issues were submitted to the Constitutional Record, Study and Determination Committee on Friday, May 9, 2014, as the previous CA had agreed on these issues while disagreed ones would be sent to the Political Dialogue Committee, said Bishwokarma. Previously, the political parties had disagreed on 'the rights relating to justice could be exercised based on constitution and other laws and principles of justice and through the court and judicial body.' The parties this time agreed in principles on the concept of independent and accountable justice. Other agreed issues were federal Supreme Court, high court in state/province, and district and local courts. The political parties agreed on setting up a military special court to hear the appeals on the decision of the military court. (Source: RSS news on gorkhapatraonline.com, May 11, 2014)

A sub-committee formed by the Constitutional Record Study and Determination Committee to study reports on the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles and the Judiciary submitted its report to the full committee for further discussion. One disputed issue the sub-committee identified was the federal Supreme Court’s right to interpret the constitution except for the issues related to “posts of national importance and powers and political matters”. Head of state, head of government and chief of legislature are posts of national importance. The UCPN-Maoist came up with this proposal after it felt that the apex court had been meddling with powers vested in the legislature and the executive. The sub-committee report also presented procedures for appointing federal SC Justices as one of the disputed issues. According to this provision, the Head of State will have the right to appoint the federal SC Justice and judges if they are recommended by the Parliamentary Special Judicial Committee and endorsed by majority members of Parliament. Another disputed issue is the tenure of the chief justice of the federal Supreme Court. A person recommended as the chief justice of the federal Supreme Court should be able to serve for at least two years. Under the existing provision, the senior most Supreme Court Justice is appointed as Chief Justice even if he/she has a few months’ time before retirement. Even the jurisdiction of the federal Supreme Court is disputed. Some CA members had proposed to put disputes between federal government and Pradesh government, disputes between Pradeshes, disputes between constitutional bodies, issues of national security, monetary issues, and foreign affairs under the jurisdiction of the federal Supreme Court. The sub-committee has also identified appointment of State/Pradesh Supreme Court or High Court judges as disputed. The Pradesh governor should appoint such judges if they were recommended by Pradesh Special Judicial Committee and endorsed by majority members of Pradesh Assemblies. Proposal to depute Chief Judges and judges of Pradeshes’ Supreme Court or High Courts to non-judicial jobs also remains a disputed issue. The appointment process of district and local judges also remains a disputed issue. These are some major disputes related to the judiciary. The Constitutional Record Study and Determination Committee would hold general discussions on May 11, 2014, and decide to forward it to the CA full House for further discussions. According to the CA Rules, all disputed constitutional issues should be forwarded to the Constitutional Dialogue and Consensus-building Committee in order to sort them out. A CA meeting has been called on May 13, 2014 to discuss all the reports to be tabled by the Constitutional Record Study and Determination Committee.

Contested matters
• Federal Supreme Court’s right to interpret the constitution
• Procedures for appointing federal SC Justices
• Tenure of SC chief justice
• Jurisdiction of Supreme Court
• Appointment of judges
• Deputation of judges to non-judiciary posts

(Source: HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE, thehimalayantimes.com, May 11, 2014)

On Monday, May 12, 2014, hearing on the public interest litigation filed by Dalit Janajati Party Chairman and lawmaker Bishwendra Paswan, a division bench of justices such as Ram Kumar Shah and Kalyan Shrestha of the Supreme Court of Nepal ruled that the government should appoint the nonpartisan prominent people representing the unrepresented indigenous ethnic people to the 26 vacant slots in the constituent assembly within 15 days with justification. The ruling said that in no case, the government should nominate the candidates lost in the elections to the CA held in November 2013. The ruling also said that the government should make an arrangement of separate seats for the 26 people appointed by the government in the CA. The Article 63 (3) (c) of the Interim Constitution of Nepal 2063 states that twenty six members to be nominated by the Council of Ministers, on the basis of understanding, from amongst the prominent persons who have rendered outstanding contributions to national life, and the indigenous peoples which could not be represented through the elections as referred to in Clauses (a) and (b). (Source: gorkhapatra, May 13, 2014)

More than 50 lawmakers are currently visiting foreign countries ignoring the call of the CA not to do so until the promulgation of a new constitution. Chairman of CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal is in China, and UCPN-Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai is in Tibet. Bhattarai informed the CA Secretariat; Khanal did not. Bhattarai presides over the Constitutional-Political Dialogue and Consensus-building Committee. Two other lawmakers such as Garima Shah and Satrughna Mahato accompanied Khanal while Bhattarai took only his family members. A group of nine lawmakers belonging to the ruling NC are scheduled to visit the northern neighbor China for 10 days starting on May 21, 2014. Though the lawmakers haven’t informed the chairman of the CA about their plan, the NC head office faxed a copy of the details to the parliament secretariat on Friday, May 9, 2014. The letter stated that they were invited by the international department of the Communist Party of China to observe the economic and industrial development in China. CA members such as Dhanraj Gurung of NC and Rabindra Adhikari of CPN-UML are currently in Bahrain to attend a two-day function organized by a chapter of Nepali non-resident community there. "Though we are informally told from various channels that over 50 lawmakers are outside the country, we have no formal information in this connection because they haven’t informed the secretariat about their visits," said a source at the secretariat. Lawmakers needed to inform the chairman in writing in advance if they were to remain absent in the meetings of CA or parliament. They also could give such information afterward. "The regulation has a liberal provision because one can’t imagine that lawmakers can act irresponsibly," said an official. (Source:myrepublica.com, May 11, 2014)

A serious flaw has been in the Bill on Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission on Inquiry on Disappearances. The president has put his seal of assent on it. It has been the Act. The Act states that the government shall nominate a former chief justice as the chairman of a committee to be formed for recommending the names for nominating to TRC and CID. This provision contradicts the Article 106 (2) of the Interim Constitution, which prohibits nomination of former chief justices or Supreme Court justices to any government position. “We failed to pay proper attention to the provision, as there was already a precedent of government forming a commission led by former Supreme Court judge Prem Sharma to investigate the murder of justice Rana Bahadur Bam. We are now studying whether to amend the Act to make it compatible with the constitutional provision,” said Minister for Law, Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs Narahari Acharya to “The Himalayan Times”, stopping short of telling whether it is possible to leave the provision as it is, which clearly is against the constitutional provision.
(Source: thehimalayantimes.com, May 12, 2014)

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