Monday, March 06, 2006

Constitution no bar for assembly polls : legal exports

Kathmandu, March 6 -Legal experts invariably deemed constituent assembly as only remedy to end the prevailing political deadlock.Speaking at a program organised by Reporters’ Club of Nepal in a capital, they highlighted on the indispensability of the restoration of parliament and, subsequently, constituent assembly. However, some prominent legal experts opined that the demand of constituent assembly under the prevailing circumstances is unrealistic. “ The stature of the current constitution permits neither the monarch nor the political parties to declare constituent assembly,” they argued.

During the program, the majority of the speakers demanded constituent assembly to give healthy outlets to present political anomalies of the country. “ To devise the necessary modus operandi of constituent assembly, all the major political stakeholders should immediately come up with their respective stance.

A former Justice of the Supreme Court, Laxman Prasad Aryal said that the 1990 Constitution does not bar people from going to an election to a constituent assembly if the sovereign people want to draft a new constitution.

"Those who have sovereign power can draft a new constitution," said Aryal. According to him, since the King promulgated the 1990 Constitution giving sovereign power to the people, this does not bar them from going to the constituent assembly.

Aryal, one of the drafters of the present Constitution, was reacting to the Nepal Bar Association's decision to support constituent assembly polls at the Reporters' Club on Sunday.
"There is nothing left since the King has already given power to the people," Aryal said. He added that the restoration of the House of Representatives would be a way to go to the constituent assembly elections. He said it was unconstitutional on the part of the King to head the Council of Ministers even after the Supreme Court verdict that scrapped the Royal Commission for Corruption Control, which was formed as per as per the monarch's order.

President of the Nepal Bar Association, Shambhu Thapa, said since the King has violated the 1990 Constitution, there is no other option than to draft a new constitution.

He also questioned why the King does not want to act with parliament. "If he wants to work without parliament, what would be different to work with parliament," he questioned.

Former Law Minister Nilambar Acharya said the present Constitution does not have any provision for an active monarchy. "The King should be ready to go to a constituent assembly," he added.

However, advocate Balkrishna Neupane said he would not support the NBA's decision to go for a constituent assembly polls. "NBA's decision does not have any legal base," he said, adding that the conference of the lawyers, which concluded yesterday, did not provide any room to ventilate different opinions during the sessions.

Politician Shreekanta Adhikary, who recently got King's audience, said constituent assembly is not a solution to any problem facing the country. He said it is not a major thing to remove the monarch from the post of Chairman of the Council of Ministers. "Unless we resolve the Maoist problem there will not be any difference even if the King gives back executive powers," he added.

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