Monday, July 24, 2006

Ensure NRN's right to vote in elections of the CA: Lawyers

With non-resident Nepalis (NRN) demanding voting rights in the proposed election of the constituent assembly (CA), legal practitioners have also suggested the interim constitution drafting committee to ensure voting rights of the NRN.

Speaking at a programme in the capital on Sunday, Supreme Court Justice Anup Raj Sharma said that though the House of Representatives is legitimate as it is exercising the people's power, it should be dissolved once an interim constitution is drafted.

"The House's life should come to an end along with the formation of an interim constitution and an interim parliament," Sharma said.He was speaking at a programme, 'Inner Parts of the Interim Constitution,' organised by the Constitutional Lawyers' Forum.

He also said that there should be a constitutional court to resolve disputes related with elections to a Constituent Assembly."The House was reinstated through a political decision and not under the doctrine of necessity," Sharma said.

He added that the interim constitution should reflect the agreements between the seven-party alliance and the Maoists, as the document is basically a political one.

He further urged that the judiciary be made independent to protect the rights of the people.
"The 1990 Constitution had adopted the concepts of King in parliament and the constitutional monarch, but now the new constitution should come clear in this regard," he said.

He also urged the incorporation of the re-appointment process of judges and officials in the statute and termination of the jobs of those who have no faith in the democratic norms and values. "A judge who has no faith in democracy and the rights of the people has not right to remain in office," he said.

Constitutional lawyers have said that there should be a provision in the interim constitution that enables even Nepalis living abroad to enjoy rights to vote in the election of the constituent assembly.Constitutional expert Dr Surya Dhungel said the Maoists could be included in the interim parliament by either appointing them in the Upper House or appointing their Representatives from the all districts.

He said an interim parliament is needed alongside the interim constitution to make the peace process a success.

Presenting a working paper on the programme, general secretary of Constitutional Lawyers' Forum, Raju Prasad Chapagain, stressed the need of making some constitutional infrastructure to go for the election of the constituent assembly.

He said that the fate of monarchy should be determined before the election of the constituent assembly.

Presenting another paper, advocate Lalit Bahadur Basnet asked the interim constitution drafting committee to ensure independence of the judiciary in the interim constitution.

Similarly, central committee member of Nepal Bar Association, Tika Ram Bhattrai, stressed on forming an interim parliament incorporating Maoists to give continuity to the parliament to exercise people's sovereignty

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