Sunday, August 27, 2006

ICDC submits interim constitution

The Interim Constitution Drafting Committee (ICDC) finally submitted the interim constitution to the peace talks team after 68 days it was formed on Friday evening.

The 76-page draft was handed over to government talks team leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Maoist talks team Krishna Bahadur Mahara amidst a ceremony organized at ICDC office inside the peace secretariat Singh Durbar. Members of both the talks team attended the function.

However, the draft remains incomplete due to differences among the parties and the Maoists on major political issues. The major differences remain on the position of the king in the constitution. The members of the panel decided to keep the king without any power but they are silent regarding status of queen, crown prince and other royal family members.

It has been stated that t he king's position will be decided either by the constituent assembly or by a referendum.

Speaking at the constitution hand over ceremony, coordinator of draft team Laxma Prasad Aryal said this constitution has been prepared only for the transitional period.

The preamble states that this constitution would remain in force until a legislative body or constituent assembly promulgates new constitution of the state. It also said that the constitution would institutionalize the achievement of the people's revolution against the tyranny.

The committee discussed on the draft till last minute to reach a consensus but differences among the members also hindered finalization of some political issues.

The authority conferred by article 122 of the 1990 statute to the king to grant pardon and commute or remit sentences imposed by all courts and to appoint ambassadors and to receive credentials from ambassadors has been scraped. The talks team or head of the eight parties will finalize the issue who should appoint or receive credential of the ambassadors.

There are 26 parts and 172 articles in the new statute against 23 parts and 133 articles in the 1990 constitution.

The committee members agreed to leave the issue interim legislature to be decided on the basis of consensus between the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and the Maoist but adopted mixed election system to elect the CA members.
The statute is being prepared on the basis of the 12-point understanding, 8-point agreement and declaration of the House of Representatives of May 18.

The right to employment, right to education and right to medicare have been added as fundamental human rights of every citizens. Likewise, Part 4 contains the responsibility of the state.

The interim constitution also has the provision for the reappointment of the judges and the heads and members of the constitutional bodies. Chief justice Dilip Kumar Poudel had opposed the idea and urged that the justices should be allowed to complete their tenure. Similarly, National Human Rights Commission has been given the status of constitutional body.

Part 8 has provision for constituent assembly and there will be a constituent assembly court under Supreme Court. It will have three members of the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, expressing dissatisfaction on the new draft, UML affiliate member of the ICDC Chhatra Kumari Ghale has submitted a separate draft to the talks team.

The committee led by former Supreme Court Justice Aryal was instituted on June 16 during the first summit talks between the SPA and the Maoists. The committee was given 15 days but due to lack of consensus among the parties on major political issue, the committee could not complete the draft on given time

Read interim draft constitution

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