Thursday, August 17, 2006

Interim Statute Drafting Process ‘Stalled’

The interim constitution drafting process has been stalled after the government and the Maoist talks teams delayed their suggestions on major issues to the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee (ICDC) headed by former Supreme Court Justice Laxman Prasad Aryal.

"Though the government and the Maoist talks teams have told us that they will provide us their common stand on the major issues as soon as possible, they are yet to do so," a member of the ICDC, Chandeshwor Shrestha, said.

"Since this is the case, we are wondering how to go about completing the document," he said.

Confusion among the panelists on five major political agendas the King, interim parliament, interim government, the number of Constituent Assembly members and the provision on citizenship still reigns supreme.

The draft panel has already completed its tenure on August 9. It is, however, still doing its job.
The ICDC and the government and the Maoist talks teams had agreed to complete the job only after both the talks teams made suggestions on the issues.

The task force of the seven-party alliance is doing serious homework to provide suggestions to the ICDC. However, it is yet to reach a conclusion.

Mainwhile,The Interim Constitution Drafting Committee (ICDC) has proposed to widen the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and Appellate Courts by bringing the military court within their purview.

The committee will propose in its draft that the apex court should have powers to intervene in the decisions of the military court as well, ICDC coordinator Laxman Prasad Aryal said.

Aryal, however, declined to divulge any details in this regard. It may be recalled that the military court and its proceedings have been criticized by national and international human rights organizations in recent years, especially in connection with extra-judicial killings, rape and other cases of human rights violation. Human rights organizations and civil society have been demanding such a provision in view of "impunity and insufficient punishment" for human rights violators in the Nepal Army.

(Contd on Pg 3)

Under the present constitution, the Supreme Court does not have authority to intervene in the proceedings and decisions of the military court except on the grounds of absence of jurisdiction or that a proceeding has been initiated against, or punishment given to, a non-military person for an act other than an offence relating to the army.

Besides, the ICDC has also proposed powers to the appellate courts to take up writ petitions which are the sole privilege of the Supreme Court under the 1990 constitution. These are writ petitions concerning certiorari, prohibition and quo-warranto.

Aryal told that the committee is yet to reach a conclusion over the issue of reappointment of the incumbent judges after the promulgation of the interim constitution. Besides, it is also yet to take a decision on the restructuring of the Judicial Council and the Constitutional Council.

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