Alliance for Social Dialogue

:: Nepal in Transition Monthly Updates Supreme Court denies review; constitution has to be ready by May 27 (March 25-31)
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 09:07

Supreme Court denies review; constitution has to be ready by May 27 (March 25-31)

The Supreme Court upheld its earlier decision that the Constituent Assembly (CA) will cease to exist after May 27 if the constitution is not promulgated. The government and parliament had filed a petition to review the earlier refusal by joint-registrar of the Supreme Court Nahakul Subedi against the Court ruling on the deadline of the Constituent Assembly. A single bench of Justice Kamal Narayan Das upheld the decision of joint-registrar Subedi.

The written judgement states, ‘The registrar had duly delegated the authority to the joint-registrar, so there were no procedural lapses while refusing the review petition by a person in authority’. Upholding the decision, the judgement reads, ‘The officials for registering review petitions has the authority, under prevalent laws and legal precedents, to accept or refuse to register review petition and had accordingly refused both the review petitions and in the absence of legal and objective bases to claim otherwise, there is no need to review the earlier decision’.

Political parties stated that they would respect the decision on the rejection of the review petition. The advisor of the prime minister Devendra Paudel clarified that the decision to uphold the rejection of review petition would be respected. He argued that the decision cannot be called a correct one since it affects the mandate of the Constituent Assembly and infringes the authority of the parliament. CA chairperson Subash Nemwang said that he had ‘drawn the attention of the prime minister and leaders of the political parties to complete the peace process and promulgate the constitution by May 27’. UML chairperson Jhala Nath Khanal commented that the decision has created a binding situation where the peace process has to be completed and constitution promulgated by May 27. Chief whip of Congress parliamentary party Laxman Prasad ghimire alleged that the decision had impinged on the authority of the parliament.

Meanwhile, the Constituent Assembly discussed the reports of the State Restructuring Commission and sent to the Constitutional Committee. The Army Integration Special Committee also decided to complete the integration process by April 12. While the parties were discussing the peace and constitution, journalists and media houses like the Federation of Nepali Journalists, Television Broadcasters Association of Nepal, Association of Community Broadcasters, Nepali Media Society announced a joint campaign to exert pressure for peace and constitution.

Major Developments

March 25

A single bench of the Supreme Court Justice Kamal Narayan Das starts investigating whether the joint-registrar who refused registration of review petition on the deadline of the Constituent Assembly was delegated due authority.
In the meeting of the Constituent Assembly, CA chairperson Subash Nemwang tables a proposal to discuss the report(s) of the State Restructuring Commission from March 26. Four days have been set aside for the discussions.
Meeting of the Business Advisory Committee of CA decides to extend the deadline of the dispute resolution sub-committee to further discuss the disputes.
The pressure group of CA members for constitution-drafting meet chairperson Subash Nemwang and prime minister Baburam Bhattarai to press for timely constitution-drafting. Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai expresses commitment to promulgate the new constitution by May 27 by completing the peace process.
Meeting of Public Accounts Committee. Committee member Jagadish Narsingh KC alleges that UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal is preparing to take kickbacks while buying airplanes.
Meeting of State Affairs Committee. Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai expresses commitment to make appointment to vacant positions in the constitutional bodies within two weeks.

March 26

Meeting of UCPN (M) central committee postponed. It claims the meeting was postponed because of CA meeting and lack of adequate preparation.
The pressure group of CA members for constitution-drafting meet UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Chairperson Dahal states that he is ready to make sacrifices to complete the peace process.
Meeting of the CA. discussion on the report of the State Affairs Committee. UCPN (M) CA members state that the report of the Committee on State Restructuring and Distribution of State Power should be taken as the basis. Congress and UML CA members stress that there should not be ethnic states. Tarai-Madhes-focused parties insist on federalism with identity and capability.
Meeting of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik). Minister without portfolio Raj Lal Yadav and CA member BP Yadav come to blows. On the recommendation of the party, prime minister Baburam Bhattarai sacks Minister for Agriculture Nandan Kumar Datta.

March 27

Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai lays the foundation stone of the Republic Memorial to build in the premises of the Narayanhiti Durbar Museum.
Dispute resolution sub-committee organises a discussion programme between the Supreme Court judges and leader on the judiciary. The judges suggest not to keep provision for a constitutional court among others.
Meeting of AISC. Disagreement continues on the work plan.
Special Court demands NRS 62.5 million deposit from account officer of Inland Revenue Department.
Meeting of UCPN (M) central committee postponed again. It states the meeting was postponed to seek agreement from vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya. The Vaidya faction organises a training programme in Kathmandu for members above district committee members close to it.

March 28

The Supreme Court upholds its decision that the deadline of the Constituent Assembly would end if the constitution is not promulgated by May 27. It also upholds the decision of its decision to refuse to register the review petition.
Meeting of UCPN (M) central committee. Vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya faction boycotts the meeting. The meeting decides not to compromise with Vaidya faction on peace and constitution. Vaidya faction holds a meeting of People’s Struggle Committee in Kupondol.
Meeting of Congress and UML decides not to back down on the seven-point on army integration.
Meeting of dispute resolution sub-committee on the judiciary. Disagreements remain.
The pressure group of CA members for peace and constitution meets UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal. Nepal states that if there is agreement on peace process, constitution can be drafted.

March 29

Meeting of the Constitutional Council endorses concept paper on appointments. Tenure will be of four years.
UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal holds discussions with Maoist commanders. States the integration will be completed without comprising on the basic tenets of constitution.
Meeting of the Constituent Assembly decides to extend discussion on the report of the State Restructuring Commission by one day.
Chairperson of Rastriya Prajatantra Party Pashupati Shamsher JBR and chairperson of Rastriya Janashakti Party Surya Bahadur Thapa claim that it is not possible to promulgate a complete constitution and suggest promulgating the constitution in instalments.

March 30

Meeting of senior leaders of UCPN (M), Congress, and UML. A three-member taskforce is formed to suggest on the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission on the Disappeared. The members are Khimlal Devkota, Ramesh Lekhak, and Agni Kharel.
Meeting of AISC decides to complete army integration by April. The combatants will be offered the option of choosing voluntary retirement one more time.
Discussion in the Constituent Assembly ends on the report of the State Restructuring Commission. The report is sent to the Constitutional Committee with recommendations. CA chairperson Subash Nemwang expresses the hope that the discussion will help resolve disputes.
UCPN (M) vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya faction reconstitutes a parallel All Nepal Trade Union Federation.
UML chairperson Jhala Nath Khanal returns from a one-week trip to India. States the Supreme Court decision to uphold its judgement on the refusal to register the review petition had created a binding situation where peace process and constitution have to be completed by May 27.
The police baton-charge students loyal to Sher Bahadur Deuba who had gone to padlock the central office of Nepal Student Union.
Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai and leaders of the main political parties express their commitment to promulgate the constitution by completing the peace process.

March 31

Meeting of UCPN (M), Congress, and UML. Consensus on formation process and authority of Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) holds a mass meeting at Khula Manch, warns that constitution without federalism will not be acceptable.
Major media houses hold a press conference. Announce a movement for peace and constitution.
President Ram Baran Yadav expresses his confidence that parties will promulgate the constitution.