Deliberations on major bills deferred as lawmakers skip House session

Published On: September 10, 2016 01:20 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Sept 10: Parliament on Friday failed to endorse three urgent bills, including one for the establishment of seven high courts, due to lack of quorum.

After many lawmakers left to attend an interaction program of an INGO or for personal work, the House meeting failed to maintain the quorum for passing a bill. 

The House meeting on Friday was scheduled to endorse Judicial Service Commission Bill, Judicial Administration Bill and Judicial Council Bill, which are deemed urgent due to constitutional obligation of establishing a high court each in the seven provinces. 

Judicial Administration Bill is urgent because the constitution calls for the formation of high courts before September 19. 

But speaker Onsari Gharti adjourned the House meeting before entering into the business as Nepal Workers and Peasants Party lawmaker Dilli Raj Kafle pointed to the lack of quorum. Then Speaker Gharti ordered a count of the number of MPs attending the House meeting. 

"According to parliamentary regulation, attendance of at least 149 lawmakers is must to maintain the quorum. But we found only 126 lawmakers present, which is less than the one-fourth of total lawmakers," said Gharti. House meeting was then adjourned for Sunday. 

According to Basudev Sharma, press advisor to Speaker Gharti, altogether 366 lawmakers marked themselves present at the House meeting on Friday. But most of them skipped the House meeting. 

About three dozen lawmakers had left the House meeting just signing the attendance sheet to attend an interaction program on conflict management organzied by National Democratic Institute (NDI), an INGO. "I am not sure about the number of lawmakers attending the interaction program, but 36 women lawmakers were invited for the interaction," said a lawmaker requesting anonymity. 

Similarly, a meeting of Women Children and Social Welfare Committee of the parliament had been called for 1 PM, but had to be adjourned even before it could be convened.

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