Disputes delay House committee formations

Published On: June 26, 2018 05:15 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 26: Although the parliament finally endorsed the parliamentary regulations six months after the commencement of parliament, the process of forming various parliamentary committees remains stuck with the main opposition party demanding leadership positions in some of the committees and the ruling parties rejecting the demand.

Main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) has not submitted the list of its lawmakers for appointment as members of 16 various House committees. NC said that the ruling parties should state clearly as to how many committees will be headed by the NC. Also, the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has yet to submit the names of its nominees for House committees as there are many lawmakers aspiring to head the powerful committees.

The parliament speaker and upper house chairman had asked the political parties to provide their lists of lawmakers for appointment in the committees by last week. NC refused to supply the list during the meeting of Business Advisory Committee of the upper house on Sunday. 

“We have prepared a list of lawmakers but we won’t submit it until the ruling parties inform us that how many parliamentary committees will be headed by the main opposition,” said NC whip Pushpa Bhusal. 

On the other hand ruling NCP said that the NC has not officially made its demand clear. “House committees are autonomous in electing their heads. Therefore NC should first pave the way for forming House committees,” said NCP chief whip Dev Gurung.

The opposition NC has claimed that the heads and members of the parliamentary committees should be appointed in a inclusive manner and by including different political parties. “We are in the phase of lawmaking for the implementation of the new constitution. House committees are also mini parliaments. As the parliament is considered as the platform for the opposition, the opposition should get chance to lead some House committees,” said Bhusal.

Parliamentary regulations have provisioned 10 committees at lower house, four at the upper house and two joint committees. The ruling NCP has said that it will pave the way for the opposition to lead the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) but other committee heads will be elected through the majority votes. NCP will have majority members in all House committees giving the party’s nearly two-thirds majority in both house of the bicameral parliament. 

Meanwhile, NC obstructed the lower house meeting briefly on Monday protesting against the absence of Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa during the discussion on the appropriations bill under his ministry. NC lawmaker Ram Bahadur Bista expressing objection said that the House cannot hold deliberations in the absence of the minister concerned. Speaker Krishna Mahara then, adjourned the meeting for 10 minutes after the opposition lawmakers stood from their seats while obstructing the House meeting.

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