Existing bills backlog affecting new legislations

Published On: June 22, 2016 12:06 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

KATHMANDU, June 22: As over 40 bills remain pending in parliament for years, the new task of formulating over 100 legislations in line with the new constitution is likely to be affected.

The parliament needs to endorse 138 bills for new legislation and another 121 bills to amend existing laws as per the new constitution. But the government has failed to draft the bills and forward them to the legislature. Only four bills to formulate new laws have been sent to parliament, which are pending there as the parliament is busy dealing with the old bills. Only two bills aimed at amending existing laws have been endorsed from parliament after the promulgation of the new constitution. The bill on Amending Some Nepal Laws amended several provisions in 193 existing laws at once.

Lawmakers have said that given that dozens of old bills have been gathering dust for years in parliament, the legislature is unlikely to formulate the new laws on time.

“The process of our parliament has become too much sluggish at a time when endorsing laws from the parliament have become urgent,” said main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) lawmaker Ramesh Lekhek.

Ruling CPN-UML lawmaker Krishna Bhakta Pokhrel further echoed Lekhek. “If our parliament functions as regular House, it would be difficult for us to implement the new constitution. Parliament should work as constitution implementation session in the coming days,” said Pokhrel.

Altogether 73 new bills were registered in parliament between March 2014 and September 2015 but only 36 of them were endorsed. Another 30 bills are still in the endorsement process in parliament secretariat and parliamentary committees. The bill on Public Procurement Act was endorsed Tuesday.
After the promulgation of the new constitution another 16 new bills were registered in parliament and only three of them have been endorsed so far. Another 12 bills are awaiting endorsement.

According to Ministry of Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry (MOLJPA) 42 bills are piling in the parliament for endorsement since 2014. An official in the ministry worried about timely endorsement of new laws from the lawmaking body citing parliament's snail pace history.

But NC lawmaker Lekhek says it will be the duty of incumbent government to endorse any government bill from the parliament without dillydallying. “Duty to endorse any government bill is government. Respective minister and the ministry can prioritize their bill in the parliament with due attention,” Lekhek told Republica.

The new constitution has made it obligatory to formulate new laws relating to establishment of high courts and language commission within a year of commencement of the constitution. The government has prioritized passing of new laws on delineation of local body constituencies and election laws for local, provincial and federal parliament within next six months.

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