House dissolving next month, important bills likely to abort
September 23, 2017 07:55 AM NPT
Legislature Parliament building in New Baneshwar. (Republica file photo)
KATHMANDU, Sep 22: The term of the current parliament is likely to end with at least a dozen important bills yet to be endorsed. Under the constitutional provision that paves the way for the commencement of the federal parliament, the current parliament will be dissolved before the provincial assembly and parliamentary elections.
As many as 29 bills are pending in parliament and over a dozen of them are unlikely to make it through before the House dissolution, largely because of the long Dashain and Tihar holidays in late September and early October.
Officials at the parliament secretariat said the public holidays and Speaker Onsari Gharti’s foreign visits leave little time for the House to hold the all-important discussions required before approving the bills.
As per the new constitution, the tenure of the current parliament ends a day before candidacy nominations for the election of the new federal parliament. The Election Commission has set October 22 as the date for candidacy registrations.
If parliament is dissolved before the pending bills are passed, the government will have to submit the same bills again at the parliament secretariat and the whole process for endorsement has to be repeated.
A bill on high courts is still in the House although the government has already formed the seven High Courts and appointed judges.
The House has given priority to some urgent bills, including the bills related to the Election of the National Assembly, the Election of the President and Vice President, and Civil Servants Integration. The need for these will arise immediately after the federal and provincial elections.
The House also needs to endorsed before the expiry of its term some other bills including those pertaining to the duties and responsibilities of the province chiefs and the formation of the provincial governments. But these bills have not yet been registered in parliament.
Some bills have been pending since 2014. These include bills concerning the civil code and the civil procedure code, the criminalization of torture, and reformation of social behavior.
The House forwarded the civil code bills to the Bills Committee for revision earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Speaker Onsari Gharti embarked on a five-day visit to China on Wednesday after endorsing seven bills on a single day, including one controversial bill, without proper discussions being held in parliament.
Lawmakers have expressed their resentment over the endorsement of the Education Act (Ninth Amendment) Bill through a fast track.
Gharti is also scheduled to visit Sri Lanka for four days. She will be outside the country for 11 days. With the festival season already here, there are 17 public holidays over the coming 30 days.
Parliament is yet to endorse a bill related to language although it should have been approved a year after the promulgation of the constitution. The government had formed the Language Commission a year ago.
Parliament secretariat officials said the bill awaits tabling in the full House.
Similarly, a bill pertaining to the high courts is still under discussion in the House although the government has already formed the seven High Courts and appointed judges for the provincial courts. The bill, among other things, will fix the salaries and perks of the judges.
According to a bills department report, 18 bills are still under discussion at various House committees and two are yet to be tabled in the House.