‘No parliamentary hearing can be held on political appointments made by Constitutional Council in absence of lower house’

Published On: January 31, 2021 06:20 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Jan 31: Speaker of the dissolved House of Representatives, Agni Prasad Sapkota on Sunday said that the process for conducting parliamentary hearings on the political appointments made at various constitutional bodies by the Constitutional Council in December last year cannot move forward as the House of Representatives remains dissolved.

In a letter to the council headed by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Speaker Sapkota stated that the Hearing Committee under parliament can't conduct the hearings on the recommendations made by the Constitutional Council at present as the tenure of the committee automatically expired after the dissolution of parliament on December 20.

The council chaired by PM Oli had filed an application at the Parliament Secretariat recommending it to conduct hearings on more than three dozen political appointments on the same day when President Bidya Devi Bhandari announced the dissolution of parliament at the recommendation of the government last year.

In the letter, Speaker Sapkota has also questioned the council's decision to make recommendations to various constitutional bodies without giving prior information to him although he is also one of the members of the council.

"The council's decision to make recommendations on various constitutional bodies is against the Supreme Court's ruling," he said.

Sapkota has mentioned that an amendment to the Constitutional Council Act (Function, Duties and Procedures) Act, 2010 owing to lack of quorum in the Constitutional Council meeting and subsequent recommendations in the constitutional bodies made by the council on the same day were against the spirit of the constitution and principles adopted by the Supreme Court.

According to the existing laws, recommendations made by the council in various constitutional bodies don't require a parliamentary hearing if they are not passed by the Parliamentary Hearing Committee within 45 days.

Speaker Sapkota has sent back all original copies of the decisions related to various appointments made by the council at the constitutional bodies to the council. 

The CC made appointments in a total of 45 vacant positions in various constitutional bodies including the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Election Commission, and National Human Rights Commission. 

Those recommended for the appointments include Former Home Secretary Prem Rai as the chief commissioner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Tap Bahadur Magar as chief commissioner of National Human Rights Commission. Those recommended by the main opposition party, Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba are also included in the list of the appointments.

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