KATHMANDU, July 6: The House of Representatives (HoR) has planned to revise the Passport Bill one and a half months after President Bidya Bhandari returned the bill to parliament for revision, citing the lack of clarity at various places in the legislation.
Secretary of the lower house Gopalnath Yogi said that the business advisory committee meeting on Sunday is scheduled to take a decision about the further proceedings on the bill. “The Passport Bill is among the agendas of the business advisory committee meeting of the HoR on Sunday. Most likely, the meeting will decide when and how the bill should be proceeded forward in parliament,” Yogi told Republica.
President Bhandari had sent the bill back to parliament without authentication on May 22 citing 'unclear provisions over issuance and usage of different types of passports'. Since it was the first time the president had returned any bill to parliament, the Speaker is confused as to how initiate its review process.
According to Rule 136 of the parliamentary regulations, the general secretary of the parliament will inform the house about letter from the president on the bill. Then the minister concerned will table the bill again at the House for consideration.
“The business advisory committee will decide the fate of the bill. But it should follow all procedures like other ordinary bills in parliament,” said Yogi.
After the endorsement from the lower house, the bill will be forwarded to the upper house for deliberation. Earlier, the bills committee of the upper house revised some provisions in the bill but didn't endorse it from the full house after it missed its deadline.
Then the lower house sent the bill to the president for authentication without upper house's endorsement after the upper house failed to take decision on the bill within two months, the constitutional deadline. According to the constitution, the upper house should endorse or suggest revision to any bill endorsed and sent by the lower house within two months. The bill was tabled at the upper house on September 27, 2018.
Some lawmakers in the upper house complained of not getting an opportunity to correct "some controversial provisions in the bill" due to the prorogation of the House session after the National Assembly received the bill. Following request from the upper house lawmakers', the president then sent the bill back to parliament for review under Article 113 of the constitution which allows the president to do so.
Two ministers are scheduled to table three bills at the meeting of the lower house on Sunday.