June 5, 2018 06:00 AM NPT
Speaker drops plan to pass regulation through majority vote
KATHMANDU, June 5: Row over a provision in the parliament regulation has not only widened the rift between the ruling and opposition parties in the House, but also sparked mistrust in the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
While a majority of lawmakers from the ruling NCP are lobbying for suspending lawmakers accused of criminal offence from the date of their arrest, some leaders of the same party, who came from the then Maoist Center, along with the lawmakers from the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) are pushing for suspending lawmakers only if convicted of the crime by the court.
In a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee of the House of Representatives, lawmakers from the then CPN-UML strongly demanded the suspension of lawmakers right from the date of their arrest. However, lawmakers from the then Maoist Center remained tight lipped over the matter.
After NC warned to walk out of the House meeting if the regulation was pushed through voting, Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara backtracked on his announcement to endorse the regulation through a vote.
Mahara had put the agenda for the House business on Monday in order to endorse the regulation through majority voting. But stating that he would give some time to garner consensus of both the ruling and opposition parties, he has postponed the agenda until Friday.
“Since the government has majority in parliament, it could have been endorsed easily. But the Speaker postponed it. We doubt if the Speaker is influenced by his former party colleagues,” a lawmaker from the then CPN-UML told Republica.
Parliament's regulation drafting committee had submitted a moderate provision based on the consensus of both ruling and opposition lawmakers last month. The draft of the regulation has proposed that any Member of Parliament will be ineligible to receive state perks and incentives during their stay in custody but will not be suspended until the final court verdict in any criminal case liable for three-year or more jail sentences.
However, the row over the regulation revived as ruling UML, Rastriya Jana Morcha and NWPP lawmakers registered amendments to the draft demanding that lawmakers should be suspended from the post from the date of their arrest on serious criminal offence. Lawmakers from the then Maoist Center were discontent with the amendment stating that it was against the consensus in the drafting committee.