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Nepal SC issues notice against constitution amendment bill

At a time when Nepal’s politicians are sharply divided over a bill to amend the Constitution, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the government for a written reply on the reasons for the proposed changes.

world Updated: Dec 08, 2016 23:39 IST
HT Correspondent
Nepal

File photo of Nepalese activists from the Federal Alliance (members of the Madhesi and ethnic communities) shouting slogans on the first anniversary of Nepal's new constitution in Kathmandu on September 19, 2016.(AFP)

At a time when Nepal’s politicians are sharply divided over a bill to amend the Constitution, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the government for a written reply on the reasons for the proposed changes.

The court said the government should list the reasons behind the bill that is focussed on issues such as altering borders of provinces, naturalised citizenship, representation in the National Assembly and the language commission, which, it said, went against the spirit of the Constitution.

The government registered the bill in Parliament last week to address the demands of agitating Madhes-based political parties and to end a year-long political logjam over the statute.

The proposed changes were opposed by the main opposition CPN-UML, which described them as anti-national, especially a move to split Province number 5, which would lead to the creation of two more provinces in the southern Terai region.

After the registration of the bill, the CPN-UML obstructed the functioning of Parliament and took to the streets.

The Supreme Court issued the show-cause notice in response to a writ petition filed by five people on behalf of the Ex-MPs’ Forum. A single judge bench asked the government to file its reply by December 20.

The petitioners had argued that only the federal parliament and provincial assemblies have the right to change borders and the number of provinces. They sought the court’s intervention to prevent the passage of the bill, saying it went against the intent and spirit of the Constitution.