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Nepal SC ruling paves way for constitutional amendment bill

A ruling by Nepal’s Supreme Court is expected to strengthen the hands of political parties who want to amend the country’s new Constitution to address the demands of Madhesi groups.

world Updated: Jan 02, 2017 19:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
Nepal,Supreme Court,Madhesi parties
File photo of protesters marching on a road in Kathmandu during a strike organised by a 30-party alliance to protest against the draft of Nepal’s new Constitution.(Reuters)

Nepal’s’ Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the Parliament can take up a bill to amend the country’s new Constitution, a decision that will provide relief to the government and agitating political parties from the Madhes region.

Responding to a writ petition against the constitutional amendment bill that was recently registered in Parliament, the apex court said: “Judiciary could not bar the Legislative from using its wisdom in the formulation of legislation, on the basis of the principle of separation of powers.”

A division bench of Chief Justice Sushila Karki and justice Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada said taking up the bill is a matter of parliamentary supremacy.

The government had registered the bill in Parliament on November 29 to address the demands and grievances of Madhes-based parties. Issues such as changes in demarcating new provinces, citizenship, language and making the Constitution more inclusive are incorporated in the Bill that Madhesi parties have cautiously welcomed.

After the bill was registered in the Parliament Secretariat, a petition filed in the Supreme Court challenged it on the ground that it was “anti-constitutional”.

Nepal’s main opposition party, the CPN-UML, has obstructed proceedings in the Parliament for more than a month over the bill. Following the court’s ruling, the party will be under pressure to end its protest in the House.

The Supreme Court further said it would not be wise to intervene against the bill. It said there is no need to issue a show cause notice to the government to stop the debate over the bill.

The matter is being considered by Parliament and lawmakers are yet to unveil their positions on the bill, the ruling said. In this context, the judiciary should not over reach, it added.

“The right to make a decision in accordance to the Constitution after examining and determining the Constitution amendment bill’s appropriateness is in the Legislature (or) Parliament,” the ruling said.

First Published: Jan 02, 2017 19:14 IST