KATHMANDU, May 26: Media headlines every other day suggesting failure by the major parties to arrive at consensus on disputed issues might have left you thinking that the actual writing of the new statute is yet to begin.
But the good news is, a group of legal experts have been quietly and on an almost round-the-clock basis drafting the new constitution since the past two weeks. And they are coming closer to finalizing a draft constitution, leaving aside some of the thorny issues that the parties are yet to thrash out.
Talking to Republica, Constitutional Committee (CC) Chairman Nilambar Acharya said they have almost completed the task of putting in writing the agreements reached among the parties and that will go into a constitution with a total of 27 parts. “We have almost completed the task of putting the agreed points into the draft constitution,” said Acharya.
The CC is entrusted with preparing a draft constitution, bringing together the agreements reached among the parties in the Constituent Assembly (CA) thematic committees and during inter-party negotiations. “A new statute is possible within the stipulated deadline if the parties agree to bring in one with an agreement to resolve the remaining issues through an extended parliament,” said a source at the CA Secretariat.
A group of legal experts comprising Law Secretary Bhesh Raj Sharma, former law secretary Madhav Paudel and former chief secretary Tirtha Man Shakya are busy drafting a new constitution in a separate room at the CA Secretariat in Singha Durbar. These key experts are being assisted by among others, legal advisor of the CA Secretariat, Tek Prasad Dhungana, and CA Chairman Acharya himself.
As the language and diction of a constitution matter a lot when it comes to interpretation, the experts are said to be giving close scrutiny to the linguistic aspects of the draft statute. “They have been working almost round the clock. For instance, the members were still working on the draft constitution when the government registered a bill seeking another CA term extension at the Parliament Secretariat late Tuesday evening,” a senior official at the Secretariat told Republica.
The major parties are yet to arrive at consensus on issues related to state restructuring, system of governance and citizenship. “These issues could be put under legislative schedules if the parties forge an agreement to promulgate a new statute within the deadline and settle them later through an extended parliament,” the official further said.
CC Chairman Acharya said since they have just two days left before the CA term expires they cannot bring a new statute if they follow the procedures already set. “It all depends on how the parties agree to amend the existing procedures for promulgating a new statute,” he further said.