Wrong choiceCandidates should not be appointed on the basis of their loyalty to the party
The parliamentary Hearing Committee on Tuesday heard Samim Miya Ansari, the chairman nominee for the National Muslim Commission, but deferred confirming his appointment even as it endorsed the nominees for four other constitutional commissions.
Ansari has been mired in controversy regarding the submission of a fake citizenship certificate ever since his name was nominated. Time and again, the Constitutional Council has nominated members without showing any regard for constitutional and legal criteria. People are appointed not on the basis of their merit but on the basis of their level of allegiance to the ruling party. While this is deplorable, the practice continues, and Ansari’s nomination is testament to it.
The five-member Constitutional Council is headed by the prime minister. It nominates chairpersons for different commissions like the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority, National Women’s Commission, National Natural Resource and Fiscal Commission, Madhesi Commission, National Muslim Commission, and National Dalit Commission, among others.
Previous nominations made by the council have been quite controversial too. From Lokman Singh Karki to Gopal Parajuli, Deepak Raj Joshee and Raj Narayan Pathak—all were appointed to head different commissions at different times, but they displayed lack of integrity and were involved in unethical behaviour.
In this case, the potential chairperson of the Muslim Commission should have worked for the welfare of the Muslim community for at least 10 years, he or she should not have been a member of any political party, he or she should be above 45 years of age, and he or she should be highly ethical. Ansari seems to fit none of the criteria. He was a member of the Nepal Communist Party at the time of his nomination, is alleged to have two citizenships with different birth dates along with lacking the proper academic credentials.
The appointees named by the Constitutional Council for various commissions are of utmost importance. These commissions are important because they are issue specific. Hence, being part of it naturally means the members should be experts in their fields. Only then can the suggestions they give to the government on policy fronts be effective. What’s more, they are also charged with bringing new programmes and regulations that will highlight each commission’s respective issues. The commissions, therefore, have important responsibilities. The more the appointees in these commissions get sunk in controversies, the more will public trust in such commissions dwindle.
It then goes without saying that these bodies should not be politicised. The appointments made for such commissions should be fair and just. Jettisoning past practices, the Nepal Communist Party should rise above political interference and set an example by nominating candidates who deserve to be there, rather than picking someone solely due to their loyalty to the party or the party leader.