Draft meeting draws blank as lawmaker ban issue simmersThe Regulation Drafting Committee of the House of Representatives (HoR) could not make headway on Wednesday as well after the major parties remained divided over suspending the parliamentarians in judicial custody and on the numbers of the parliamentary committees.
The Regulation Drafting Committee of the House of Representatives (HoR) could not make headway on Wednesday as well after the major parties remained divided over suspending the parliamentarians in judicial custody and on the numbers of the parliamentary committees.
The discussion ended in a stalemate on Wednesday because the ruling alliance and opposition parties refused to budge from their respective views.
Wednesday was the deadline to resolve the issue. The meeting will convene again on Thursday. The committee members will first meet with HoR Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara along with the chief whips of the parties and hope to resolve the issues.
The regulations are mandatory to guide the functioning of the HoR. They would also pave the way to set up parliamentary committees, also called mini parliament, and their jurisdiction.
The ruling parties insist on increasing the number of parliamentary committees to 10 and suspending lawmakers sent to judicial custody for any criminal offence that could sentence them to prison term of three years or more. The opposition parties oppose this.
The Nepali Congress, Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal and Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal lawmakers reject these suggestions. They say the number of House committees should be seven as recommended by the Parliament Secretariat and not suspending MPs unless a court convicts them of an offence.
A draft committee member from CPN-UML Juli Kumari Mahato said, “We failed to find consensus. The draft regulation will be passed either on consensus or through vote on Thursday.”
The ruling parties argue that the Secretariat suggested seven House committees assuming there would be 15 ministries. Now the number has increased to 21 so House committees should also increase. A draft committee member from Nepali Congress Min Bishwokarma told the Post, “The ruling parties failed to give convincing reasons for automatically suspending lawmakers facing judicial custody. The opposition fears the government may control lawmakers with the threat of sending them to judicial custody on any charge. We will oppose this again on Thursday.”
The joint committee plans to table the draft regulation in the House on Sunday, the very first day of the budget session and endorse it by May 10.