For a while now the constitution drafting process has held the attention of many people all over the country. But there have been some people who have followed and watched the process closely right from the start. The Week talked to a few such journalists to find out their take on the matter.
The most crucial aspect of constitution drafting through the Constituent Assembly (CA) is that the representatives of people and the lawmakers are in the process of drafting the constitution that meets all the aspirations of the public. Basically, there are two methods of constitution making process and the first method is where the constitution is drafted by constitutional experts. They give high priority to contents of the statute; that’s why the content of such constitution has fewer flaws. Now, the second method, which our CA has adopted, is where all the representatives of people in the Constituent Assembly get directly involved in the constitution making process. In the method, the process of constitution drafting is more important than its content. But looking at the recent activities of the CA, our constitution making process does not follow the second method properly. Top leaders of major political parties have been making decisions on their own without caring if the other lawmakers in the CA will agree to their demand or not. Lawmakers do not know how districts like Baglung and Rukum were spilt while delineating provinces. When I asked Nepali Congress senior leader Ram Chandra Pokharel why Baglung was split, he could not give a logical reason. Instead of meeting people’s aspirations, top leaders have been imposing their decisions in the name of public welfare while drafting constitution just for their vested political interests. In this scenario, I’m doubtful whether a new constitution will be accepted by all sides.
It is for the first time in our country’s history that representatives of people are drafting the constitution for the people. So, people from all quarters have been putting pressure on lawmakers and political leaders to ensure their rights in the new constitution. Even while drafting the constitution in 1990, people from various sectors had even staged protests for having their rights ensured in the statute. But as the constitution was drafted by a commission, there was no heated debate on each and every important provision in the constitution unlike in the Constituent Assembly (CA). But now, people are more aware of their rights and they have been pressuring for it through their representatives. That would not have been possible if there was no CA. But at the same time, it has been really difficult for political parties to include everyone’s demands in the new constitution. But despite the difficulty, political leaders have tried their best to include the important demands in the new constitution to make it all inclusive. Earlier, political leaders used to hold talks at hotels or resorts. But lately, they have been holding talks in the CA and its sub-committees, which, in a way, show that the constituent making process is moving in the right direction.
People did not get a chance to draft their own constitution from the CA previously in our nation, thus the past constitution failed to ensure people’s rights. So there is no doubt that the new constitution should be drafted from the CA. Since we were ruled by an autocratic monarch, the new constitution should institutionalize the changes in the country and ensure the rights of the backward community. Making new constitution from the CA itself is a good practice. Once we promulgate the new constitution from the CA, it will be a historical achievement. Sustainability of constitution is more important than its promulgation, so the new constitution must be accepted by majority of the people. With the promulgation of the new statute our country is adopting federalism. It may be very difficult to manage this. The CA should focus on addressing the concerns of those who do not have access to the constitution making process. The CA should ensure inclusiveness and proportional representation method based on the population ratio which the present CA is lacking in.
The major advantage of making the new constitution from the Constituent Assembly (CA) is that it ensures the rights of suppressed people. Though our CA is yet to promulgate a new constitution, its promulgation is certain, unless there is no major obstruction. Making new statute from the CA is in itself an inclusive process. The first CA had one third women representation which was a major achievement for women in the constitution making process. But the second time, it could not get one third women lawmakers. With constant effort from women leaders, new statute is ensuring citizenship through mother, 40 percent women representation in parliament and reserving right to reproduction for women. Though the CA is focused on drafting the new constitution with equal involvement from all lawmakers, our CA is not adopting the theory. Only top leaders from four major political parties can’t be involved while finalizing the major features of the new constitution.
National News Agency
The process of making a new constitution from the people’s representatives is the best possible approach. Our Constituent Assembly (CA) aims to resolve the conflict in the country. However, questions have been raised over the proper practice of making new constitution from the CA. People say that the CA is in control of certain leaders and political parties. To take people’s feedback on the draft of new constitution was a good idea. However questions have been raised on whether or not the suggestions of the public were addressed in the statute. The process of drafting the new statute through the CA itself seems to be a lengthy one, but it is one of the best practices of inclusive democracy. But there are dissatisfactions over why the CA did not incorporate all the important demands of the various marginalized groups.