THE Lower House of Federal Parliament has passed the Constitution Amendment (Second) Bill unanimously. A total of 258 members of the 275-member House of Representatives, who were present in the meeting, cast their votes for the amendment bill on Saturday to endorse the newly updated political and administrative map of Nepal in the national emblem. There is a constitutional provision that requires a clear two-thirds majority with 184 votes to pass any constitution amendment bill. It means the bill was endorsed with more than two-thirds majority. That all the political parties representing the parliament extended their support to the bill is a clear indication that they forget all of their personal and partisan differences when issues of nationality and national sovereignty emerge. They have really expressed their unprecedented national unity on the issue. With the endorsement of this bill, the country’s updated map incorporating Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulek has been recognised constitutionally. However, the bill must undergo similar process in the National Assembly. Schedule 3 of the Constitution has the provision of the Coat of Arms with Nepal’s map which required correction as the actual territory of the nation was left in the previous national emblem.
The 12 lawmakers who were absent on the historic day included Amrita Devi Agrahari, Gopal Bahadur Bam, Dularidevi Khatwini, Dhan Bahadur Budha, Nagendra Kumar Chaudhari, Pramod Sah, Shiva Kumar Mandal, Sarita Giri, Surya Narayan Yadav, Surya Bahadur KC, Haribol Gajurel and Gyan Kumari Chhantyal. Other four lawmakers-- Resham Chaudhari, Mohummad Aaftab Alam, Harinarayan Chaudhari and Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar-- have remained suspended for their alleged involvement in various unlawful activities. Another lawmaker Sarita Giri also did not vote. She walked out after the Speaker announced that amendment proposal registered by her was rejected. Constitutionally, the Speaker does not cast vote unless there is a tie on any agenda. The Government of Nepal had issued the updated map of the country on May 20 in response to the Indian move to inaugurate a link road that passes through Lipulek. The Department of Survey under the Ministry of Land Management had prepared the new map based on the Sugauli Treaty that was signed between Nepal and the then East India Company in 1816. Although Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulek belong to Nepal as proved by numerous documents and evidences, India has been occupying these territories for decades. The new map of Nepal also includes Gunji, Nabhi and Kuti villages that had been excluded from the earlier map issued some 45 years ago.
Needless to say, Nepal and India have enjoyed friendly relations since time immemorial. The two South Asia nations also have unique cultural. This means that the two nations have good people-to-people relations. The Government of Nepal has already proposed India for dates twice to hold talks on the border issues. There is no denying the fact that India has supported Nepal in many ways. But Nepal cannot give up her territories. The southern neighbour has not been showing its willingness to settle such sensitive issues immediately. All the issues can be resolved only through dialogue. So, the two sides must intensify efforts to resolve these issues at the earliest possible. An amicable solution to the problem is beneficial for both the neighbours.