The meeting of the House of Representatives (HoR) has commenced at the Parliament Building, New Baneshwor Sunday for the first time after the Supreme Court reinstated it on July 12. President Bhandari had dissolved it on May 21 on the recommendation of former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. But, in a landmark verdict, the apex court termed the dissolution unconstitutional and revived the House. Amidst the intense inter-and intra-party dispute, the HoR was dissolved twice, which is a rare incident in the contemporary political history. With the reinstatement of the HoR, the Oli administration has been replaced by Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government. As the parliament has got a new life, people have pinned high hope on it in addressing the pressing issues related to public health, development, good governance and disaster management.
The House meeting is expected to decide the fate of 16 ordinances, which was issued by the previous Oli government. As per Article 114 (2) of the constitution, it is mandatory for the government to present ordinances in the first meeting of the new session of parliament. The ordinances are rendered null and void if the House does not approve them within 60 days from its first meeting. The lawmakers need to seriously pore over and discuss those ordinances, which the opposition and critics had said, were issued by bypassing the parliament. The tendency to resort to ordinances to sort out the burning legal issues must come to an end. They should be brought only to deal with the emergency situation when the parliamentary session is not underway. While restoring the HoR first time, the Supreme Court had said that the government could bring the ordinances only in an extraordinary situation but it must not take the recourse to ordinances to fulfil its vested interests.
The government should bring the ordinances in a way it must not generate controversy. The government should take the opposition, civil society, media and the general public into confidence before issuing the ordinances. There must be a rational ground and practical necessity behind the issuance of ordinances. If the ordinances go against the grain of constitution and basic democratic norms, they undermine the rule of law and divide the political spectrum. The previous government was dragged into controversy when it brought ordinance to amend the Constitutional Council (Functions, Duties, Power and Procedure) Act-2010. The amendment had paved the way for the majority of 5-member Constitutional Council to hold meeting and recommend the names of individuals for the positions of constitutional bodies on the basis of majority. However, the constitution’s provision is that the Council’s recommendation should be based on consensus in order to ensure the impartiality and integrity of the constitutional bodies.
However, the previous government appointed more than 50 persons in the various constitutional bodies. They did not even attend the parliamentary hearing as the House was dissolved then. Writ petitions seeking the annulment of their appointment have been filed in the apex court. Likewise, around 55 different Bills have been pending in the House. They are related to federalism, citizenship, media, Guthi and so on. The delay in passing the Bills on Federal Civil Service and Federal Public Service Commission has hindered the implementation of federalism. It has become urgent for the House to brainstorm and endorse them as early as possible.