On January 7, 2015, three leaders of Nepali Congress (NC) — Bimalendra Nidhi, Minendra Rijal and Dr Farmullha Mansur — registered three separate amendment proposals at the legislature parliament.
Of them, the contents and language used in the amendment proposal by NC leader Nidhi are in accordance with the Interim Constitution. It also carried the spirits of agitating Madhesi parties. NC leader Nidhi’s proposal, that consists of amendment bills in Article 84, 1 (a) and 286 (5), is relatively better when compared with two others and passing of his amendment proposal will address the issues to some extent.
NC leader Bimlendra Nidhi’s amendment Proposal:
Here is the comparison of Nidhi’s proposed amendment bills with Interim constitution provision.
Proposed amendment in Article 84, 1 (a): Based on the first-past-the-post electoral system, the House of Representative shall be composed of 165 members elected on the basis of similar population range, geographical convenience and special characteristics, and, in the case of Madhes on the basis of percentage of population in accordance with mixed electoral system as provided for in the law.
Article 63, (3): The Constituency Assembly shall be composed of the members elected on the basis of similar population range, geographical convenience and special characteristics, and, in the case of Madhes on the basis of percentage of population in accordance with mixed electoral system as provided for in the law.
Proposed amendment in Article 286 (5): The Constituency Delimitation Commission, while delimiting the constituencies in accordance with this Article, shall, maintain as far as practicable the ratio between population and number of members keeping population-based representation as main basis in accordance with the article 84, 1 (a).
Article 154 A (6): The Constituency Delimitation Commission, while delimiting the constituencies in accordance with this Article, shall, determine the number of members to be elected on the basis of the population of each district in accordance with Clauses (3) and (3a) of Article 63, maintaining as far as practicable proportionality between the number of members and the population of the districts, and fix the number of constituencies for election of members of the Constituent Assembly accordingly.
Proposed Amendment: After the words “while delimiting the constituencies”, words to be added “equal population and geographic conveniences”
NC leader Minendra Rijal’s amendment Proposal
For the amendment of Article 286 (5): The Constituency Delimitation Commission shall delimit the constituencies in every province keeping population-based representation as main basis and geography as secondary basis in accordance with the article 84, 1 (a). Every district in the provinces shall have at least one constituency.
The amendment bill proposed by NC leader Rijal does not cover aspirations of the interim constitution and agitating Madhesi parties. In the proposal, delimiting constituency keeping geography as secondary basis means is again contradictory. Similarly, determining constituency based on district means the continuity to the old practice of constitution 1990. Maintaining province and district both as the basis for delineating constituencies does contravene principly. The constituency delineation based on district will not be applicable at province level once the complete federal set up is over.
NC leader Dr Farmullha Mansur amendment Proposal
Economically, socially and educationally backward women, Dalits, Adibasi Janajati, Madhesi, Tharu, Muslim, differently-abled people, backward classes, gender and sexually minority groups and citizens of backward regions shall have the right to participate in state structures on the basis of the principle of proportionate inclusion.
When analysed NC leader Ansari’s amendment proposal, it does include the issue of proportionate inclusion. But the clusters for uplifted communities are still there. But It has not reduced the number of clusters as provisioned in the constitution. It should have covered the contents of the interim constitution. Neither does it address the issues raised by agitating Madhesi parties in a complete sense. The proposal has left clues for subject to interpretation.