KATHMANDU, Oct 1: The constitution-drafting process has been pushed one step ahead as the Preliminary Draft Reports Study Committee of the Constituent Assembly (CA) handed over eight preliminary reports to CA Chairman Subas Nembang on Thursday.
The Study Committee had previously submitted the reports of three of the 11 thematic committees.
The CA formed the Study Committee to identify if any of the 11 thematic reports contain contradictory provisions, repetitions, duplications, redundant provisions, or if the committees have missed any important subjects in their reports, and to address these shortcomings.
According to Agni Kharel, coordinator of the committee, it has identified and prepared a list of around 225 contentious issues in the 11 thematic reports, that need to be sorted out.
After receiving the report, Nembang said he has called a meeting of the parliamentary party leaders of all political parties represented in the CA for Sunday with a view to table the list of contentious issues for discussions among the top leaders. The constitution has a provision for calling such a meeting of PP leaders if disputes surface in connection with drafting the statute.
Parties have differed on whether to adopt a presidential or prime ministerial system, a bicameral or unicameral parliament, the number of parliamentarians and the electoral system at both the center as well as the provinces. The UCPN (Maoist) is for presidential and unicameral systems while the NC is against.
The Maoists are for entrusting parliament with the final authority to interpret the constitution and controversial political cases filed in the courts while the NC and CPN-UML are for giving such powers to the Supreme Court (SC).
Similarly, the former rebel party that operated kangaroo courts during the insurgency is for giving the final right to appoint and fire SC judges to a parliamentary body. But NC and the UML have stood against that.
The thematic committees have also failed to finalize provisions relating to the official languages of the country and the provinces, the national flag, the definition of the nation and the preamble to the constitution, among several other issues.
After holding discussions at the meeting of PP leaders, the preliminary reports will be forwarded to the Constitutional Committee (CC), which is entrusted with preparing an integrated draft of the statute comprising all the 11 thematic reports.
"After identifying scores of provisions to be sorted out and preparing a list of the subjects, the Study Committee has simplified the task," Nembang said. "With this work done, the issues to be resolved have become clear for the leaders. Now, the ball is in the top leaders´ court."
He urged top leaders to take the Study Committee´s work as a stepping stone in furthering the statute drafting process.
The Study Committee, in its report, has incorporated feedback from CA members during deliberations on the preliminary reports in the CA. It has also suggested to the CC to make some modifications and amendments to several provisions in various thematic reports. It, however, did not delve into details of the report prepared by the State Restructuring Committee as the parties have decided to form a high-level commission for the purpose.
This is the only task done by any CA committee since the extension of the assembly´s tenure by one year on May 28.