Friday, May 29, 2009

Model Constitution for Nepal by Dr. Bipin Adhikari

TGW - A model constitution for Nepal was released May 21, 2009 amidst the presence of an eminent gathering comprising Constituent Assembly (CA) members, political leaders, lawyers, political scientists and sociologists.
The model comprises of 26 Chapters and 297 Articles.

Drafted by a leading Nepali constitutional expert, Dr Bipin Adhikari, the model intends to help stimulate rational debate on core constitutional issues confronting the country.

“The document aims to assist the Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution within the mandated timeframe. This initiative also creates an open space for constitutional conversation”, says Dr. Adhikari talking to

Launching the draft, National Human Rights Commission Chairman and former Chief Justice Mr. Kedar Nath Upadhyaya said that the expert draft addresses many complicated issues that the new constitution of Nepal will have to deal with in the future and stated that “this draft should serve as an important reference point for the work being undertaken by the CA”.

In this draft model, lawyer and former UN Legal expert Dr. Adhikari lays out the framework for a multiethnic, multilingual, multicultural and democratic society.
The model contains provisions to empower deprived and marginalized communities and provides room for taking political initiatives to the citizens.
The model constitution is based on a parliamentary form of government at the centre and a presidential system at the provincial level.
The draft incorporates new fundamental rights, increases ministerial accountability to parliament and provides for autonomous provinces and self-government. It enhances the role of constitutional watchdogs and also increases their pubic accountability. The draft was prepared based on learning from past experiences as well as keeping into proper accounts of the prevailing trends and innovations in other parliamentary democracies.
Referring to the draft constitution, Dr. Adhikari said it would be difficult to ensure genuine public participation without an expert draft on the table. He added that this had not happened so far.
“Abstract debates without any clear cut drafts cannot stimulate discussions as demanded which may also not guarantee the making of a good constitution”, Dr. Adhikari said.
This draft intends to offer something very tangible for discussion across the country and in the floor of the CA body. “Participatory constitution making is today a basic feature of constitutional life. It is also an important objective in itself. Despite challenging difficulties of definition and implementation, a democratic constitution-making process will be critical for the durability, acceptability, and legitimacy of the final product”, says the constitutional expert.
Dr. Adhikari bluntly says, “As our history has shown, our circumstances do not appear propitious for the seventh constitution which is currently being drafted through the CA”.
2009-05-25 17:09:02

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