Does party whip apply to CA members?

Sujit Mainali / September 4, 2015

During an interview with Nepali television channel News24 broadcast on August 31, 2015, Agni Kharel, the chief whip of the CPN-UML, the second largest party in the Constituent Assembly (CA), said that the existing law has made party whip applicable to CA members while voting on the new constitution.

When the interviewer asked whether a party whip is applicable to the CA members or not, Kharel said:

“To see whether the party whip applies in the CA or not, one should look at the Anti-Defection Act-1995, which was later amended by the Republic Strengthening and Some Nepal Laws Amendment Act 2010. The Constituent Assembly Rules of Procedure has mention of the term ‘Party Leader’…there is a provision of the party leader issuing whip…therefore, whip is issued.”

When the interviewer asks again: “So do you mean whip is applicable [in the CA]?”

Kharel replies: “Yes. If anyone has doubts then they can challenge it in court.”

Click here to view the interview:

In the interview, Chief Whip Kharel said that the Anti-Defection Act-1997 [he said 1995 in the interview] which was amended in 2010 and the Constituent Assembly Rules of Procedure-2014 have authorized the parties to issue whip to their lawmakers.

It is widely being understood in Nepal that party whip applies only in the Legislature-Parliament and not in the CA.

Some CA members have publicly claimed that party whip does not apply in the CA.

Click here to see an example. studied the relevant Act and rules to see whether Kharel’s claim was correct.

The Constituent Assembly Rules of Procedure states that a CA member is deemed to have quit the party “if he/she engages in any other act which is tantamount to quitting the party according to the prevalent law.” [Clause 141 (D)]

The prevalent law in this case is the Anti-Defection Act-1997.

The Act has stated that if a CA member in defiance of the whip issued by the parliamentary party leader or party whip casts vote in parliament or remains neutral or remains absent during the vote, then such member’s action is deemed tantamount to quitting the party. [Clause 3(D)]

The Act however exempts the person chairing that CA session of this provision.

Therefore, the claim of CPN-UML Chief Whip Kharel that the whip of the party is applicable to CA members is correct.

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