Constitution won’t be defunct even if the election deadline is missed
South Asia Check / July 8, 2016
Speaking on the talk show Sajha Sawal aired on Kantipur TV on June 26, Bishnu Rimal, chief advisor to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, made the following statement regarding elections.
“There is time limit. If we miss the Magh 7, 2074 [January 21, 2018] deadline, the constitution will be defunct and there will be a constitutional crisis. In order to avoid such situation we need to hold elections at all three levels within Mangsir [December 15, 2017] and conclude them by Magh 7 [January 21, 2018].”
South Asia Check has examined whether his statement is fact-based or not.
Under the transitional provisions mentioned in Part 33 of the new constitution, Article 296 (1) states, “The Constituent Assembly existing at the time of commencement of this Constitution shall ipso facto be converted into the Legislature-Parliament after the commencement of this Constitution, and the term of such Legislature Parliament shall exist until Magh 7, 2074.”
However, the article states nothing relating to the extension of the parliament’s term if elections for a new House of Representatives are not held by Magh 7, 2074.
Amendment to the Constitution is mentioned in Part 31 of the Constitution. Article 274 (1) states that “No amendment shall be made to this Constitution in manner to be prejudicial to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence of Nepal and sovereignty vested in the people.” The same article also states, “Subject to clause (1) and other Articles of this Constitution, a Bill to amend or repeal any Article of this Constitution may be introduced in either House of the Federal Parliament”.
This article allows parties to amend anything in the constitution including the term of the current parliament. But again, for forming the federal parliament mentioned in the constitution, local and provincial elections need to be held. So constitutionally it is difficult for the parties to escape the elections.
But Bishnu Rimal’s statement that failure to hold the elections will make the constitution defunct is not true.
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