Jhalanath Khanal wrongly says no amendment possible before the formation of federal parliaments

Sujit Mainali / November 25, 2016

Photo: Youtube/news24

Photo: Youtube/News24

CPN-UML leader and former prime minister Jhalanath Khanal in an interview with Nepali TV channel News24 aired on November 22 said that the attempt by the government to amend the constitution is unconstitutional.

He said: “Consent of the Nepali people is required for changing even a punctuation of the constitution…Flip open the constitution; (it is mentioned that) the provincial assemblies also have their roles in the constitution amendment process. They have not read the constitution. Unless the provincial assemblies give their consent, the constitution cannot be amended.”

South Asia Check has examined whether former prime minister Khanal’s claim that the constitution cannot be amended before the formation of provincial assemblies is correct.

Article 274 of the Constitution of Nepal-2015 has mentioned the provisions related to amending the constitution.

This Article mentions that if there is a need to amend any provisions of the constitution other than those related to changing the provincial boundaries, the amendment bill can be presented to either house of the federal parliament and the bill has to be endorsed by the two-thirds majorities of the existing members in the both houses of the federal parliament.

Therefore, not only a punctuation mark, but all provisions of constitution other than those related to the provincial boundaries can be amended without the consent of the provincial assemblies.

Clause 4 and 5 of Article 274 mention that if an amendment bill is about provincial boundaries, the bill should be endorsed by the majority of the provincial assemblies concerned.

Article 274 (5) states: Provided that if any provincial assembly is not in existence, such bill must be either accepted or rejected within three months after the date of holding of the first meeting following the formation of that provincial assembly.

Article 274 has made the formation of Federal Parliament mandatory for both kinds of the aforementioned amendments.

“But still, it is not correct to say that currently it is not possible to amend the constitution,” Radheshyam Adhikari, a Nepali Congress parliamentarian and also an advocate told South Asia Check.

He further said that the constitution has enabled the existing parliament to conduct all activities under the prerogative of the Federal Parliament.

Article 296 (3) of the constitution states that “the Legislature Parliament…shall conduct all the activities under the prerogative of the Federal Legislature until the elections for House of Representatives are conducted.”

Therefore, the statement of former prime minister Jhalanath Khanal is wrong.

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