A skeleton of the first draft is already ready and empty portions will be filled up once parties agree on contentious issues, according to officials. The CA has appointed a panel led by the secretary of the Law Ministry to bring out the first draft in line with the required parameters of the constitution.
“We have invited experts to make the first draft linguistically sound,” said CA Chairman Subas Nembang. “The drafting process will move forward swiftly once the parties sort out disputed issues at the political level.”
According to a source, the CA Secretariat has incorporated the already settled issues in its preliminary framework that sequences the new constitution into 27 chapters. Former Chief Secretary Tirtha Man Shakya and former Law Secretary Madhav Poudel are among the members of the panel entrusted with the responsibility of fine-tuning the language of the first draft.
“Preparations on our part are obvious and we are fully prepared, while we can start work any time,” said Tek Prasad Dhungana, the Secretary of the Constitutional Committee (CC). He said parties have given a full mandate to the CA Secretariat to prepare the first draft in accordance with the agreements they reach at the political level. The stalled constitution-making process is awaiting political consensus on key issues including forms of governance and state restructuring at the Dispute Resolution Subcommittee headed by Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Recent agreements on judiciary, citizenship and electoral system among top leaders of three major parties and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) are yet to be approved by the subcommittee.
The outstanding issues should be endorsed by the CC to ease the draft preparation, which according to CC Chairman Nilambar Acharya, will require a minimum of 15 days. The major parties are planning to refer the disputed issues to the CA for voting if they fail to strike consensus.
The future roadmap will be fixed ahead of the CA sitting scheduled for Thursday afternoon. The CC has asked top leaders to provide a progress report on the disputed issues before beginning the voting process.
Currently, there are 117 disputed questions, including 78 related to restructuring of the state. Sixteen issues agreed at the Dahal-led Subcommittee are yet to be endorsed by the CC. Dhungana, who is also the chief legal advisor of the CA, said the subcommittee will present a ‘final list’ of the issues agreed upon to the CC. “Only then the Constitutional Committee can decide on issues which cannot be approved by it and which cannot be agreed at the political level,” he said.by PHANINDRA DAHAL from ekantipur