The Seventh Session of the House of Representatives (HoR), the lower house of the Federal Parliament, is commencing from Sunday at a time when the dispute within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) is at its crest.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari has summoned the first meeting of the Seventh Session of the HoR for 4:00 pm on Sunday.
The Head of State has summoned the HoR session on the recommendation of the government as per the constitutional provision. The Seventh Session of the lower house of the parliament is convening as per the Supreme Court's order of reinstating the House of Representatives.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had dissolved the HoR on December 20, 2020, and announced the election before this. The Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court reinstated the dissolved HoR on February 23.
The constitution has a provision that says there should not be a gap of more than six months between the Monsoon Session and the Winter Session of the Federal Parliament. The Sixth Session of the HoR was concluded on July 1. The Seventh Session of the National Assembly, the upper house of the Federal Parliament, was summoned on January 1 and it concluded after running for some days.
Spokesperson for the Federal Parliament Secretariat Rojanath Pandey said all preparations including the management of health safety protocols, technical and physical logistics have been readied for the Session.
The Secretariat had gone through necessary preparations for the session some two months ago, and now only the works of general cleanliness and disinfection against COVID-19 were carried out.
Other political parties and the mass seem to be curious about the session as it is taking place when the major ruling party Nepal Communist Party (NCP) is marred by the party's internal feud with its factions have already announced the parliamentary leader and a chief whip on their own.
NCP parliamentary party leader and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli a few days back appointed Bishal Bhattarai as the party Chief Whip.
Likewise, the Dahal-Nepal group has informed the Parliamentary Secretariat that it has nominated Pushpa Kamal Dahal as the party Chair and Dev Prasad Gurung as the Chief Whip. However, ''the Election Commission is the final authoritative body to sort out the party dispute,'' said President of Parliamentary Hearing Committee Laxman Lal Karna. ''The issue will be finalised by the EC and the House will listen to public voices and draw the government's attention towards that end. ''
Presently, the HoR is a body of 173 members including the Speaker from the NCP, 61 members from the Nepali Congress, and 32 from the Janata Socialist Party (JSP).
One seat has been lying vacant since the death of NCP's Sanu Shiwa and two members each from the NC and JSP are suspended following the court verdict.
The winter session considered to be a bill session has the mandate to proceed with 38 bills that are under consideration of the House of Representatives. As per the constitutional provision, there each parliamentarian from Rastriya Janamorcha, Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Nepal Workers Peasants Party and Chhakka Bahadur Lama, an independent parliamentarian representing Humla in the HoR.
The forthcoming HoR meeting has been taken as meaningful following its restoration by the court recently. A total of 269 parliamentarians and Speaker are expected to be present in the meeting. Like earlier, a letter calling the session sent from the President Office would be read out and top leaders of political parties representing in the HoR would deliver a welcome speech. According to a constitutional provision, there are 275 HoR members including 165 elected under the direct electoral system and 110 under the proportional electoral system.
Call for passing Citizenship Bill
Meanwhile, affected people have demanded that the Citizenship Bill that is under consideration for long in the lower house be passed from the forthcoming seventh HoR session. A large section of Nepali citizens has been rendered stateless as a result of failure to pass the Bill more than one year after the constitution has been passed, they complained.
The Bill designed to amend the Citizenship Act, 2063 is under the consideration of parliament.
They complained so at an interaction with media-persons organised on Saturday here by the Forum for Women, Law and Development.