Current Affairs for UPSC and TSPSC – 03 Oct 2015 – Constitution of Nepal

Nepal, officially called as Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Nepal was ruled by the Shah dynasty of kings from 1768 when Prithvi Narayan Shah unified its many small kingdoms until 2008.

  • In 1768 Prithvi Narayan Shah established Shah Dynasty ruled till his death.
  • After his death between 1788 and 1791, Shah Dynasty began to expand into Indian Northern Plain.
  • Nepal’s invade halted by Chinese when Nepal attacked Tibet who sought help of Chinese in 1792.
  • After the Anglo-Nepalese war in 1814-16 which led to signing of the “Treaty of Sugauli” (which granted Nepal autonomy but in return Nepal handed over Sikkim to British East India Company)between Nepalese and East Indian Company, the heirs of Prithvi Narayan Shah was incapable to maintaining political stability until Jung Bahadur Rana a scion of Kunwar nobility, consolidated power following the Kot massacre (War between Queen of Shah Dynasty and Military personnel of Bahadur Rana in which Rana emerged as victory and established Rana Dynasty) of 1846. Rana was pro-British and assisted British during Indian Rebellion of 1857 and both World War.
  • In 1923 “Treaty of Perpetual Peace and Friendship” was signed superseding the “Treaty of Sugauli” which makes Nepal a sovereign state and British Residency was replace by British Envy.
  • In 1950 anti-Rana forces formed alliance with Shah Monarch and restored Sovereign of crown and anti-Rana forces in Nepalese Congress Party form Government. In 1953 Nepal joined UN.
  • In 1959 first constitution and first democratic election for newly national assembly was held.
  • Declaring the contemporary parliament a failure, King Mahendra in 1960 dismissed the Koirala government, declared that a “partyless” Panchayatsystem would govern Nepal, and promulgated another new constitution on December 16, 1962.
  • King Mahendra was succeeded by his 27-year-old son, King Birendra, in 1972 who called for referendum between continuation of the panchayat system with democratic reforms or the establishment of a multiparty system. The referendum was held in May 1980, and the panchayat system won a narrow victory.
  • But in 1990 Nepali Congress along with leftist parties decided to launch agitation “Jan Andolan” for multiparty parliament. Thus finally in 1991 Multiparty parliament was adopted and Napali Congress formed government.
  • In 1996 Maoist party bid to replace the parliamentarymonarchy with a people’s new democratic republic which led to Nepalese Civil War.
  • In 2001 Nepal declared emergency. King Gyanendra orders army to crush the Maoist rebels.
  • In 2003 Rebels, government declares ceasefire but after fail of peace talk, King Gyanendra assumes direct control and dismisses the government. He declares a state of emergency, citing the need to defeat Maoist rebels in 2005
  • In 2005 itself King lifts the state of emergency amid international pressure and in 2006 agreed to restore parliament.
  • In 2006 Government and Maoists sign a peace accord – the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) – declaring a formal end to a 10-year rebel insurgency. In 2007 Parliament approves abolition of monarchy as part of peace deal with Maoists, who agree to re-join government. Interim constitution was also promulgated in 2007.
  • Finally in 2008 first Constituent Assembly was elected to frame constitution with Ram Baran Yadav as first President.
  • After failing to meet many deadlines to complete constitution of Nepal, promulgated Constitution of Nepal on 20th September 2015 declaring Nepal as Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal which will be a secular state.

Issues in new constitution of Nepal which was adopted after 8 years of interim constitution

  • Federal-Provincial demarcation is unfair to the people of Terai region which has area of 17% and population of 51% of Nepal. Nepal is divided into seven provinces in such a way that Madhesis was divided into five provinces and out of which they are in major only in one province. Madhesis are of Indian origin and thus have strong socio-cultural ethnic linkages across the border.
  • Constituency delimitation is another issue. Pahadi community which constitute half of the population get more than half of the seats whereas other half of the population which are Madhesis and Janjatis got less than half of the seats.
  • Proportional inclusion clause for reservation includes many forward caste of Pahadi
  • Citizenship norms says that if a female from Nepal marry to a foreigner then her child will not be a citizen of Nepal

Seven amendment proposed by India to Nepal

  • Under Article 63(3) of the interim constitution electoral constitution should be based on population, geography and special characteristic and in case of Madhes is should be based on population but this article is replace with Article 84 of the new constitution which deleted second part of Madhes.
  • Article 21 states that “the right to participate in state structures on the basis of principles of proportional inclusion” which in new constitution under Article 42 the word proportional is dropped.
  • Article 283 of the Constitution states that only citizens by descent will be entitled to hold the posts of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament, Chairperson of National Assembly, Head of Province, Chief Minister, Speaker of Provincial Assembly and Chief of Security Bodies. This clause is seen as discriminatory for the large number of Madhesis who have acquired citizenship by birth or naturalisation.
  • Article 86 of the new Constitution states that National Assembly will comprise 8 members from each of 7 States and 3 nominated members. Madhesi parties want representation in National Assembly to be based on population of the Provinces.
  • Five disputed districts of Kanchanpur, Kailali, Sunsari, Jhapa and Morang: Based on the majority of the population, these districts or parts of them may be included in the neighbouring Madhes Provinces
  • Article 154 of the Interim Constitution provided for delineation of electoral constituencies every 10 years. This has been increased to 20 years in Article 281 of the new Constitution. Echoing the Madhesi parties, India wants this restored to 10 years.
  • Article 11(6) states that a foreign woman married to a Nepali citizen may acquire naturalised citizenship of Nepal as provided for in a federal law. Madhesi parties want acquisition of naturalised citizenship to be automatic on application.