The mountainous country of Nepal seems to be facing a political storm after Parliamentary Party (PP) of the Nepali Congress (NC) on Tuesday issued a press statement asking the KP Sharma Oli government to modify multiple bills that allegedly violate the preamble and provisions of the Nepali constitution. NC's main issue with these bills is if they are not amended they may curtail freedom of expression.
The main opposition party of Nepal accused the ruling party of not giving credence to the difference of opinion expressed by their lawmakers in the parliamentary committee on Citizenship Bill, Federal Civil Service Bill and Information Technology Bill, local Nepalese media reported. No bill that violates the preamble and provisions of the constitution will be acceptable to the Nepali Congress. The NC urges the government to modify the bills that violate the spirit and the provisions of the constitution, the party said. Bal Krishna Khand of the NC told Nepalese media that they are against the Nepali Communist Party's (NCP) intend to unanimously proceed with the amendment of the controversial bills to retain the provisions that allowed foreign women married to Nepali men to obtain Nepali citizenship immediately after marriage.
"Some ruling NCP lawmakers are arguing that the provisions related to marital naturalization should be changed and foreign women married to Nepali men should be made to wait for some years before they get their naturalized citizenship. This is irrational and we will not accept their arguments," Khand said. "If a waiting period is introduced for obtaining marital naturalization, then foreign women married to Nepali men might not get a share of their husband's property before they obtain their citizenship nor will they enjoy reproductive health rights," he added. Khand also alleged that the Information Technology Bill had restrictive provisions that could curtail press freedom and citizens' freedom of expression."Information Technology Bill intends not only to restrict online media but also discourages people from criticizing public post holders. We cannot support such provisions," he said. NC wants those provisions to be excluded from the bill, he added.
Moreover, the NC leader said that his party would also stall parliament proceedings if the ruling party did not modify the provisions of the NHRC Act (Amendment) Bill and National Security Council Bill in the Parliament Secretariat. "We are also against the bill that proposes to give the prime minister-led committee the power to handle mega projects worth over Rs 25 billion", the NC leader said. Meanwhile, the NCP Chief Whip Dev Prasad Gurung said his party had put bills opposed by the NC on hold."We have passed almost all the bills on the basis of consensus with the opposition parties and want to do the same with other bills. NC should not think of adopting the extreme measure of stalling House proceedings," he added.
(With inputs from ANI)