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Not getting down to business

Friday, November 11th, 2016
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Madhesi MPs walk out of Parliament on Friday. Photo: RSS

After a long festival break, Parliament resumed deliberations on the impeachment motion against the suspended CIAA Chief Lokman Singh Karki on Friday.

But the process to impeach Karki is likely to drag on longer than expected, with the Impeachment Committee of the House unable to elect its President and finalise necessary guidelines. And the Nepali Congress, the largest party in Parliament, is still undecided whether to endorse the motion.

Despite his party’s indecision, NC MP Dhan Raj Gurung stressed the need to pass the impeachment motion, accusing Karki of violating the Constitution and undermining democratic institutions. “There is a conspiracy to protect Karki,” he said. “If we fail, Parliament will lose its relevance.”

Purushottam Poudel of UML and Shiva Chandra Chaudhary of ML also pressed for impeaching Karki.  Rashtriya Jan Morcha MP Chitra Bahadur KC urged the House to investigate even those who appointed Karki as the CIAA Chief in 2013.

The list of MPs who have registered their names to speak about the impeachment motion is long, and Parliament may need weeks to conclude the debate on this matter. And Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar is scheduled to go on a week-long visit to Russia, further delaying the impeachment proceedings.

Meanwhile, Madhesi parties are putting pressure on the NC-Maoist leadership to table the constitution amendment bill along with the impeachment motion. Although the main opposition UML has agreed in principle to carry forward the motion and the bill simultaneously, it has asked the NC-Maoist leadership to explain why another amendment is needed.

Miffed at the delay to amend the Constitution, Madhesi MPs walked out of the House on Friday. They have refused to participate in the impeachment process unless the constitution amendment bill is registered in Parliament.

As Parliament faces hiccups in the impeachment process, Karki is reportedly planning to challenge the motion against him at the Supreme Court. Lawyers have reportedly advised him to claim that the signatures of the MPs used in registering the impeachment motion were forged.

However, Karki himself faces two legal cases – a writ that claims he was illegally appointed as the CIAA Chief and a charge of contempt of court. The Supreme Court is set to conduct a joint hearing on both these cases on 1 December.

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