Nepali Times Asian Paints
Constitution Supplement
A role for experts


MIN RATNA BAJRACHARYA
EXPERT OPINION: Constitional Commitee, the biggest committe of the CA, starts consultations with experts to draft the new constitution.
Nepal has a 70-year old constitutional history. Writing the new one should be based on the foundation of the past experiences. We need to analyse the past weakness but also build on what worked and what didn't in the 1990 constitution.

Words like 'federalism' and 'secularism' have their meanings and connotations, which we need to understand. The meanings must be seen in context and what they mean for Nepal at the present time.

Nepali constitutional experts need to explain to CA members as well as the people what these words mean. It is the role of constitution experts to make public understand the complex legal and technical aspects of the constitution.They should be able to relate the constitution to the people with the help of political parties and media.

Experts should not have preconceived notions or political prejudices, it should be an open and transparent exercise. They need to do a comparative study of constitution making process, complexities and its characteristics implemented in various countries and explain them to the CA members and the public.

For that, it is necessary for national experts to have interactions with international experts. If foreign constitutional experts have direct interactions with committee members in the CA there is a chance that politics and historical complexity will become more important than the constitution itself. The role of these experts is to adapt international experiences suit our country's need.

The most sensitive aspect of present constitution making is to settle the issue of identity politics. Pressure groups and lobbyists in the NGO movement have been involved in raising the demands. In some cases the demands are contradictory, and it is up to the experts to dispassionately study the contentious demands and assimilate them.

Political issues were prioritised in the 1990 constitution, and this time social and ethnic issues predominate. It is the role of experts to explain and facilitate the settling of the complexities of constitution writing.



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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