Saturday 18th May 2024
Saturday 18th May 2024
गृहपृष्ठPoliticsEfforts on to make Parliament lively and people-oriented : Speaker Sapkota

Efforts on to make Parliament lively and people-oriented : Speaker Sapkota

KATHMANDU – Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota has said that people would stop anyone from going out of step and carrying out wrong activities as the Nepali people have high-level democratic character.

At a programme organised to exchange experience among Vice-Chairperson and Deputy-Speaker of seven provinces here today, Speaker Sapkota mentioned that the people have been closely watching the ongoing performances of the executive, the judiciary and the legislature.

He shared, “Activities are underway to create environment in order to make Parliament lively and people-oriented. Many questions have been raised regarding the parliament. I am making maximum efforts in this regard. The question is whether all parliamentarians under the leadership of the Speaker can make independent decision. I have taken criticism and suggestions in a positive way.”

Saying the ongoing discussion would come to a logical conclusion for nation’s welfare, the Speaker opined, “The people who have studied history are supreme. People full of patriotism will make the right decision. I have a great strength in being neutral, fair and independent.”

He argued that the Parliament should emphasize on formulation of laws as it is its main task and good results would be achieved only from positive thinking. Stating that discussion and interaction with all would make the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker easier to conduct the parliament’s meeting, Speaker Sapkota mentioned that new and challenging responsibilities have boosted confidence in all the Deputy Speakers.

He further said that although Parliament is the highest democracy practicing body, it has not been able to exercise its capabilities due to various reasons.National Assembly Vice Chair Shashikala Dahal also admits the Parliament failed to function as per the expectations in the last two years due to COVID-19 as it could not remain unaffected by the pandemic like other several sectors. The crisis barred the House to meet regular, thus making sufficient discussions on bills and other public issues impossible.

“The lack of regular sessions prevented us from learning vivid aspects of the parliament. The role of all lawmakers is equal in every parliamentary activity ranging from the formulation of acts, laws to the House operations. But women officials and lawmakers except some have realised that they were on the backburner and missed opportunities to navigate all thorough procedures.”

Province 1 Deputy Speaker Saraswoti Pokharel’s experience is that the Province Assembly had to function amidst unwanted challenges and the Deputy Speaker had to fight for own rights. “Efforts were made to curtail the rights and hurt the dignity of Deputy Speaker, but we had been able to make the corrections. Now the Deputy Speaker is also allowed to commence and conclude the Province Assembly and such practices have been helpful in developing women leadership.” She demands the guarantee of at least three women Speakers in the provinces in the days to come.

Madhesn Province Deputy Speaker Upama Kumari Dev claimed that there was no question over her competency and efficiency as the Deputy Speaker as she was doing her duties including the operation of the Province Assembly excellently.
“As a woman, I am facing several challenges and hurdles. However, the name of the Province has been finalized. Over 50 bills have been endorsed so far and some are under deliberations,” she shared Bagmati Province Speaker Radhika Tamang said in a period of four years, the Province had endorsed 61 bills.

“The inter-province experience sharing programme aimed to capacity enhancement of women parliamentarians has led to a rise in women’s role in law making.” However it felt bad to know about parliamentary business/ activities from media, she added, demanding the provision of Deputy Speaker with defined rights in the days ahead.

The understanding of Gandaki Province Deputy Speaker is that an inadequate women’s representation in parliamentary committees and the Council of Ministers indicates non-assimilation of the spirit and sentiments of the Constitution.

As she said, during her journey as the Deputy Speaker, she would sometimes question herself that why the Deputy Speaker had to wait for the Speaker’s decision to get the responsibility to conduct the Assembly. During its term, the Gandaki Province passed 50 bills and introduced the practices of special session as well. However, it went through obstacles in operating its business including the law formulation and implementation of development endevours due to the national political situation.

Karnali Province Assembly Deputy Speaker Pushpa Gharti called for making provisions ensuring that at least three Speaker’s seats should be reserved for women among the seven provinces. Deputy Speaker of the Sudurpaschim Province, Nirmala Badal said that there are two women ministers and three women ministers of state in the provincial government while two of the Province Assembly committees have woman president. She added that although the province assembly enacted 41 Acts in four years, there are still some laws related to people’s concern to be enacted. Badal shared that development works have been affected due to the insufficient number of government employees in the province.

Secreatray at the Federal Parliament Secretariat, Sudarshan Khadka opined that experience sharing would contribute to consolidation of the parliamentary process, law formulation, responsibility and accountability to the people and the federal democratic republican governance system.

Presenting a working paper on ‘Constitutional and Legal National-International System, Experiences and Practices’, senior advocate and lawmaker Khimlal Devkota said the position of the Speaker and National Assembly Chair is a constitutionally important post and the persons occupying the post should carry out the role and responsibilities befitting the post. They should be responsible and accountable to the Constitution and the parliament, he asserted. Through the working paper, Devkota has suggested that the Deputy Speaker and the Vice Chair should be understood as the leaders and they should be made answerable to the Parliament and their role iterpreted as per the law.

Other speakers of the programme stressed on doing away with the wrong practices in the implementation of the provision that requires that a woman should be elected to the post of either the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker and of Chair or Vice Chair. They argued that this provision has established the practice reducing the woman occupying the deputy post to the secondary position.

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