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House to set ball rolling to impeach Karki from Sunday

KATHMANDU. A Parliament meeting on Sunday is set to fix the date and time for theoretical discussion on an impeachment motion against Lokman Singh Karki. Karki’s status as Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority chief is currently suspended following the registration of the impeachment motion.

As many as 157 lawmakers from the governing CPN (Maoist Centre) and the main opposition CPN-UML on Wednesday evening registered a proposal at the Parliament Secretariat, seeking to impeach Karki, in the first impeachment process ever initiated in the country’s parliamentary history.

A rough calculation, based on the existing rules, shows it will take at least six weeks for the completion of the impeachment process.

Firstly, discussion on the motion could continue for a maximum of three days depending upon the number of lawmakers wishing to speak.

Though the matter had already been included in Thursday’s business, the House meeting was postponed until Sunday. According to Babin Sharma, press adviser to Speaker Onasari Gharti, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had requested her to postpone the meeting to discuss the matter with the Nepali Congress (NC).

Once Sunday’s meeting fixes the date and time, discussion on the motion is most likely to start from Monday.

As per Parliament Regulations, the House must start discussion on the motion within seven days from the date of its registration.

Following theoretical discussion on the motion, it will be sent to the Impeachment Recommendation Committee (IRC) which will have a maximum of 30 days to study and investigate into the charges against Karki.

According to Dilnath Giri, a member of the IRC, the committee will investigate whether the reasons given for the impeachment are genuine.

The 157 lawmakers in their impeachment motion have claimed that Karki breached his jurisdiction and violated the constitution.

“We will see if the claims are genuine and make recommendations accordingly,” said Giri, adding that the 30-day deadline will start after the motion arrives at the committee. The 11-member IRC formed on Wednesday, however, lacks terms of reference. A sub-committee has been formed to draft the ToR.

Once the motion lands at the IRC, it will summon Karki within seven days to let him defend himself. He, however, can skip the summons.

After completing its study and investigation, the IRC will forward its recommendation(s) to Parliament which then will start clause-wise discussion. If the members of the IRC have conflicting views, a decision will be taken through majority votes. Any member of the committee is free to register note of dissent which too could be decided through voting in Parliament.

Giri said it may take around a week for clause-wise discussion in Parliament before it is tabled for endorsement.

If any lawmaker, in course of clause-wise discussion, demands further investigation into the case, the Speaker can resend the motion to the IRC, giving it one more week to carry out further study/ investigation.

The House then will finally start the process to decide the fate of Karki through voting.

At least two-thirds majority of total number of lawmakers will be required to endorse the motion. Given the present strength of Parliament, 397 lawmakers have to vote in favour of the motion for it to get endorsed. Hence, the impeachment motion cannot be endorsed without the support from the NC which has 207 seats in Parliament. The parties that have moved the motion–the Maoist Centre and the UML–have 265 lawmakers in Parliament.

If the motion is endorsed by a two-thirds majority, Karki will be relieved of his office. “If the impeachment motion is passed by at least two-thirds majority of the total number of members, the concerned person shall be relieved of his or her office,” says Article 101 (2) of the constitution.

Published: 21-10-2016 08:26

वि.सं.२०७३ कात्तिक ५ शुक्रवार १६:४० मा प्रकाशित

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