Sunday, November 11, 2007

Proposed Constitution

  1. Nepal is a democratic republic, a total, transparent democracy, with the sovereignty resting with the Nepali people.
Article 1: The Legislative Branch
  1. There is to be a lower house with 300 members, and an upper house with 100 members. Elections for both are to take place at once. The Terai districts are to have a share of the 300 seats in direct proportion to their share of the national population.
  2. Members of the lower house are to be elected through 75 multi member constituencies and the largest remainder formula. Every third name on a party's list must be female.
  3. Members of the upper house are to be elected through a fully PR election. Every other name on a party's list must be female. Each party's representation will be in direct proportion to the votes earned. Any party that earns at least 1% of the votes will be recognized as a national party, eligible for state funding.
  4. The entire parliament is dissolved en masse when their term of four years nears expiration. All elections must be held on the non work day, Saturday.
  5. The basic human right to peaceful assembly means political parties may not bear arms, other than that there are no rules, no prohibitions, as in ethnic parties can be organized, Dalit parties can be organized.
  6. Private and public sector media entities wanting to cover live the proceedings in the national parliament may do so.
  7. All matters of national importance are to be decided by the national parliament through a majority vote unless otherwise stated. Parliamentary procedures are to be laid out or revised with a 60% vote margin.
  8. The houses are to elect their Speakers and Deputy Speakers. The houses shall assemble at least once every four months, and as often as necessary. The Speaker does not get to vote in the parliament.
  9. No parliamentarian may be arrested while the parliament might be in session except for felony charges. Their speech in parliament is protected from any and all oversight, legal and otherwise.
  10. A simple majority of the parliament will pass the budget. The annual budget is tabled by the President.
  11. All bills must be posted online in three languages - Nepali, Hindi and English - for at least one week before they may be voted upon.
  12. All regional and international treaties that Nepal might enter into will have to pass a 60% majority in the parliament.
  13. Political parties may not engage in fund-raising activities. Instead each national party will get an annual sum that will be directly proportional to the number of votes it earned for the national parliament. That money is to be used for party-building and electioneering activities. Details of expenses are to be posted online in the three languages to the last paisa on at least an annual basis.
  14. Tickets for all elections are distributed by parties through democratic methods involving members at or below the said level in their respective organizations.
  15. The Election Commission puts in place ceilings as to election expenditures. Independent candidates may not raise money, but may spend their own money that may not exceed the amount of the party candidate spending the most money. Once elected independent candidates may not join a national party for at least one year.
  16. A party may not charge its members more than Rs 60 a year. This is to be the only non-state source of income for parties, national and otherwise.
  17. Every person on the state's payroll - elected officials, bureaucrats, judges, police, army personnel, teachers, health care workers - is to submit a Family Property Statement, to be posted online and archived and updated annually. Upon exiting the public sector, they may discontinue the practice, but the archives will remain, and the updates will resume should the individuals re-enter public service.
  18. The national parliament is to engineer early retirements among state employees and downsizing of the Armed Police Force and the army and a 50% reservation for the DaMaJaMa among new hires and recruits with the goal of ending up with a state apparatus that mirrors the ethnic and gender composition of the larger national population as closely as possible.
  19. Details of all expenses incurred by the state, to the last paisa, are to be posted online in the three languages. All contracts offered by the state to the private sector are to be bid for in a similar transparent manner from beginning to the end. All job applications and promotions in the public sector are to be similarly handled in a transparent manner. All government salaries and non salary incomes are to be kept public online.
  20. All formal political deliberations at all levels of government in the long run and at the national level in the short run are to be posted online in as real time as possible in the language that was used at the venue. Efforts are to be made to make the same available in Nepali, Hindi and English. All votes are to be similarly made public.
  21. Every elected official at all levels of government is to get a decent monthly salary.
  22. Anyone above the age of 16 is a legible voter. Members of the lower house will have to be at least 22 years of age, and that of the upper house at least 25 years of age. All elected officials are to have been citizens.
  23. Acts of impeachment require a vote of 65%. This constitution can be amended by the same vote margin.
  24. The parliamentarians may not increase their salaries in a way that might affect the members of the existing class. The same applies to the salaries of members of the cabinet.
  25. The parliament may create, merge and dissolve ministries, agencies and commissions as necessary.
Article 2: The Executive Branch
  1. The President is directly elected by the people. If a candidate not earn 50% of the votes, a second round is to be held within a month of the first when the two top candidates contest. The President serves a four year term and is elected two years separate from the parliament.
  2. A candidate has to be a citizen and at least 30 years of age.
  3. The President may select members to the Cabinet that might or might not be members of the parliament. But if a MP get into the cabinet, that parliamentary seat goes vacant.
  4. The President makes nominations to the Supreme Court and other constitutional bodies like the Election Commission (EC) and the Commission to Control Corruption (CCC) - both of which are autonomous - to be confirmed by a 60% vote in the parliament. The commissioners serve six year terms.
  5. The army, to be called the Nepal Army, is not to be larger than 0.1% of the national population and is to be downsized accordingly within 5 years of this constitution getting promulgated. The President is the Commander-In-Chief of the army. The army can be abolished with a 65% vote in the parliament.
  6. The central bank is to be autonomous, and the Chairperson, to serve a six year term, is to be appointed by the President, subject to a 60% vote in the parliament.
  7. All appointments made by the President, except for his or her personal staff, will need a majority vote in the upper house for confirmation, unless otherwise stated.
  8. The President signs bills passed by the parliament. The President may also be the originator of bills to the parliament.
  9. The President may send back a bill passed by the parliament. But if the parliament send it back to him or her with a 65% vote, it has to be signed.
  10. If the President not respond to a bill within 10 days of it having been sent, it is to be assumed signed.
Article 3: The Judiciary Branch
  1. The judiciary will reflect the composition of the government, from village/town to district, to the national level. Towns and cities with more than 25,000 people will be served with more than one court. The number of district courts is to depend on population and legal traffic. There will be a layer between the district and the national levels, the Appeals Court. The system is to be peopled like the civil service, on merit.
  2. The President makes nominations to the national Supreme Court subject to the parliament for 60% of the vote. Justices to the Supreme Court are to serve to the age of 65 or upto their voluntary retirement.
  3. The Supreme Court interprets the constitutionality of laws passed by the parliament when thus challenged, but such interpretations may be overturned by the parliament through a 65% vote.
  4. The parliament may not diminish the salary of a sitting judge.
Article 4: Districts
  1. The districts will have their own governments, named Zillapalika. The village units are to be called Grampalika, the town units are to be called Nagarpalika, and the city units Mahanagarpalika, and will form the third layer of government. District, town/city and village elected officials are to be at least 20 years of age.
  2. The voters in the districts will directly elect the District Chairperson. Mayors for towns and villages are also to be directly elected. Each directly elected official must have secured at least 50% of the votes cast.
  3. The judicial and law enforcement services are to be operated as meritocratic, inclusive civil services by the national government.
  4. The directly elected district chairperson sits atop the police structure in his or her district and appoints the district chief of police for the duration of the chairperson's term. The chairperson also appoints the Chief District Officer who looks after the state bureaucracy.
  5. The income tax structure is to be as follows: 50% national, 30% district, and 20% village/town/city. The income tax is to be collected by the national government, and funds transferred by the same to the other levels of government as per this formula, and is to be gradually phased in where none might be getting collected now.
  6. The federal revenue from all sources other than income tax is also to be similarly allocated. 60% stays at the national level, 35% goes to the 75 districts in proportion to their population. 5% goes to the 25 districts with the lowest per capita income in proportion to their population.
  7. The education system shall follow a tri-lingual policy up to Grade 10, beyond which it is for each individual institution to decide on its own as to the language of instruction. The first language is to be the student's first language, the second language is to be Nepali. For those for whom Nepali might be their first language, the student may choose any language spoken in Nepal. The third language is to be English, the contemporary global language of science and commerce. This policy applies to schools in both the private and the public sectors. The language of instruction for all other subjects to Grade 10 will be a decision to be made by the individual school board for the public schools and by the owners of the private schools: it is to be one of the three - Nepali, Hindi, and English - or a combination. Other languages spoken in Nepal may also be added to the list after an autonomous, national Education Commission decides that enough educational material is available in the said language.
  8. It is for the national parliament to decide on the use of second and third local languages as the languages of government at the local levels. District legislatures may send requests to the national parliament through the district chairperson. Nepali shall be the language of government throughout the country at all levels of government.
Article 5: The Individual
  1. The individual is the most important component of the state and is to be protected and celebrated. The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights is the bedrock of this constitution.
  2. Every person has a birth right to freedom of speech, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of religion, a right to a speedy, public trial, and a right to privacy, a protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. No person may be tried and punished for the same crime twice. No person will be compelled to testify against themselves. No person will be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Private property may not be taken for public use without due compensation. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended. No ex post facto law shall be passed. No warrants are to be issued, except upon probable cause, and should specifically describe the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. A person charged with a crime is to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his or her favor, and is to have the Assistance of Counsel for his or her defense.
  3. Every person born in Nepal to a citizen of Nepal, father or mother, is a citizen of Nepal. But this does not prevent people not born in Nepal from seeking Nepali citizenship.
  4. Every person is equal under the law. Any law that might conflict with that fundamental premise will become null and void as soon as this constitution takes effect.
  5. No person shall be taxed more than 40% of their income by all levels of government put together. Those in the bottom 40% income brackets are not to pay any direct taxes.
  6. No business may be taxed more than 30% of its profits, and businesses in the bottom 30% income brackets will not pay any direct taxes. All business expenses are tax write-offs.
  7. The sales tax may not exceed 10%.
  8. Elections at all levels are to be organized on Saturdays, the non work day.
  9. No citizen of age may be barred from voting for whatever reason except when they might be serving time.
  10. It is a stated goal of the state to make possible lifelong education for every person in the country through creative partnerships between the private and public sectors, and through creative uses of the internet, FM and other technology. The state shall also attempt to provide universal access to secondary education and primary health care, free of cost. The secondary education provision applies to people in all age groups.
  11. The state shall attempt to provide universal access to micro-credit to all in the bottom 40% income brackets, not all of it by the public sector.
  12. All persons that might enter into agreements, either in the private or the public sector, to access credit will have the option to declare bankruptcy as a last resort, but such declarations may stay on that person's credit record. Money owed by an individual, as opposed to by a business or a corporation, may not be passed on to the next generation. Indentured servitude is an illegal form of collecting money owed by an individual or family. Money owed may not be paid for through manual labor. Any person, group or organization, lending money on interest, the total of which is larger than Rs 20,000, to be indexed to inflation as calculated every five years and rounded to the nearest thousand, is to register as a small business owner, and will be subject to taxation and regulation.
  13. All educational institutions, public and private, must have at least 10% of its students on need-based full scholarships. Institutions may also opt to have 5% on such full scholarships, and 10% on need-based half scholarships, or 5% on full, 6% on half, and 6% on one-third scholarships. But at no time should the proportion of full scholarships dip below 5%.
  14. Employees of the state in the education and health sectors will be paid salaries that are at least 10% larger than to those with similar qualifications serving in other fields.
  15. An accurate, scientific census is to be conducted every 10 years, and scientific projections are to be made for the intervening years.
Article 6: Capital
  1. Within 10 years of this constitution getting promulgated, the national capital is to be shifted to Chitwan.

Proposed Constitution (June 26, 2007)
Proposed Constitution (May 26, 2007)
Proposed Constitution (February 7, 2007)
प्रस्तािवत संिवधान (Full page version) (November 15)
Proposed Constitution (November 14)
Interim Constitution, Revolutionary Parliament (April 8)
Proposed Republican Constitution 2006 (January 1)
Proposed Constitution (December 19)
Proposed Constitution (November 17)
Proposed Constitution (September 3)
Proposed Democratic Republican Constitution (August 12)
Janata Dal Constitution (August 8)
Proposed Constitution (June 18)
Reorganized UN, Proposed Constitution, Methods (May 30)
Proposed Constitution (May 3)
Shortcut To A New Constitution, Shortcut To Peace (April 8)
This Inadequate, Improper, Insufficient 1990 Constitution (April 4)

No comments: