The House of Representatives on Saturday unanimously endorsed the second amendment to the constitution of Nepal to update the country’s new political map in the national emblem.
All lawmakers present in the House voted for the bill as all the parties had issued a whip.
“All 258 lawmakers present in the meeting voted for the bill while there was no vote against it. I announce that the bill has been endorsed by more than a two-thirds majority,” said Speaker Agni Sapkota. The bill now needs to be endorsed by the National Assembly and authenticated by the president before it comes into effect. Four lawmakers of 275 strong House are suspended on either the corruption charge or criminal office. Therefore, the bill needed two-third of 270 as per Article 274 (8) of the Constitution of Nepal.
The government on Tuesday had presented the bill in the Lower House for theoretical discussion, which unanimously endorsed a proposal to consider a second amendment to the constitution of Nepal the same day. Except for Samajbadi Party lawmaker Sarita Giri, no other lawmakers registered an amendment to the bill. The Samajbadi party had asked Giri to withdraw the amendment upon threat of internal action, but Giri refused to do so.
Giri’s amendment to the bill had sought to retain the old map in the national emblem as there was no evidence to claim Lipmiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani as part of Nepal, she had argued.
Speaker Sapkota, however, decided to scrap her proposal, as per Clause 112 of the House of Representatives’ regulations, which say that any amendment proposal to a bill cannot contradict the primary spirit of the bill. Giri boycotted the House after the Speaker’s announcement that her amendment proposal was scrapped.
The Cabinet, on May 20, had issued a new administrative map of the country incorporating Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani, all territories disputed with India, into Nepali territory. The government, two days later, registered a bill in Parliament, seeking to amend Schedule 3 of the constitution to update Nepal’s new political map in the national emblem.
Nepal decided to release its new political map after India earlier last month opened a link road via Lipulekh to Kailash Mansarovar in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Shiva Maya Tumbahangphe had presented the bill for endorsement after a detailed discussion in the House.
Cross-party lawmakers had welcomed the bill but had also asked the government to expedite political and diplomatic dialogue with India to bring the land back in Nepal’s possession.
The government has based the new map on the Sugauli Treaty signed between Nepal and British India in 1816, which states that all lands east of the Kali River belong to Nepal. While Nepal has argued that Limpiyadhura is the origin of the river, India has claimed Kalapani as the source.