Himalyan Kingdom�s Constitutional Crisis?

September 9, 2009 at 3:12 am Leave a comment

Himalyan Kingdom�s Constitutional Crisis?

Quaisar Alam


No crisis is as discounted as avoiding, nor any solution so lasting. Vice-President Paramananda Jha of Nepal will not want any new set of constitution nor regret the controversy of so expensive diversions or plunge the country if he can be amused with Madhesi or Hindi in his closet. Probably he only needs acceptance at the bedrock of the changing history of the Himalayan Kingdom. But the other side of the story too waits unfolding!


It is said, a civilized country is known by the treatments being meted out to the ethnic groups and minorities of that country. But how far this holds with Nepal�s present crisis is a great concern for the Minorities Rights in this country. The present crisis in question is Nepali Vice-President�s oath taking ceremony in Hindi. Is oath-taking ceremony in Hindi tan amounting to unconstitutional? Is the insistence of Paramananada Jha on his stand violates in any way the covenants of the Nepali constitution? Or is the case in this discussion the blatant violation of minority or indigenous nationalities in the Himalayan kingdom?


Vice-President Parmananda Jha refused to retake the oath of office and secrecy in Nepali language as per the Supreme Court�s order, sparking a constitutional crisis in the country. Paramananda Jha neither re-took a swearing-in ceremony in Nepali nor announced his resignation.

Historically, Nepal lies in South Asia as a Himalayan kingdom. It is a small landlocked country sandwiched between the People�s Republic of China in north and the Republic of India in southeast and west. Nepal, following King Prithvinarayan Shah, is a ��Yam between two boulders���China and India. Some say it is �India locked,� others say it is �idea locked.� However, geographically, it is indeed land locked.

Coming back to Vice-President�s controversy, I can consider retaking the oath in Nepali only after the government and the constituent Assembly commit to respect all mother tongues, Paramananda Jha said to the media persons. As per amendment to the interim constititution under consideration in the Parliament proposes that the public officers including the President and Vice-President can take oath in their mother tongues. During the press conference, VP Jha blasted the Supreme Court orders and accused it of misinterpreting the interim constitution and meting out a big injustice to him.


��The decision to nullify my oath-taking in Hindi more than a year ago was against the spirit of the constitution, democratic norms and people�s fundamental rights to use their mother tongues,�� he said.

He claimed, when he took the oath, why during that time, there was no problem, and why this is being created now? According to Jha the Supreme Court verdict was accountable to create constitutional crisis and not me. As it always happens, these are sensitive issues related to religion, community, culture and language. Jha said, he respects sovereignty, unity and integrity of the Nepal. But he belongs to Madhesi group, and that should be respected, acoording to Jha.


Then question is what is the term ��Madhesi all about?�� This is one of the contested and controversial terms in Nepal. Many Nepalese peoples wrongly refer as ��Marsya,�� ��Madhise,�� ��Madise�� but they consider that uses of all these terms are insulting for them. The Madhesi scholars differentiate between the terms ��Madhesi�� and ��Teraibasi�� (Deweler of Terai region), the former is a historical, political and sociological concept that refers to a groups or communities discriminated by the dominant groups where as the latter refers to a groups or communities discriminated by the dominant groups where as the latter refers to any caste or ethnic group, including the dominant caste or group, who lives in the Terai region (Yadav 1997).

Establishment view

Even Nepali cabinet in the meeting requested VP Jha to retake the oath in Nepali language and respect the highest court of the country. Moreover, the meeting further urged Jha to understand the fluidity of transition and respect the people�s aspirations. In a new development, to persuade Jha, the leaders of Madhes-based parties called on him today and asked to take oath in Nepal and mother tongues, namely Bhojpuri, Abadhi and Maithali. ��We requested Jha to retake the oath in Nepali and his mother tongue. He assured us of considering our request,�� said chairman of Teraj Madhes Loktarik Party Mahant Thakur after speaking to the media people.


In a further development, Jha asked PM of Nepal to request the President to invalidate the Supreme Court ruling by activating the Article 151 of the interim constitution. The lawyers fraternity of Nepal is split over the VP�s refusal to take retake the oath. President of Nepal�s Bar Association and senior advocate Bishwokanta Mainali said that Nepal has become Vice-President less due to the failure of the oath in Nepali language ignoring the oath of office and secrecy of the Supreme Court. ��He is no more a Vice-President of Nepal,�� he said.

He further stated that VP Jha would face action for abusing the authority, if he continued to enjoy perks and allowances from the Nepal government. He further accused the Vice President of being a handy tool of a grand design to suppress the rights of the ethnic and indigenous people living in the Terai.Commenting on the crisis, lawyer Sher Bahadur KC said that it was very unfortunate for the nation that the VP turned down the Supreme Court ruling to retain the oath in Nepal.

However, advocate and lawmaker Radheshyam Adhkary said that the VP�s dignity would be enhanced if he had taken the oath of office and secrecy as per the SC ruling. On the other hand, VP�s lawyer Hiltman Singh said he cannot be forced to resign from the post just because he refused to retake the oath.


��For every grievance, there is a redressal mechanism, and Supreme Court of Nepal is the highest judiciary of the land. But unless any specific amendment is there to bypass the law, one feels the voice of the people of the land should be respected,�� this is how the Delhi based veteran journalist Seema Mustafa said over the ongoing crisis in the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal.



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Nepal’s language imbroglio Oath-taking imbroglio

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