Three years after Nepal’s constitution was promulgated, experts from the region are gathering in Kathmandu for a three-day conference to discuss progress in translating it into better governance, inclusion and due process, as well as the challenges in agreeing to amendments.
Jointly organised by Kathmandu University School of Law and the South Asia Trust, the Conference on the Constitution of Nepal 2015 will be inaugurated by President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Saturday and will conclude in the presence of Prime Minister K P Oli.
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The gathering will review the strengths and weaknesses of the constitution, especially in institutionalizing federalism and take stock of the three elections last year to local, provincial and federal assemblies.
“The conference will be important to identify ways for Nepal to advance by following the constitution, and also to clean up contradictions and ambiguities in it,” says Kanak Mani Dixit, a member of the organising committee. “The timing of the conference is crucial to provide insights for an effective, decentralised implementation of the constitution.”
Constitutional experts agree that it is important that the 2015 statute succeeds to ensure the country’s stability. Its failure would reopen wounds of the past related to issues such as federalism and secularism, which could push the country towards chaos.
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Participants of the conference include jurists, constitutionalists, academics, political representatives, analysts, economists, activists from Nepal, South Asia and overseas. Among them are Kamal Hossain, the founding father of the Bangladeshi constitution, who will deliver an opening address.
International figures flying in for the conference include Menaka Guruswamy, Mahendra Pal Singh, Kåre Vollan, Qianfan Zhang, Mara Malagodi, and Sara Hossain, among others.
The conference will have three plenaries and nine panel discussions. Speakers will present papers prepared especially for the conference, with inputs from commentators. Subjects include the economy, fundamental rights, comparative analysis to constitutions of South Asia, constitutional bench, check and balance in governance, historical journey through the two constituent assemblies. Presentations will be compiled into a book after the conference.