Constitution of Nepal

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Nepal is governed under the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007.[1] It came into force on January 15, 2007. It replaced the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1990. The Interim Constitution was drafted to facilitate and manage the Nepali constitutional transformation process that started with the massive people's movement against the Monarchy in April 2006 (Second Jana Andolan). The Interim Constitution was also drafted to manage the transition of Nepal from a unitary, constitutional monarchy country to a federal republic.

Nepal Constituent Assembly[edit]

The [[Interim Constitut on]] provides for a Constituent Assembly, which was charged with writing Nepal's permanent constitution. Under the terms of the Interim Constitution, the new constitution was to be promulgated by May 28, 2010; but the Constituent Assembly changed the deadline of May 28, 2010 by a year because of many points of disagreement between the political parties. On May 25, 2011, the Supreme Court of Nepal ruled that the 2010 extension of the Interim Constitution was not right. After May 29, 2011 the Constituent Assembly kept on extending the Interim Constitution by a few months at a time.

On May 28, 2012, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai dissolved the Constituent Assembly after it failed to finish the constitution in its last time extension, ending four years of constitution drafting and leaving the country in a legal vacuum.[2][3] Elections to a second Constituent Assembly were held on November 19, 2013 and political leaders have pledged to draft a new constitution within a year.[4][dated info]. The new elected parliament expressed commitment that the new constitution would be promulgated on January 22, 2015 however, due to continued differences on key issues including system of governance, judicial system and federation issuses like number, name and areas of the states to be carved, the constitution could not be finalized and promulgated.

As originally conceived, a constitutional monarch was head of the executive branch and quite a powerful figure, even though his or her power was limited by the constitution and the elected parliament. Some of the framers of the US Constitution may have envisaged the president as an elected constitutional monarch, as the term was then understood, following Montesquieu's account of the separation of powers.[5]

The present-day concept of a constitutional monarchy developed in the United Kingdom, where the democratically elected parliaments, and their leader, the prime minister, exercise power, with the monarchs having ceded power and remaining as a titular position. In many cases the monarchs, while still at the very top of the political and social hierarchy, were given the status of "servants of the people" to reflect the new, egalitarian position. In the course of France's July Monarchy, Louis-Philippe I was styled "King of the French" rather than "King of France".

Following the Unification of Germany, Otto von Bismarck rejected the British model. In the constitutional monarchy established under the Constitution of the German Empire which Bismarck inspired, the Kaiser retained considerable actual executive power, while the Imperial Chancellor needed no parliamentary vote of confidence and ruled solely by the imperial mandate. However this model of constitutional monarchy was discredited and abolished following Germany's defeat in the First World War. Later, Fascist Italy could also be considered as a "constitutional monarchy" of a kind, in that there was a king as the titular head of state while actual power was held by Benito Mussolini under a constitution. This eventually discredited the Italian monarchy and led to its abolition in 1946. After the Second World War, surviving European monarchies almost invariably adopted some variant of the constitutional monarchy model originally developed in Britain.

Nowadays a parliamentary democracy that is a constitutional monarchy is considered to differ from one that is a republic only in detail rather than in substance. In both cases, the titular head of state—monarch or president—serves the traditional role of embodying and representing the nation, while the government is carried on by a cabinet composed predominantly of elected Members of Parliament.

Previous Constitutions[edit]

Previous constitutions of Nepal were enacted in 1999, 1959, 1962 and 1990.[6]

In 1948, the Government of Nepal Act was enacted. Since the mid-nineteenth century, the country had been a monarchy where the prime ministers, from the Rana dynasty, had sweeping control over the affairs of the state.[7] The 1948 document introduced limited democratic elements, but the experiment was not successful due to the misgivings of the Rana rulers to give away power.[8]

The 1951 interim constitution was promulgated after the end of the Rana period, which was prompted by the popular dissatisfaction with the regime.[9] This text strengthened the authority of the king, and introduced relevant reforms such as the creation of the Supreme Court and the inclusion of fundamental rights and socio-economic goals to be pursued by the state.[10]

The 1959 constitution followed the previously mentioned interim text. Interestingly, despite the establishment of a bicameral parliament, the king continued to hold important powers such as the prerogative to appoint half of the members of the Senate and the suspension of parliament under certain circumstances.[11]

The democratic experiment was short-lived, as in 1962 a new constitution came in to eliminate political parties, and to introduce the so-called panchayat system. In this model, panchayats were councils organized at the local level, presumably to ensure the representation of citizens. However, the king exercised much stronger authority than in the 1959 regime. and could modify the constitution or suspend it in case of emergency.[12]

In 1990, the first Jana Andolan, Popular Revolt, brought multi-party democracy back to Nepal. The 1990 constitution lifted the ban on political parties, described a democratic representative system where the authority of the king was curtailed, and enshrined fundamental rights.[13] Although the 1990 constitution substantially increased the democratic character of the state in comparison with the panchayat regime, critiques have argued that this text did not adequately represent all sectors of society, even though Nepal is a multi-cultural country where diverse social groups coexist [14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2063 (2007) As Amended by the First to Sixth Amendments (Bilingual)
  2. ^ CA dissolved after epic failure
  3. ^ BBC: Nepal enters crisis mode as constitution talks fail
  4. ^ "Nepal takes step towards new constitution. Political leaders had pledged to draw up constitution within a year as new parliament convenes.". Al Jazeera. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ International Constitutional Law -- Nepal
  8. ^;
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Krishna Hacchethu, The Second Transformation of Nepali Political Parties, in NEPAL: NEW FRONTIERS OF RESTRUCTURING OF STATE 125 (Lok Raj Baral ed., 2008); Tulsi Ram Pandey, Social Change and Political Participation, in NEPAL: QUEST FOR PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY 90 (Lok Raj Baral ed., 2006).
  14. ^ Mahendra Lawoti, Constitution as Sources of Exclusion: An Overview of the 1990 Constitution, in DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTION MAKING: EXPERIENCES FROM NEPAL, KENYA, SOUTH AFRICA AND SRI LANKA 11 (Hari P. Bhattarai & Jhalak Subedi eds., 2007)

External links[edit]

Preliminary Considerations", Himalayan Research Bulletin, Vol. XI, Nos. 1-3, 1991 at the University of Texas