Constitution of The Kingdom of Nepal 2015

Introduction of Constitution of The Kingdom of Nepal 2015

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 2015 was promulgated and implemented in 1st Falgun 2015 and consisted of 10 Parts and 77 Articles. It was made through a Special Commission with Shree Bhagavati Prasad Singh and Ivor Jennings.

It guaranteed Fundamental Rights to the Nepali Citizens, elected Government, Parliamentary Monarchy, Constitutional Commissions as well as Major Privileges of the King.

The proposition of the Interim Government of Nepal Act, Political Instability, and the pressure of Political Parties was the major cause behind the formation of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 2015.

Reasons for the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 2015

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 2015 was formulated mostly because of Political and Constitutional Reasons.

Interim Government of Nepal Act 2007

The Major Cause behind the formulation of a new Constitution was the interim nature of the Previous Constitution, the Interim Government of Nepal Act 2007. Nepal didn’t have a Legislative Body and lacked many Constitutional Elements required in a Constitution.

Hence, to ensure the presence of Major Elements such as Fundamental Rights, Legislative-Parliament and guarantee parliamentary practice in Nepal, this Constitution was promulgated.

However, as stipulated by the previous Agreement, a Constituent Assembly wasn’t present for the making of the Constitution.

Political Instability

After the End of the Rana Regime, the Cabinet of Nepal had been changed multiple times. Mohan Shumsher, Matrika Prasad Koirala, KI Singh, and Tanka Prasad Acharya were all selected and removed from the Post of Prime Minister in a Short Period of Time.

The Removal of the Prime Minister resulted because of the revolting nature of the Political Parties and the dissatisfaction of the King as well. B.P Koirala even registered Cases against the Prime Minister to question their legality.

Suvarna Shumsher’s Cabinet

Finally, King Mahendra took absolute Power upon his hand and conducted a Political Convention to decide how and who shall conduct the Election.

Ultimately, Suvarna Shumsher was decided to be the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers and lead Nepal to its very First Election. King Mahendra also declared that Falgun 7th 2015 would be the Election date throughout the country.

On 5th Jestha 2015 a Six Member of the Cabinet of Ministers with Suvarna Shumsher as the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers was forged.

Ambitions of King Mahendra

King Mahendra didn’t desire a Constituent Assembly to make the Constitution of Nepal. He also believed that the Constitution could potentially limit his Power.

Hence, in order to make a Constitution of his choice and ensure the longevity of Monarchial Power in Nepal, he formed a Special Constitution Commission.

Features of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 2015

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 2015 was drafted under the Leadership of King Mahendra himself. The King had formed a Constitutional Commission under the leadership of Bhagavati Prasad Singh and five other members.

The King also famously brought Sir Ivor Jennings as a Constitutional Expert for the making of the Nepali Constitution.

Nonetheless, after the rejection of Two consequent Drafts, the third Draft was selected as the Final Draft and announced in 1st Falgun 2015, a week before the Election.

Some of the Features of this Constitution are:

Amalgamation of Monarchy and Democracy

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 2015 consisted of both Monarchial Practices and Democratic Practices. Although the major Sources of Powers were vested in the King, the Council of Ministers was the major exerciser of those Powers.

The King had to compulsorily appoint the majority Party’s Leader as the Prime Minister. Hence, a unique form of Absolute Monarchial Democracy was practiced in Nepal at the time.

Supremacy of the King

The Constitution, with a direct reference or with subtlety, had assigned the bulk of the powers to the King himself. As Mahendra had been actively participating in the Formation of the Constitution, he ensured that Monarchy had absolute Powers.

The King had been granted all Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Powers. Although some limitations to the Power existed, the King could use it with his Discretion. He had supreme command over the military.

He had emergency Powers that could be invoked as per Article 55 of the Constitution. Finally, all residuary and discretionary Powers were provided to the King.

Hence, this Constitution legalized an Indirect Form of Constitutional Monarchy in Nepal.

Fundamental Rights

Part 3 Article 3-9 consisted of various Fundamental Rights for the People of Nepal. Some of the Major Fundamental Rights proposed in this Constitution are:

  • 1. Rights relating to Personal Freedom
  • 2. Rights to Equality
  • 3. Rights relating to Property
  • 4. Political Freedom
  • 5. Right to Constitutional Remedy
  • 6. No State-Discrimination on the basis of Caste, Class, Gender, and Sex.

Parliamentary Practice

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 2015 institutionalized the Parliamentary form of Governance in Nepal. As Nepal’s closest diplomatic allies Great Britain and India were practicing Parliamentary System, it was deemed the most useful in Nepal.

Executive

Nepal was made a Multi-Party Absolute Monarchial Parliamentary Democracy by this Constitution.

The King himself was the main source of Executive Power in Nepal. They had the final decision-making Choice over the administrative, military, and other aspects of Nepal.

However, after the election, the Council of Ministers would exercise such rights by representing the King. So, a balance had to be struck between the Executive and the King.

The Cabinet of Ministers was to be led by the Prime Minister with a maximum of 14 ministers. The Cabinet had to be responsible to the Legislature as well. However, the King, in a situation of Emergency could suspend the Cabinet of Ministers and invoke Direct Rule.

Bicameral Legislature

As stated earlier, Nepal was governed through a Parliamentary System and hence Two Houses existed:

The Upper House

The Upper House was a Permanent House that consisted of 36 Total Members and lasted according to the discretion of the King. Single Transferable Voting System was used for the selection of the 18 Members of the Upper House where the House of Representatives voted for the members. The Rest 18 were determined by the King himself.

The House of Representatives

The House of Representatives was the Lower House and was selected by the King through Election. It consisted of 109 Members.

Nepal was divided into 109 Constituencies and First Past the Post System was used to elect the members of the House of Representatives. It was temporary in Nature and lasted for 5 years.

Constitutional Commissions

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 2015 provisioned for four Constitutional Commission. They each consisted of a Chief Commissioner that could serve the Commission for five years.

  • 1. Public Service Commission
  • 2. Election Commission
  • 3. Auditor General
  • 4. Area Division Commission

The Chief Commissioners were selected by the King under the recommendation of the Council of Ministers.

National Council

National Council was the Official Royal Assembly of the King that was related to the Royal Matters of Nepal. The Members of the National Council were selected by the King. They could remain in the Council of the King.

They had significant duties related to succession if there is conflict and other similar Royal Conflicts.

Judiciary

After the formation of the Supreme Court Act 2013, the Pradhan Nyayalaya was replaced by the Supreme Court. Hence, this Constitution has provisioned for a Supreme Court based on the Act itself.

The Chief Justice and other Judges of the Supreme Court could be selected by the King on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers. Hence, the Judiciary of Nepal hadn’t attained Independence.

Analysis and Consequences of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 2015

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 2015 had significant Social, Political, and Legal ramifications over Nepal that resulted in a huge coup by King Mahendra in 2017.

Although Multi-Party democracy was practiced, it failed because of the Absolute Monarchy that accompanied it. The Major Analysis and the consequences of this Constitution are as follows:

Multi-Party Parliamentary Democracy

This Constitution was technically instrumental Constitution as it initiated Parliamentary Democratic Practice that has persisted to this day. It also established the basic premises of election, the Legislative Assembly, and many other International Practices.

However, Nepal failed to invent or form notable political practices of its own.

Guaranteed Fundamental Rights

This Constitution is the First Constitution of Nepal to have actually ensured Fundamental Rights in Nepal. It was highly democratic and guaranteed the basic Political and Civil Rights to the People. It also ensured No State-based Discrimination in any form.

First Elected Government

This Constitution also succeded in providing Nepal its first elected Government. The Election was held in 7th Falgun 2015 and resulted in 74 Seats for Nepali Congress out of 109 Seats. B.P. Koirala was made the Leader of the Nepali Congress and became the First Elected Prime Minister of Nepal.

Royal Coup of 2017

Although the Constitution succeded in ensuring Political Rights and Elected Government, it failed to integrate the ambitions of King Mahendra.

Using the provision of Emergency Power in Article 55, Mahendra took absolute Powers upon his hand, arrested the major Politicians of Nepal, and suspended the Parliament in Poush 1st 2017. On 22nd Poush 2017, he declared the inception of the Partyless Panchayat System in Nepal.

Conclusion

Although intended at making a Democratic Constitution, it provided Absolute Authority to the Monarchy of Nepal. It introduced a Parliamentary form of Governance and hinted at the independence of the Judiciary.

Despite such provisions, it failed to consolidate the conflicts between the B.P. Koirala and King Mahendra, ultimately resulting in the Royal Coup.

Cite