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Lawmakers accused of crime not to be suspended

By Our Reporter
The committees formed to prepare business rules for the House of Representatives and National Assembly finalised rules provisioning that lawmakers accused of crime carrying jail term of three years or more would not be suspended.
Chairman of House of Representatives Business Rules Drafting Committee Krishna Bhakta Pokharel said a lawmaker would be suspended only when s/he was convicted of a crime by the last tier of the court and sent to jail. “This means that if a lawmaker is accused of a crime carrying jail term of three years or more or is in judicial custody, he or she will not be suspended, but will be deprived of facilities that s/he is entitled to. Also, a convicted lawmaker cannot take part in parliamentary proceedings,” he added.
However,  Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal lawmaker Laxman Lal Karna said he did not agree with the decision to deprive lawmakers accused of crime carrying jail term of three years or more of pay and perks. “Depriving a lawmaker of pay and perks without suspension is not logical,” he said. Karna also said the draft rules should clearly state that a lawmaker accused but not convicted of a crime should be allowed to take oath of office and secrecy, but other members argued that since the constitution had not barred accused lawmakers from taking oath of office and secrecy, it was not necessary to state this in the HoR Business Rules draft.
RJP-N lawmaker Resham Chaudhary who had been indicted in the Kailali carnage was sent to judicial custody. The RJP-N has been demanding that he be allowed to take oath of office and secrecy.
Chair of National Assembly Business Rules Drafting Committee Parshuram Meghi Gurung said the committee decided to have similar provisions in the NA’s Business Rules draft regarding suspension of lawmakers accused of crime carrying jail term of three years or more.
Lawmakers from the Nepali Congress, Madhes-based parties and the CPN-Maoist Centre opposed the proposal to suspend lawmakers accused of crime. Only the CPN-UML lawmakers had demanded a provision for suspending lawmakers accused of crime.

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