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Constitutional special provisions, a boon for socially, culturally backward people

Bhisma Raj Ojha, KATHMANDU: The special provisions made by the Nepal’s constitution for the protection, empowerment or uplift of the people of backward communities, classes and regions will be a boon for them once such provisions are brought into practice.
The constitution has provisions about the fundamental rights and duties from its Article 16-48 under the Part 3.
Provisions relating to the most of fundamental rights have made special stipulation for the protection , promotion and empowerment of the citizens including the socially or culturally backward women, Dalit, indigenous people, indigenous nationalities, oppressed class and so on.
The Article 46 has guaranteed the right to constitutional remedies while Article 47 is about the implementation of fundamental rights within three years of the commencement of this Constitution.
As per the constitutional provision, the Federal Parliament of Nepal has already approved all bills relating to the fundamental rights and under this condition, a legal way has been paved for the people from such communities, classes and regions for being entitled to special rights and facilities under the fundamental rights.
The then Constituent Assembly chair and Communist Party of Nepal’s parliamentary party deputy leader, Subash Chandra Nembang, described the law promulgated by the historic constituent assembly is relatively progressive, and the most inclusive than of the past ones.
“When we analyse the constitution and provisions it made for the protection and empowerment of women, dalit, ethnic, marginalized and backward communities, we found it the most inclusive fundamental law of the so far. Now time needs its effective implementation. There is a positive headway towards that end, as we have already enacted laws and acts relating to the fundamental rights which need to be endorsed by coming September 19.”
It may prove the most beautiful and inclusive constituent of the so far provided that it could be well implemented, he added.
The Article 18 which is about right to equality states that all citizens shall be equal before law, adding, ” nothing shall be deemed to prevent the making of special provisions by law for the protection, empowerment or development of the citizens including the socially or culturally backward women, Dalit, indigenous people, indigenous nationalities, Madhesi, Tharu, Muslim, oppressed class, Pichhada class, minorities, the marginalized, farmers, labours, youths, children, senior citizens, gender and sexual minorities, persons with disabilities, persons in pregnancy, incapacitated or helpless, backward region and indigent Khas Arya”.
Article 20 of the constitution has stipulated on the right to justice. This Article also provides for the right to avail of free legal assistance to the sides who cannot afford to pay for the legal services. Similarly, the Article 24 has criminalized the caste-based and racial discrimination and ensured the right to compensation to the people victimized due to this sort of discrriminations.
Nepali Congress leader Ramesh Lekhak, who played an active role in drafting the Constitution of Nepal, said that this is a permanent constitution written by the Constituent Assembly for the first time in the country’s constitutional history.
According to him, this constitution has for the first time established the identity of women, indigenous natinalities, dalits and backward classes, communities and regions as well as the minorities.
‘It has not only established the identity of such communities but has also ensured their participation in every organ of the state. The provision of constituting constitutional commissions for the uplift of women, dalit, indigenous nationalities, backward classes and communities and guarantee of access of all classes and communities to all the state bodies on the basis of proportional inclusive principles, is the main feature of this constitution,’ he said.
Stating that the proportional and inclusive participation of these classes and communities has been ensured in the federal parliament, the provincial assemblies and the local levels as per this constitutional provision, the Nepali Congress leader asserted that the constitution was oriented towards making the state inclusive in character.
Lekhak added that although there were some challenges in implementing all these provisions in the initial phase, they would be gradually put into practice.
Article 31 of the constitution has provision regarding the right to education. This fundamental right has ensured that the state should provide free and compulsory education up to the basic level to every citizen and the free education up to the secondary level.
Likewise, the constitution has made provision for provisding free education to people with disabilities and economically indigent people. Likewise, the constitution stipulates for free education to the visiually impaired people through Braille and to the hard of hearing, deaf and people with speech impairment through sign language.
The Constitution has made the arrangement of fundamental rights in employment, health, food and residence to every citizen. There is a provision of free education with scholarship to Dalit students from primary-level to higher education in the Constitution.
However, leader of Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal and member of Dispute Resolution Committee of the then Constituent Assembly, Laxman Lal Karna, has different opinion. Saying federal democratic republic and proportional inclusive were the main demand of the recent agitation, leader Karna said, “Although proportional inclusive was written in the fundamental rights from first amendment to the Constitution. Only inclusive has been written in other portion of the Constitution.”
The Article 42 of the Constitution has the provision of right to participation of state bodies on the basis of proportional inclusive theory to women, Dalits, indigenous nationalities, Madhesis, Tharus, Muslims, backward, marginalized communities, persons with disabilities, sexual minorities, farmers, who are backward in view of economic, social and educational aspects as well as economically poor Khas Arya community.
The Constitution has also the provision of right to special opportunity and benefit in education, health, residence, employment, food and social security for protection, upliftment, empowerment and development of the people from economically poor community and the community on the verge of extinction.
There is social security right to the economically poor, helpless people, helpless single women, children with disabilities and the people failing to take care of their own in the Article 43. RSS

Published Date: Wednesday, September 19th, 2018 | 02:13 AM

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