#Notmyconstitution

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Photo is personal. Please do not use it anywhere else!

The constitution came…. after 8 years…apparently we had the time, and the money, and we could totally afford it…so no worries. We even survived the earthquake to live under this constitution.

But we survived to live under THIS constitution? These are six things about the constitution that really perturbs me.

1) The definition of us : “Nepal is an independent…state, oriented towards democratic socialism…”

Did we really agree to have the government take one of our two cows (that we bought from our sisters’ and brothers’ remittance) and give it to our neighbor when we voted for them to write the constitution?

Did we really agree to be forced to join a cooperative where you have to teach your neighbor how to take care of his cow (which was actually yours?)

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2) Welfare dependence: Sit back, relax, enjoy the constitution, and the country.

We have right to clean environment, employment (and thus unemployment benefit), food, healthcare, and other social securities. Everything we need is a right! You’re gonna get these things no matter what. So, Sit back, relax and enjoy the country. The omnipotent state is going to do everything for us. It does not matter if these are realistically deliverable. Where else, if not the constitution, will you dream high and set tall ideals? Afterall, उद्देश्य के लिनु उडी छुनु चन्द्र एक ….

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If you are smart, the next thing you do after reading the constitution is get hold of a good lawyer to make some good money cause there are likely to be enough opportunities to sue the government in near future. If you are lucky, you will actually get a date at the court in a couple of years and if you are super lucky and win, the government will actually pay you after losing!

3) The haziness associated with property rights: Keep your property, only as long as the state does not want it!

It does say “Every citizen shall, subject to laws, have the right to acquire, own, have professional gains, sell and otherwise utilize, or dispose of property.”

But wait….after a few lines its says : Provided that it shall not be deemed to obstruct land reform, management and regulation by the State for increasing produce and productivity of land, modernization and professionalization of agriculture, environmental protection, and for an organized settlement and urban development as provided for by sub-clause 93) and (4).

I don’t know any property owner whose property might not be interpreted to violate this law.

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4) Creating this ‘us against them’ for perpetuity : All Nepalese are equal but some are more equal than the others.

Some of us are really special to secure a special clause in the fundamental rights section. Like the Labour Unions, but not the employers huh (c’mon why put this profit hungry evil employment providers whom we don’t even need cause we now have unemployment benefits lined up). If you belong to certain caste group, great for you, you are right there on the fundamental rights section. Rest of you – better luck next constitution. Hopefully you will have become a minority by then. Divide people across those lines. Perpetuate minorities, that’s how you get elected every time.giphy

 

5) Defeating the purpose overall: Autonomy! What does that mean?

Local states are all made of Jon Snows. They know nothing! That’s what the drafters thought. Otherwise there would be something local states could do, other than waiting for the center to send them leaders, money, food, administrators, everything basically.

Jon snow

6) And the vagueness: Prepare to fight!

The duties of a citizen as mentioned in the constitution includes “Compulsorily enlist when the nation needs the service”! Somebody please tell me what would ‘when the nation needs the service’ could possibly mean. Big flood? Big earthquake? Diarrhoea epidemics, etc.?

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Welcome to the New Nepal!

Let me know if there are things in the constitution that you disagree with. Use the hashtag #notmyconstitution and share!

 

 

Note: Views are personal!

 

 

Sarita Sapkota

About Sarita Sapkota

Ms. Sapkota is the Coordinator of Communication and Development at Samriddhi Foundation and was previously engaged with the Foundation as a Research Associate for more than three years. She is a graduate of political science and also contributes articles for Samriddhi's column at The Himalayan Times' Perspectives supplement.

3 comments

  1. Sanjay Francis George

    They had to show something for 8 years of feeding at the trough. I hoped Nepal would be the next Swizerland / Dubai / Hong Kong / Singapore. Aah …if wishes were horses ! Looks like Murphy was right about his law.

  2. Prasanna Thapa

    While
    First, nearly all of Nepal voted for parties whose manifesto wanted socialism. Nepali Congress who should seem to be the most right wing party had “rastriyata, loktantra ra samajbad” as the first reason to vote for them. So, what is wrong with the constitution representing what seems to be nearly all of Nepal? And it isn’t as if the law is going to crack down on private ownership and all the fundamentals of capitalism, which is steeped in the Nepali way of life by now. Also, the cow analogy is absurd and sensationalist.
    Second, everything we need ought not to be a right. Of course, people should always strive for them. But dont people always strive for them? And despite doing so, why are people still unable to achieve the most basic neccesities in life? Giving people the right to the environment is essential as it gives the governement, and the people (more importantly) the power to secure their environment, which they would never have if this was not a right. However, with regards to the remaining, we will have to wait and see how they pan out. I would presume that only the poorest would qualify for any system of food security, and the level of healthcare that is a right is again left unanswered. Here, one would assume that the healthservice that the mean population is getting would be the healthcare everyone is entited to. Overall, while I agree that things could have been worded better, and that the right to employment is absurd, it is certainly an attempt to help the poorest citizens, which is a welcome change.
    Third. Again, your issue seems to stem from the lack of clarity in the constitution, which leaves it open to interpratation. However I would like to point out two things. A) “increasing produce and productivity of land, modernization and professionalization of agriculture, environmental protection, and for an organized settlement and urban development” are all things that we should strive for. and B) sub article above the one you quoted, which says “(4) In requisition of private land for public interest according to sub-article (3), it shall be done on the basis of compensation and procedural law “. It is true that there is a scope for misinterpratation, but again, given that your private propety can only be, under compensation, be “seized” for certain reasons, if those reasons are not fulfilled, you can always, as you suggested, go get a good lawyer.
    Fourth. We had a revolution that was based on the fact that certain castes and certain groups of people are marginalised. You talk about affirmative action, as if it is plain outright discrimination with no strings attached! By the next constitution, hopefully, there will be no need for Affirmative action. Also, is the problem giving power to labor unions, or that they do not represent the laborers?
    Fifth. Agreed to a large extent.
    Sixth. Agreed as well, rather vague.
    Finally, it is very hilarious that your final picture, a refrence to Orwellian pigs, deriding Capitalism is used in an article that seems to be dismayed at socialism. Hmm

  3. Sarita SapkotaSarita Sapkota Post author

    Thank you so much for taking time to read the article in detail and posting your valuable comments. I do not think that because everybody else thinks that socialism is fine, the minority should also yield ! You might say it is an inherent flaw in the democratic system, but I stand against that inherent flaw. In order to not ride on the minority (which non-socialists clearly are in this country), the constitution might have simply avoided mentioning of any -ism so to speak. Its myopic to put socialism there because all our parties now borrow in that ideology. Where is room for the possible changed context of tomorrow? And I don’t think private property rights are secure in our country at all. The recent road expansion is a clear example. Even if you have clearly defined property rights, the legal system is so slow and lethargic that by the time you get a remedy, it will have been too late and in the meantime, the powerful one might have gotten whatever they wanted. As for keeping everything we desire as ideal as a right, the government is simply burdening itself. Calling something a right means you deliver on them. Its not a place to set a ideal and say we will get there someday, what a nice dream. Also we need to think when we make a long laundry list of rights, it hampers other essential rights such as right to life, right to property, right against third party violence etc. Just take for example if we did not spend so much money on large welfare programs that don’t even reach the target audience, we would have more money for the courts and police perhaps making our justice system more smooth. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions and the good intentions in these long list of rights might be our fall. Finally, I don’t think the Orwellian pigs deride capitalism, it derides politicians who force their idea of good on the citizens and make them pay for it even though they agree or not.

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