Thursday, 22 February, 2024

Hard Won Constitution

The Constitution of Nepal promulgated on September 20, 2015 is hard won. Nepalis had to wage one democratic struggle after another for almost seven decades to realise their dream of getting a constitution drafted by their representatives. Demand for a Constituent Assembly to draft and promulgate a democratic constitution was there right from the epoch-making successful democratic revolution of 1951that overthrew the family rule of Rana. However, the Nepali people had to launch two more democratic movements in 1990 and 2006 for the same.

It was the April Uprising of 2006 that paved a solid ground for constituting through a Constituent Assembly (CA) and the people managed to elect their representatives in the CA in 2008. However, against the expectations of the people the first CA failed to deliver the much-awaited constitution and the people had to elect the second CA in 2013 which managed to promulgate the Constitution in two years. However, the people, the leaders and the nation had to bear the labour pain of the promulgation of the Constitution. Four years after its promulgation, the Constitution has now fully come into implementation and the people are celebrating the Constitution Day across the country today, exhibiting their complete faith to it and with a form commitment to safeguard it.

The supreme legal charter of the nation, no doubt, reflects the deep seated aspirations of the people suppressed for centuries. The spirit of the long struggle of the people and their quest for true democracy have been enshrined in it. This document vests sovereign power on the people and makes them the master of their own destiny. It consists of all features of a democratic constitution with special provisions to ensure the rights of the women and marginalised groups and their empowerment.

Indeed, promulgation of this Constitution is an epochal event that has given the nation a new direction to freedom, equality, development and prosperity. With the nation embracing a federal, democratic, republican system of governance, people have discarded their subject status and graduated to sovereign citizenship, constrained only by a sense of duty and civic accountability. Four years after the promulgation of the Constitution, we today have all the state mechanisms envisaged by it. The bi-cameral parliament in the centre, state assemblies in all seven states and local governments in all 753 local levels elected as per the Constitution are now functioning well while a powerful elected government in the centre has been pushing the country in the path of prosperity.

Of course, with the realisation of the Constitution drafted and promulgated by the people’s representatives, political instability of decades has come to an end. This could be taken as one of the biggest achievements of the Constitution. Prior to this, Nepal had six constitutions, with two interim ones, but none of them were drafted and promulgated by the elected representatives of the people. Now the people are not in a mood to wage another political movement for another Constitution. The respect shown by the people to the Constitution Day is a testimony to this.