By Prakash Bom in Queens, New York
Appreciations of the Initiation: It is great news for me to hear about the formation of the “The Parliamentary Special Hearing Committee” in the reinstated Parliament of Nepal, which has initiated a public notice for colleting information on the nominees for the appointments to ‘Chief Election Commissioner(s)’ positions.
I have not understood the logistics of it that the PSHC has issued. Hopefully, it will respect the basic democratic norms and principles for government appointments as in the most of the developed nations’ democratic governments have practiced with specific strides of the logistics. I think these strides are reasonably essential for such procedures and without such the appointments cannot be proofed being done in accordance with basic democratic norms and principles. On the contrary, such appointments will be considered arbitrary decisions of the cabinet or the Parliament.
All in all, this is a great move of the reinstate Parliament of Nepal towards establishing Democratic political culture that will in long run bind all political contenders to follow the procedures in fair and just manner.
Instigation of such democratic practice will establish the foundation for the electoral logistics of Democracy as our political culture of the society. In the long run such political culture will step by step abolish our tradition or mindset of arbitrary political tradition in legislature, executive and judiciary bodies of the government.
Let us face the truth together that in Nepal we have been brought up with the arbitrary political tradition and rule of law for two hundred and fifty years. This means our brain cells are conditioned accordingly without being aware of its domain. This might be true with the minds of ruling elites in the government more than the political party leaders who have good ideas but do not know how to implement them.
Despite our enhanced political ideologies, educations, expertise, and knowledge we manage our government, institutions, and organizations often times arbitrarily. What provokes us to make government decisions arbitrarily in maintaining the status quo of the feudal oligarchic government practice consciously or unconsciously, with choice or without choice is the question that challenges us to unfold our own self-knowledge of our psyches.
Ironically, we have been very successful with our thoughts and ideas about the Democracy but we have no experience of democratic practice in regard to the state management through complete electoral logistics of Democracy.
Perhaps we have not yet seen the significance of it that which only can bring transparency in the government practice. If we can once see it ‘know-how’ from the period of sowing its seed to the harvest then we could sense the urgency of instigating its electoral logistics for reasonable political practice that will guarantee the civil liberty and protections of the human rights of people of Nepal.
Fundamentally, this means it will establish the sovereignty of the people of Nepal, maintain social justice and establish economic equality or economic equal opportunity. Without such political culture there can hardly be stable and prosperous Democratic Nepal no matter what revolution a political party seeks to change the course of the arbitrarily conditioned political society of Nepal.
Strides of the Electoral Logistics for the government appointments:
Normally, in developed nations’ democratic process for the appointments of the government positions in three different bodies of the state – ‘Legislative, Executive and Judiciary’ follow specific enquiries, hearing and electoral procedures conducted by the Parliament or its commissions.
The cabinet nominates the candidates for the positions to be appointed and sends request to the Parliament for the appointment recommendation.
As per the request of the cabinet the Parliament begins procedure by forming a commission to initiate the investigation on nominees’ personal profiles by collecting information from different sources.
This involves background checks basically on education, profession, finance, and ethical issues and commission hearing implies direct questioning by the members of the commission per nominee per session.
Once the fact finding logistics are accomplished then the commission presents the investigation documents to the Parliament for casting members’ vote on the right candidate to be appointed in the vacant government position for certain period of time (if there is no legislation that defines the period of the appointment then the Parliament must amend the article with appointment period limitations).
The Parliament will recommend the successful candidates from the lists of the nominees of the cabinet to be appointed in the vacant government positions.
I honestly hope that the Parliamentary Special Hearing Committee will initiate these strides of the electoral logistics of the government appointments from this time to make it its regular practice of the Parliament as mandatory for any government appointments.
No government positions such as Supreme Court Justices, General Attorney, secretariats of the ministries, diplomatic positions, army chiefs, Human Rights commissions and other government authorities should skip the Parliamentary electoral procedures.
If we can instigate these strides of electoral logistics now at this point and time then it will guide us to initiate other modalities of Democratic practice. Once such strides of the electoral logistics become our political culture then we will abolish our old political tradition of arbitrary rule of governance.
Establishments of such political culture will respect the aspiration of the people of Nepal as well as it will embrace all political parties with different ideology in harmony. This will inspire the upcoming elections of the constituent assembly and its would be elected members to have faith in the Multiparty Democracy that can include all with different political ideology, ethnic orientations, and religions through its electoral logistics.
The Current Notion of the Political Tradition of Arbitration:
We must face the fact of two hundred and fifty years feudal oligarchic government tradition under the arbitrary rule of law. Our political institutions, our social customs, our civil conventions and our psyches were influenced by the arbitrary rule of law. For example, our caste system that has religiously become social rituals has influenced the state law and regulations arbitrarily without any question.
It will be unrealistic to speak about our psyches being free of such behaviors just after the dawn of the Democracy with the mandate of the people’s movement II. No matter how educated we are, how revolutionary we are, no matter what expertise we have and so on in the back of our mind if we can we would not step back to make decisions arbitrarily. This is our conditioning and it will take good many years of electoral democratic practice to free us from it by learning to respect the reality of it as our way of life.
The notion of the political tradition of arbitration is currently dominating the political process and will keep creeping in as much as it can get away with the rational, evidential and electoral procedures of Democracy.
How ruling elites in the government rush to make decision arbitrarily without reasoning, evidence and possible investigations are the examples of our arbitrary psyches that can not only baffle the nation but the whole international community.
For example, defense secretary Bishnu Dutt Upreti calling OHCHR data on disappearance groundless at the Parliamentary Committee without any evidence is the process of the arbitrary decision making to get away with it without serious further investigations for the justification.
The findings of the ‘High-Level Investigation Commission’, which was formed to investigate the repression of the people’s movement by the royal government, might soon be arbitrarily dismissed without justifications too.
It seems the so-called legal experts like former attorney general ‘Ratna Tuladhar’ are outright arbitrarily disrespecting the amendments of the 1990 constitution by the reinstate Parliament. They are asking the head of the commission to read the Article 31 to justify why the king ignored the commission’s questionnaires from replying them before the deadline. This is how the psyches that grew up in the arbitrary political tradition can act or ignore without reasoning, evidence and enquiry to get away with the justifications.
Honestly, if the king were democratic he would have faith in the enquiry. This is how Democracy works because it is the rule of law and under the law all are created equal.
Only in the arbitrary rule of law the criminals might be proved innocent or forgiven without justifications. But in the rule of law no matter the king be made-up incarnation of the god he shall not skip the court from justifications.
If the findings of the ‘High-Level Commission’ bring justifications in the current political scenario of Nepal perhaps then we will be able to sow the seed of Democracy to harvest in our near future. Otherwise, the psyches of the arbitrary political tradition will continue with the emperor’s new clothe of the Democracy.
Finale of the Rule of Law:
The only Hope for people of Nepal is Democracy, not just talking head but working, yielding with its electoral logistics, with its rule of law that compliant scrupulously its implementations in daily activities of the society.
For example, if there is traffic law for moving violation then there should be a system for the ticket that explains all the detail of the law article by article with the provision if the accused finds innocent he or she can appeal the case for the justification. Then the ticket has a specific revenue account where the fine is paid if found guilty.
This means the traffic police cannot collect the cash outright on the street. This is how logistics of the rule of law works. This means under the rule of law a police officer or the government authority cannot fine the citizen with immediate cash on the street or home without the ticket or receipt to pay the fine to a specific government revenue account or appeal the case for justifications.
This is how the civil liberty is guaranteed in Democracy with the rule of law that complies logistics of the implementations not at all conflicting or contradicting. This demands great attention of the members of the legislative body of the government. It requires thorough thinking for minute details for implementations of the law that can function logistically without the single conflict.
You may ask the help of the experts of law in Nepal but that can drag the process with the arbitrarily dominated experts’ discussion making process for the job. The best choice is the electoral process in the assembly and the Parliament for the thorough discussion, investigations, collecting public opinions, hearing and at last voting. Any law that is made without this process will not sow the seed of the Democracy for coming generations to harvest in the soil of Nepal.