Compiled by: Dr. Pramod Dhakal
Prepared for NRN-Canada, and NRNA as an input to the constitutional development process in Nepal
2009 April 03
As one can imagine, there would be many opinions on any topic when it comes to complex matter like constitution. Knowing that there exist many opinions, we have compiled the suggestions formally submitted by NRNs living in Canada to the NRN-Canada Constitution Suggestions Task Force, either through email or through a blog created for this specific task. We would be happy if they added some new dimensions to the constitutional debates that have transpired in Nepal.
We have provided separate links for the full documents submitted to support those suggestions at the end of this document.
There is near-unanimity of opinion that the NRNs should be allowed to have dual or multiple citizenship. Therefore, it is requested that the constitution should write about basic principle of granting multiple citizenship. Any limitations or exclusions can be specified through Citizenship Act or any other Act of Parliament as and when the situation asises to warrent such measures.
What is sought in the new constitution is a provision for granting citizenship or similar status to overseas or non-resident Nepali who hold the legitimate citizenship of countries other than Nepal under the terms and conditions prescribed in the law. What is also suggested that the NRNs holding citizenship or similar status in Nepal should have all the rights and obligations provided for Nepali citizens except those specifically prohibited by an Act of Parliament to be enacted after the promulgation of the new constitution.
The totality of suggestions bring larger sets of issues. The following suggestions have been collected without separating what should be in a constitution and what in an Act. What seems to be the most important to NRNs is the provision of accepting multiple citizenship including that of Nepal. What is sought in constitution and the relevant acts are written below. The reader may note that the views are as divergent as Nepal and Nepalese themselves.We have tried to tally most of those divergence of views regarding the enshrined rights to NRN-Citizens, method of obtaining of citizenship, and who should be eligible. Here are the various views obtained by us:
- On the nature of citizenship
- A citizenship shall be unrevokable unless the person renounces it by personal will.
- Children of Nepali citizens born outside of Nepal shall be Nepali citizens.
- On types of citizenship to NRNs
- Full citizenship with all rights as a citizen residing in Nepal,
- Citizenship with limited political rights,
- Non-Resident Nepalese ID with visa-free entry, unlimited stay,protection of property rights and rights to migrate back to Nepal permanently,
- Citizens of any country who can contribute significantly to Nepal through knowledge, skills, technology, or trade shall be granted permanent residence in the recommendation of the innovative or the executive faculty of a state; after three years of permanent residence, they may be granted citizenship of Nepal.
- On political rights to NRNs
- Vote or get elected like citizens residing in Nepal,
- Vote or get elected only when permanently moved back to Nepal,
- Voting rights or political candidacy not-necessary or undesirable.
- There should be representation of diasporas in Nepalese parliament, five from Asia and one each from Africa, Europe, Oceania, North America, and South America,
- Salaries and benefits of diasporas representatives must come from diasporas resources and not from internal resources of Nepal.
- On obligations (This topic is hardly ever touched; these are few and far between suggestions)
- Maintaining understanding of one of the languages spoken in Nepal,
- Small fee for citizenship card or ID to cover administrative cost.
- On economic and civic rights
- Full rights as other citizens,
- Full rights with exclusion on select and sensitive public/government positions,
- Full rights for those who report their incomes and pay taxes as defined by laws and treaties,
- Right with a ceiling on the ownership over natural resources like land and water,
- Right to permanently move back and to be not discriminated when moved back,
- Dual citizens should be under the criminal jurisdiction of Nepal in case they commit criminal activities in Nepal,
- All people who have proof of Nepalese descent,
- All people who have proof of citizenship by means of passport or citizenship certificate and their descendents,
- Those with proof of some connection to Nepal (e.g. property, investments, social or community support and/or family relationship),
- That with a cut-off date and generational limit (others object to limit),
- Those who explicitly apply with fulfilment of minimum requirements within a fixed time period (e.g. 5 years),
- As above but excluding SAARC countries, China and Burma (This topic comes up in every community interactions but many people strongly object to this labeling it unethical and immoral; they see this as discrimination against the poor and illiterate Nepalese who could not reach the lands of the riches.)
- Granting process
- Easy mechanism and transparency of the process,
- No hassle.
For the range of opinions on citizenship refer to:
Preamble must include that “Nepal is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religious secular socialist federal republic …”. An accompanying document provides the details.
For opinion on preamble refer to:
On National Values
A set of national values must be defined in the constitution. A set of five ethical values and five inspirational values are proposed for debate through a separate article.
For opinion on national values refer to:
On Faculties of Governance
There must be four faculties in the system of governance: Executive, Legislative, Judicial, and Innovative. The Executive, Legislative and Judicial faculties are already well known in Nepal and the world. An accompanying document explains the rationale for the separate faculty for innovation and the modality of the governance of the innovative faculty are justified through separate articles.
For the rationale of the fourth (innovative) faculty refer to:
- The Law of Rule – Summary Item 2
- The Law of Rule: The Fourth Faculty of Governance
- The Law of Rule: A study of the evolution of governance in Nepal
For the governance of innovative faculty refer to:
For nature, election mechanisms and interrelationships of the four faculties refer to:
On Instruments for Limiting Corruption
- In-transitive relationship must exist between executing, regulating, enforcing, and innovating agencies in any profession or institution (including governance).
- Money shall not control media and politics, there must be fair formula for public financing of political process.
For instruments for limiting corruption refer to:
On Desired Characteristics of Governing Bodies and their Elections
- All: Elected, representative, ceiling of how long one individual can be in a representative position, periodic renewal, intransitive–relationship between one another, protocol driven interrelationship
- Executive: Stability, efficiency, agility: presidential
- Legislative: Empathy, accommodation, incorruptibility: proportional by population
- Judicial: Impartiality, presumption of innocence, legal equality: mixed- geographically proportional
- Innovative: Conscience, questioning, innovation: mixed-professionally proportional with element of randomness
For election mechanisms refer to:
On Layers of Governments
- There shall be no more than two layers of governments (state and central) under a federal system.
- Central: National-interest, standardization, protocol, treaties
- State: Development, human-empowerment, social justice, education, health, economy
- All undefined powers shall remain in the jurisdiction of the states.
- With the approval of two third states, a role may be transferred from the state jurisdiction to the federal jurisdiction or from federal to the state jurisdiction.
Contending views are in accompanying document.
To understand layered and layer-less systems refer to:
For ideas on layers of government refer to:
On Number of State/Provincial Governments
- Nepal should adopt distributed governance, which is composed of hundreds of states in the federation and not three, five, or fifteen.When states are smaller but numerous, not only they are more agile and responsive to people’s needs but also they are less prone to breakup.
- Governance should be distributed. The concept of distributed governance is explained in a separate document.
To understand “what is a distributed system?” refer to:
For the rationale for large number of states refer to:
- The Law of Rule – Summary Item 7
- The Law of Rule: Where is the Optimal Point of Distribution?
For the concept of federalism refer to:
On Inclusion and Empowerment of the Marginalized Groups
- Representation should be proportional to person’s economic standing; this will ensure that not only the marginalized people today but also those of the future will have a say in governance
- Find other suggestions through accompanying documents.
For empowerment of the marginalized refer to:
On Sovereignty, Sustainability, and Environment
- Environmental sustainability, population stability, and self-sufficiency in food, energy, and primary-technology should be constitutionally mandated aims of the country. Primary technology is basic technology that is derived from tradition know-how, possible to build independently in the country, and essential for human survival in case foreign powers close boarders.
- Self sufficiency in food, energy and fundamental tools of survival are required characteristics of a truly independent country.
- Each law that passes should be tested against these aims.
For Sovereignty, Sustainability, and Environment, refer to:
On Rights and Duties
Nondiscrimination, legal protection, education, health care, dignified living, access to means of production, expression of thoughts and beliefs, fair representation, and mobility. Please find accompanying document for details.
On rights and responsibility, refer to:
Many other suggestions are not documented here to make this document brief. Please find them through accompanying documents.
1. NRN Canada Blog on Nepalese Constitution, April 2009 (html )
2. Submissions for Nepalese Constitution by Chandra Rai – April 2009 ( html | pdf )
3. The Law of Rule: Introduction and Summary of Recommendations by Pramod Dhakal – April 2009 ( html | pdf )
4. The Law of Rule: Values of a Society by Pramod Dhakal – April 2009 ( html | pdf )
5. The Law of Rule: The Fourth Faculty of Governance by Pramod Dhakal – April 2009 ( html | pdf )
6. The Law of Rule: The Governance of Innovation by Pramod Dhakal – April 2009 ( html | pdf )
7. The Law of Rule: A Study of the Evolution of Governance in Nepal by Pramod Dhakal – April 2009 ( html | pdf )
8. The Law of Rule: The Democracy and Federalism of the Future by Pramod Dhakal – April 2009 ( html | pdf )
9. The Law of Rule: Where is the Optimal Point of Distribution in a Federation? by Pramod Dhakal – April 2009 ( html | pdf )