Report of One-Day Seminar on Social Justice
and Development in Present Constitution
Organised by Center for Consolidation of
03 October 2015, Chitwan
One day presentation and discussion program was organized on "Social
Justice and Development in Present Constitution" on 3 October
2015 ( 16 Asoj 2072BS) in Global Hotel in Chitwan district. Dr.
Jagadish Chandra Pokharel former Vice-Chairman of National Planning
Commission and Chairman of Centre of Consolidation of Democracy
(CCD) presented paper on "Development in Present Constitution"
where as Prof. Dr. Yagya Prasad Adhikari Vice-chairman of CCD
presented paper on "Social Justice in Present Constitution".
Dr Keshav Bhakta Sapkota , Campus Chief of Birendra Multiple Campus
, Bharapur , Chitwan and Local Intellectual Dr. Ishwori Laudary
respectively commented on the paper presented by Pokharel and
Adhikari. In the presentation and discussion programs, there was
presence of professors, representatives from Federation of Nepalese
Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) and Nepal Bar Association,
journalists, teachers, senior doctors from different hospitals,
Chitwan based social workers and intellectuals. There was presence
of women from different sectors in significant numbers. The program,
which had almost 140 enthusiastic participants, was very much
The chairperson of (CCD) Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel chaired
the inaugural session. Tek Prasad Gurung, President of District
Committee of Nepali Congress was the chief guest of the program.
Opinions expressed by main speakers of the session goes as follows:
Prakash Adhikari (General Secretary, Nepal University Teacher's
Association and Local Program Coordinator)
I welcome all including executive committee members of CCD
and others from different organizations. Nepal has promulgated
constitution after a long time and with a great effort. However,
Madhesh based parties are protesting against this constitution
and India has imposed undeclared blockade making life and livelihood
in Nepal difficult. India's blockade cannot be seen as behaviour
of a good neighbor. The problem between India and Nepal should
be solved through diplomatic means.
Constitution should be document that remains in practice for
a long time. The constitution that was promulgated in the US
in the eighteenth century is still in practice. This constitution
of Nepal should also be able to provide long-term stability
and make Nepal reach and prosperous. I expect help and active
participation from everyone for the success of this program.
Prof. Dr. Yagya Prasad Adhikari (Vice-Chairman CCD)
Chitwan has remained a fertile soil for intellectual discussions.
CCD is an organization established with inspiration and motivation
of great leaders of Nepal's democratic movements, Ganesh Man
Singh, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai and Girija Prasad Koirala in
1993 (2050 BS). Present Prime Minister Sushil Koirala led it
during its establishment and later by widely admired leader
Bhim Bahadur Tamang. Now, Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel leads
it. Right from its establishment this organization has not got
the government assistance. In the beginning CCD got help from
some international organizations that advocated democratic socialism.
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) is the organization that has
been collaborating with CCD right from the inception of CCD.
There are many International Non-governmental organizations
(INGOs) in Nepal but FES remains only one such organization
that promotes and supports discussions on issues such as democratic
socialism and social justice.
I request the participants to offer comments, criticism and
ask questions based on the paper and presentations. I thank
Prakash Adhikari, Secretary General Secretary of Nepal University
Teachers Association and others for working to make this program
Dr. Chandra Dev Bhatta (FES Representative)
Social justice has long history. Even in Nepal' context, right
from the time of King Mahendra Malla, we have to see political,
social and cultural processes that tried to ensure social justice.
This constitution has listed 31 fundamental human rights, which
can be implemented only after 172 new laws are made. This remains
a challenge in implementation of fundamental rights that would
contribute to the social justice. True democracy (loktantra)
is not only about constitutional and legal structures but it
is also a way of social life that can be felt by the people
I remember the explanation by Henry Kissinger about the development.
When we talk about development capital formation becomes the
most primary issue. Our economic dependence is going on increasing
and it has now reached almost 70% by now. The models, concepts
and policies of development are dictated to us from outside.
Because of lack of farsightedness and vision, we have been dependent
on others to this extent. Development connects what transpires
in national and international level even to our kitchen.
American development talks about almost every level of development
from enriching 'kitchen' to visionary plans and strategies about
national development. Hence, America is prosperous. However,
it appears that America minus its prosperity has very little
thing to offer satisfaction to life. We are prosperous and reach
in many other respects. Our developmental models have to be
based on our geography, tradition, religion, culture and other
organic aspects of our social life. I want to thank all for
organizing such a great program with participation of such intellectuals.
Tek Prasad Gurung (Chief Guest and President of Nepali Congress
District Committee Chitwan)
I thank CCD for bringing such a good program about issues of
social justice and development in Chitwan. After the promulgation
of constitution, unrest, protests and agitations have been seen
in some districts of Terai/Madhesh. The recently promulgated
constitution also guarantees rights of people of Madhesh as
well but this message could not be propagated well in Tarai/Madhesh.
If this type of program could be taken to there, most probably
, it would help to convince people there. It is necessary to
inform public about contents of this constitution such as in
sectors of social justice and development. I also wish a success
for this program.
Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel (Chairperson CCD)
CCD is an institution established by late leaders Ganesh Man
Singh, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai and Girija Prasad Koirala after
the restoration of democracy in 1990 (2047BS). Krishna Prasad
Bhattarai was the first patron of CCD. After its establishment,
CCD has been consistently been active in its objectives. Dr.
Yagya Prasad Adhikari is active in this institution right after
its establishment and he can be called a living memory of the
institution. FES has been continuously supporting CCD in its
As far as present constitution is concerned, it is more progressive
and encompasses many new pro-people concepts. With the promulgation
of this constitution republicanism, federalism and secularism
have been institutionalized. However, implementation of a constitution
depends upon making laws to operationalize the constitution.
Serious discussions are necessary about different aspects of
Presentation and Discussion Session
Prof. Dr. Bishnu Shankar Poudel executive member of CCD and
Professor of Political Science in Centre for Nepal and Asia
Studies in Tribhuvan University chaired this session. The presentations,
comments, discussions and questions of the session went as follows:
Prof. Dr. Yagya Prasad Adhikari (Paper Presenter)
The first Constituent Assembly (CA) could not promulgate constitution
but the second CA after a lot of bargaining and natural disaster
could promulgate the constitution. The agreement between four
parties initially and unity among three largest parties at the
end made the promulgation of constitution through CA possible.
This is seventh constitution in constitutional history of Nepal
and first one written by people's representatives.
However, boycotting of CA by Tarai/Madhesh based parties and
imposition of undeclared blockade by India has caused a great
problem in social and economic life of people. This constitution
is inclusive with respect to language, caste, culture and religion.
It seems to have aimed at ending caste, sex, and class based
discriminations. However, the way these things are codifiedis
not so good. But this constitution is relatively better compared
to the constitution of the other South Asian countries.
The most important aspect of this constitution is institutionalization
of democratic socialism. It has encompassed concepts of democracy
followed and practiced worldwide. Reformed parliamentary democracy
has been instutionalized where there will be executive Prime
minister and ceremonial president as the head of the state.
In order to bring political stability, there is a provision
in the constitution which prevents "proposal of no confidence"
against the prime minister for two years and prime minister
is not easily allowed to dissolve the parliament. Mixed election
system has been adopted for election to the House of Representative
wherein 60% will be elected through first past the post (FPTP)
and 40% through proportional system. Thus out of 275 members
in federal parliament , 165 will be elected through FPTP and
110 through proportional system. The upper house of the Federal
legislature will have 8 members each from 7 provinces and three
members will be nominated by the president. Hence, there will
be altogether 59 members in that upper house. The federal council
of ministers will not have more than 25 ministers. The constitutional
provision has been such that person not elected to the houses
cannot be prime minister or minister.
The provincial assemblies will be unicameral. The representation
in provincial assembly is like in federal parliament where representation
through FPTP and proportional systems will be in the ratios
of 60% to 40%. In provincial council of ministers, also there
is provision of not having more than 20% of total assembly members.
Judiciary is of three levels. Secularism has been defined in
Several commissions have been provisioned by the constitutions
with a view to preserve culture, identity and languages of different
castes, religions and cultures. There are 31 fundamental rights
of Nepali citizens according to the constitution. All languages
spoken in Nepal are considered national languages and Nepali
has been kept as language of official work. Even in the issue
of citizenship, the constitution is more democratic than that
There are political, economic, social and cultural discriminations
in the country. Rather than focused on classes, protests and
movements have happened for caste, religion and geography, which
should not have happened.
In order to implement the fundamental rights enshrined in the
constitution, there has to be double digit growth of economy
and many laws have to be passed. Otherwise, it can be difficult
to implement provisions related to unemployment, education and
health. Adoption of mixed election system without threshold
can give to hung parliament and unstable government. Some worldwide
assumptions of multiparty democracy have been discarded in the
constitution. These are challenges of implementation of the
Dr. Ishwari Laudari (Commentator)
Paper presenter Prof. Dr. Yagya Prasad Adhikari is a specialist
in the topic of "social justice" that he has presented
today. The paper and presentations have analysed very well about
'social justice' component in the constitution and challenges
the implementation of this constitution has to face. The paper
would have been better if it had also talked about directive
principles and preamble of the constitution and social justice
Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel (Paper Presenter)
The constitution guarantees that sovereignty is vested on people
and it institutionalizes republicanism, federalism and multiparty
democracy. It may take about 20 years for this constitution
to be operational. The preamble of the constitution sets its
aim as creating economic equality, prosperity, social justice,
creating foundations of socialism, and creating sustainable
and long lasting peace through multiparty democratic republican
system. Long term and sustainable economic development and creation
of democratic socialist political economic system seem to be
objective of this constitution.
In economic development and prosperity, it appears that this
constitution aims for one door policy. Since the constitution
states that economy will be jointly managed by public sector,
cooperatives and private sectors, the doubts about investment
friendly environment have been raised. Right to property is
mentioned in the constitution but at the same time, it also
says that the state will provide employment. These apparently
contradictory provisions need further explanation. Social security
is also important component in this constitution.
The constitution of 1990 (2047BS) had given great importance
to private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
NGOs also had played important role in contributing to the different
sectors of the society. Even in local level, NGOs had played
important role in coordinating different developmental activities.
However, this constitution focuses on cooperatives; hence, capital
formation has to be right from the local level. This constitution
makes state more accountable and responsible. It appears, this
constitution aims to use capital generated through cooperatives
in national development. The role of civil society has been
constricted by the constitution.
The beautiful aspect of cooperative focused economy is that,
it acts as shock absorber in that the economy tends to be less
affected by economic ups and downs of other parts of the world.
However, if private sector cannot be activated and motivated
it will have direct impact in economic development and prosperity
of the country. Rather than creating competition between private
sectors and cooperatives it is necessary to take them together
in such a way that they complement each other in national economic
growth. With federal set up, even development will be regionalized,
which calls for both healthy competition and cooperation among
provinces . Good governance and healthy competition between
states will contribute in national development as a whole. The
real landscape of future society of Nepal will depend on the
way this constitution will be implemented.
Dr. Keshav Bhakta Sapkota (Commentator)
This constitution is achievement of long and untiring struggle.
The greatest challenge in front of this is its implementation.
The laws necessary for the implementation of constitution should
be made as soon as possible. Nepal is becoming more and more
dependent on other countries. Production has not increased in
the country. Since many groups were, there to make this constitution,
it is a common document and asset for all political parties.
Prithvi Man Gurung (Ex-chairperson Nepali Congress District
I thank both the presenters of the papers. Both the papers
are informative and rich intellectually. Constitution is a document
of agreement between different forces with differing political,
economic, social and cultural backgrounds. If laws for implementation
of constitution are not made within coming few years, there
might be danger in the process of implementation of the constitution.
Krishna Lal Sapkota (Ex-chairperson, Association of District
Development Committees of Nepal)
I thank CCD for the program here in Chitwan. Constitution was
promulgated after long transition and uncertainty. It is good
that we got constitution but with the coming of constitution,
seed of conflict also has been shown in Tarai /Madhesh. In Mahesh,
there has been cry about the constitution being discriminatory.
I request the presenters to find out what constitutional provisions
are discriminating to Madheshis vis-à-vis Pahadiyas.
The demands of Madheshis and Tharus should be fulfilled by the
state as far as possible. This constitution however has not
been able to preserve, protect and speak for our traditional
religion and culture.
Devendra Prasad Upadhyaya (Ex-chairperson, Nepal Teacher's
Promulgation of constitution is a thing to be happy. The secularism
as defined in the constitution is against our traditional religion.
Declaring Nepal a secular country might breed a conflict in
Nepal in the future.
Shaligram Sharma (Trainer)
It would be better if the paper and presentations had contained
how this constitution envisions the management of resources.
When Commission for Inclusion is made, why are so many other
Chiranjibi Shrestha (Ex-Campus Chief, Bal Kumari Multipale
I liked the way this program was managed. Now we have to focus
our attention towards economic development and prosperity.
Srijana Devkota (Chief, Nursing Unit, Bal Kumari Multiple
Now, attention should be focused to make laws in order to implement
Rajeswhor Khanal (Professor)
It would have been better if papers had contained 22-point
and 8-point agreements done with Madhesh based parties. The
contribution of agriculture in economy has decreased. It is
now time to think about developing agricultural sector.
Khem Narayan Sapkota (Campus Chief, Saptagandaki Campus)
This constitution is good but it is comparatively longer. The
constitution of 1990 (2047 BS) could not address the issues
of social justice therefore that constitution became short lived.
The main issue is that everyone should be equal before the law.
There should be constitutional provision to reduce the corruption.
The country cannot develop until there is no increase in national
Devendra Gurung (Secretary, Nepali Congress District Committee
The election of members of House of Representatives (federal
lower house) and unicameral state assembly through FPTP and
proportional system in the ratio of 60% to 40% is not rational
as it gives rise to political instability. The constitution
says that many things in the constitution will be as per the
law but the challenge for now is that whether those laws can
Thaneshwar Sapkota (Professor)
Remittance has been main factor sustaining our economy. Should
we search or not search other productive sectors for capital
Sarojini Sharma (Women Right Activist)
Now, we have to head towards sustainable development. It would
have been better if you had further elaborated meaning of 'right
Kamal Poudel (Professor, Central University Campus, Tribhuvan
I thank Prof. Yagya Adhikari for clearly outlining the challenges
that implementation of constitution might face. Is protest and
movement in Tarai/Madhesh against national unity? Should issues
like language and religion be not taken to referendum ?
Dr. Anil Bikram Karki (Physician, BP Koirala Cancer Hospital)
The constitution of 1990 (2047 BS) was of the spirit that let
people work and let them protest as well but this constitution
seems to be of the spirit that 'let the people protest' only
. It is necessary for the constitution to be clear about creating
investment friendly environment for the private sector.
Surya Narayan Poudel (Associate Professor, Birendra Multiple
Campus, Bharatpur, Chitwan)
India has shown excessive dominance in its behavior with Nepal.
When we talk of social justice, if there is no production it
is impossible to talk of 'just' distribution. Our main challenge
is to how to develop resources and means of development. We
are suffering because we do not have 'nationalist' leaders.
Kumar Karki (Chairman, Regional Committee Nepali Congress
- Region no. 2, Chitwan)
If the paper had elaborated discussions about directive principles
of the constitution, it would have been better.
Jagadishwar Baral (Professor- Bal Kumari Campus)
Why could issues of 'social justice' not be implemented in
Bimal Poudel (Secretary, Tribhuvan University Teachers Association
Birendra Campus Unit)
If issues such as federalism and inclusion were there in Prof.
Yagya Adhikari's paper it would have been much better. Why is
there protest in Tarai/Madhesh, we expect clearer answer from
Uddhab Lohani (Nepal Bar Association)
Judiciary needs to be effective for the stability of the democracy.
Indira Sapkota (Ex-Vice Chairperson, Nepal Teacher's Association)
I thank CCD for doing the work that the state should have done.
This type of interaction should have been organized throughout
Nepal before the constitution was promulgated.
Bharat Dawadi (Political Activist)
It would have been better if other components of social and
political life could also have been discussed.
Bala Nath Sigdel (Professor, Bal Kumari Campus)
The contents .style and ways of presentations are very good.
Threshold for becoming a national party should have been mentioned.
National dress should have been mentioned in the constitution.
The provision for providing allowances to the unemployed is
laughable because it is simply impossible to do so. The educational
qualifications for political posts such as member of parliaments
and others should have been determined.
Devaki Gautam (Women Right Activist)
It is not good to argue that one should get employment without
developing skills or capabilities. Threshold should have been
kept for the stability of the government.
Nil Kantha Dhungana (Social Worker)
This type of programs should also be organized in Tarai/Madhesh,
where there have been protests and agitations.
Keshav Maharjan (Local Intellectual)
There is need of in depth discourse and discussion about discrimination
based on caste and class.
Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel and Yagya Prasad Adhikari gave
brief answers to the questions raised from the floor.
Prof. Dr. Bishnu Shankar Poudel (Chairperson of the session)
I appreciate the papers presented by Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel
and Yagya Prasad Adhikari. This program in many respects is
better than programs organized in star hotels in Kathmandu.
CCD has been organizing such discussion programs and it will
keep on doing so in the future as well. I thank all; paper presenters,
commentators, and intellectual and enthusiastic participants
in this program.
Prepared by: Shiva Prasad Tiwari
Faculty Member, Masters Program in International Relations and
Diplomacy (MIRD)-Tribhuvan University.
Contact no: 00977-985116529