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Nepal's new constitution: All you need to know

New Delhi:  On September 20, Nepal formally adopted its first democratic constitution. President Ram Baran Yadav signed the constitution and announced its promulgation.The new constitution took more than seven years to complete following a decade
India TV News Desk September 26, 2015 23:09 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi:  On September 20, Nepal formally adopted its first democratic constitution. President Ram Baran Yadav signed the constitution and announced its promulgation.

The new constitution took more than seven years to complete following a decade of political infighting.

Here are the major highlights of Nepal's new constitution:

1.The new constitution has 8 parts and 305 articles.

2.Under the new constitution, the sovereignty and authority of the state are vested in the people of Nepal.

3.The new constitution declares Nepal an independent, indivisible, sovereign, secular, inclusive, democratic, socialism-oriented, federal and republican state.

4.The new constitution says that ‘secularism' in this context means the preservation of dharma sanskriti (religion and culture) that has been in existence for generations (sanatan). It also provides the citizens the right to freedom of religion and culture.

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5.The new constitution, however, prohibits right to convert. It says that each person is free to profess, practise, and preserve his/her religion according to his/her faith, and distance himself/herself from any other religion. However, no person shall act or make others act against public health, decency and morality, or behave or act or make others act to disturb public law and order, or convert a person of one religion to another religion, or disturb the religion of others.

6.The new constitution provides for a single federal citizenship with the name of the province to which the citizen belongs.

7.Under the new constitution, all top constitutional posts (President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament, Chairperson of National Assembly, Head of Province, Chief Minister, Speaker of Provincial Assembly and Chief of Security Bodies) are reserved for citizens by descent. It means that those who have acquired citizenship by birth or naturalization are not eligible for these posts.

8.The new constitution says men can pass on their Nepali citizenship to their children but women married to foreign nationals can't pass on their Nepali nationality to their kids.  Their children can only become Nepalese by naturalization.

9.The new constitution has vested all executive powers in the cabinet. It says that the President shall appoint as its head the leader of the largest party commanding a majority in the House of Representatives.

10.The new constitution provides for a bicameral federal legislature. It will consist of a House of Representatives and National Assembly.

11.The House of Representatives will have 275 members. Out of these 275, 165 members will be elected by the first past the post system, and remaining 110 by the system of proportional representation — a third of whose members shall be women.

12.The National Assembly will have 59 members. It will comprise of 8 members from each of 7 States and 3 nominated members.

13.Either the chair or deputy chair of both Houses shall have to be women.

14.The new constitution divides the country into seven states. Each state will have a legislature that will elect its own local government.

15.The constitution provides for proportional electoral system at both the federal and state levels.

16.The constitution provides for a National Security Council that will consist of 7 members and will be headed by the Prime minister. The chief of the army will also be a member of NSC.

17.The new constitution also provides for three-tier judiciary consisting of high courts and district courts below the Supreme Court.

18.The new constitution guarantees equal rights for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community.

19.The new constitution retains the cow as a symbolic national animal of Nepal.

20.The new constitution provides space for amendment of the constitution.  It says that a future Parliament may, by a two-thirds majority, change in part or whole, the federal, secular character of the republic.