“Parliamentary Committee pours cold water on minority rights”

khusi-gurungKathmandu (Pahichan) December 14 – This couple is eagerly waiting legal arrangement for same-sex marriage. It is just a representative example; hundreds of these communities are waiting for the legal framework as per the constitutional provisions. This couple asked not to disclose their name but agreed to publish photo that are living together. Hundreds of such are expecting to marry after the law is formulated. But, a parliamentary subcommittee has poured cold water on this.

But, there are anti-constitutional activities inside the Parliament instead of respecting the rights of minority enshrined in the constitution. The constitution clear states that any laws that would contravene the constitution would be automatically nulled. However, a subcommittee formed under a committee to review civil and criminal code, has submitted a report which prohibits the right to marry for the members of this community.

dhara-1The main committee could correct such mistake. However, the report has been prepared by legal experts; there are less chances of its correction.  Coordinator Radheshyam Adhikari said the interpretation and understanding of marriage is between male and female. “Now, we have settled that marriage between male and female not between two individuals,” said Adhikari, adding that as constitution has spoken about the rights of this community there is a need of separate law. According to him, they have reached a conclusion that there is a need of special law to address the concerns of this community.dhara-18

Adhikari said they reached to such conclusion after the consultations with stakeholders of this community. Members of this community said that it has stopped same-sex marriage with a view that it could bring social problems. They said as same-sex marriage is not allowed in India, it might create problems due to the open border between two countries.

Advocate Prem Thapa said despite the report of sub-committee, the constitutional rights cannot be restricted from getting marriage.  The constitutional rights provided by Supreme Court and Constitution cannot be breached by a parliamentary committee. He said that report of subcommittee can be corrected by full committee or while discussion in the parliament as well.  “The Supreme Court has given the verdict which could challenge the constitutional provisions. The constitutional rights cannot be violated,” Thapa said.

Advocate Sujan Panta said though it is not a matter that Parliament could block but serious questions have been raised about the intentions of lawmakers. According to him, Supreme Court has clearly mentioned that there is a need of amendment of constitutional laws. He said there are no specific laws regarding marriage in Nepal. He said as some countries have separate laws on same-sex marriage; the same should be followed in Nepal.

In America, there is Defense of Marriage Act which deals with marriage, in our case the provisions on marriage is incorporated in civil code and there is no need of formulating separate laws, he said. He said parliamentarians should not have a small heart when it comes to ensuring the rights of minority. “Nepal is taking a lead in Asia when it comes to providing rights to minority. The decision not to allow the marriage rights is a regressive move,” Pant said.