Deshsanchar Chautari

Parliamentary practices in Nepal: Added years, degraded decorum (Video)

Surya Kiran Gurung: Guest at Deshsanchar Chautari

Surya Kiran Gurung began his career as a Lecturer in Tribhuvan University and taught there for almost nine years after pursuing LLM degree from Patna University.  He also contributed there towards developing the LLM curriculum.

Gurung subsequently joined parliament secretariat as its secretary when Nepal ushered in as a multi- party democracy and exited in 2006 as its general secretary that also coincided with the collapse of the 1991 constitution.

Gurung has had the reputation of being a tough and rule abiding person clashing privately with speakers and with the parliamentarians in the House.

He worked with four speakers —Damannath Dhungana, Ram Chandra Poudel, Taranath Ranabhat and Subash Nembang.

He was appointed as Nepal’s ambassador to the Russian Federation in 2007 where he served little more than four years. He however said his appointment as ambassador was much against his will as he felt he could have better served the constitution making process.

Gurung worked as chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission beginning 2015 but quitted following noncooperation from the government.

Gurung was the guest at the Deshsanchar Chautari where he responded to and shared many of his experiences in his different capacity.

He says Nepal’s parliamentary practice began taking a downhill journey after 1995 dissolution of the House by Man Mohan Adhikari and its reinstatement by the Supreme Court and the politics that followed.

There was a real decline after the first parliament 1991-93, he said, adding what the country witnessed after that was decline in the role of the speaker, unprincipled alliances among political parties. Gurung was full of praise for Daman Nath Dhungana, first speaker of the House under the 1991 constitution, which he said was fair and impartial.

He said that the first parliament was upstanding and the parliamentarians were utterly sincere towards their duty. Also the Speaker acted in a very impartial manner placing self solely as the chairman of the House.

Later, a series of scandals like Prado, Pajero, Cronyism and Hung parliament leading to formation of unprincipled alliances as the government discredited politicians and politics.

Gurung was candid that the present constitution does not have any ownership of the people. People’s opinion was solicited on federalism, republic and secularism prior to finalizing the constitution.  However, the collections were kept aside.  He also said that there was definitely some ‘Heraferi’ (Manipulation) in the declaration of May 18, 2006 that declared Nepal as a secular country since the original copy was never submitted to the parliament secretariat.

He felt Nepal and Russia must enhance their level of partnership as Russia had helped Nepal in the past selflessly. He was also critical of Nepal terming Russia Aggressor over Ukraine. Asked about what he thought of Ukraine President Jelensky, Gurung said, ‘He is a fool.’

Gurung shared some difficult moments during his career as a diplomat. They would ask us when Nepal’s national day, he said ‘we had separate days like Loktantra and Prajatantra, but no national day’.

He revealed that Russians had given him friendly advice against abolishing monarchy and going federal.

Gurung also feels that Nepal was wrong in not entertaining the Russian minister during his visit to Nepal at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union as Russia still possessed veto power in the UN and a nuclear state.

While asked about the prolonged transitional justice, Gurung said “the real work of transitional justice is yet to begin”. Delving deep into the backlashes of ignoring timely settlement of transitional justice, he said it’s undoubtedly ‘a must-do work’ for the concerned leaders however they refuse to foresee the repercussions.