Uncle Ben’s line ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ may evoke a myriad of thought provoking emotions – however in practice – we are quite unlikely to implement, or so it seems.
In the past month – an increasing number of lawmakers are being seen brushing with the law – just before Dashain our House Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara had to step down amidst rape allegations. On Sunday, Mohammad Aftab Alam, another lawmaker was taken into custody for his alleged involvement in a bombing incident 12 years ago. He is accused of killing 23 people. On Monday, Pramod Sah, another lawmaker was arrested for vandalising Janakpur airport and subsequently abusing a Buddha Air staffer. Apparently he was pissed because the flight was delayed. And finally we arrive upon yesterday – wherein Parbat Gurung, another lawmaker is accused of assaulting a resident of Dolakha during the local elections held in 2017.
While we write about the four lawmakers, it is essential we clarify that as of today, all above accusations are allegations – official court verdicts are yet to be issued.
However, lawmakers brush with the law is not something pertinent to the four – for example, we may notice the case of Resham Chaudhary – ex lawmaker currently serving a life sentence for his involvement in the Tikapur Massacre which claimed the lives of 8 people (seven security personnel and one child). Chaudhary’s election to the HoR was interesting – he received a ticket and won from his constituency while in hiding – once elected, he handed himself to the police, and only when he was convicted in March, 2019, was he relieved of his post as a member of the HoR.
In the aforementioned instances too – all four members will be relieved off their position as a member of the HoR only once they have been convicted by a court.
According to several political opinions, the lack of upholding the law by lawmakers suggests the waning of ‘democratic values’ in the nation – for example, in August, 2019 – Pushpa Kamal Dahal challenged disqualified Maoist combatants to take their conflict-era concerns to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands. Dahal faces several charges for war time crimes, however no actions have been taken, yet.
Similarly, in September, Tourism Minister Bhattarai had asked an airline to hold a flight as he was running late and needed to be in Kathmandu, the next morning for an HoR meeting – a disregard for other passengers suggests undermining ‘public interest’, and not in the best spirit of a democratic nation.