Challenges ahead of the Interim Constitution – 2007 B.S. (Part I)
Following the proclamation of Falgun 7, 2007 B.S. (1951 A.D), the newly formed government of Nepal was entrusted with the task of drafting an interim constitution at the earliest. For the ministers, mainly of those within Nepali Congress, a few factors proved to be a challenge:
- Dissent by members of Nepali Congress’s Liberation Army:
Although a cease fire had been issued by Nepali Congress, a couple of factions, mainly led by K I Singh in the west, and Narad Muni Thulung in the east, continued their insurrection. Their continued protests proved to be an obstacle for the formation of a new interim constitution – especially because Nepali Congress, after 7th Falgun, 2007 BS was a part of the newly formed government, and the Home Ministry was under Congress leader Bishweshwor Prasad Koirala.
Congress had to make plans to address their grievances because the members continuing their revolution had once fought shoulder to shoulder against the Ranas – Congress simply couldn’t abandon them after arriving into power.
“However, to solve their grievances, the need for an interim constitution too was essential. Therefore, we continued our work towards its formation”, Singh tells Mathbar Singh after sharing the problem.
- Distrust amongst government employees:
Another reason for the obstruction was an environment of distrust within government employees. The new government needed their employees’ cooperation towards formation of the interim constitution, however as it is with governments in transition – the employees felt a sense of job insecurity.
According to Singh, “most employees were placed in certain government positions upon recommendation of the Rana rulers. However, as they were witnessing a new government in which Ranas did not hold much power, the employees feared their jobs would go away too”.
- A demoralized police force
For years, Nepal’s police and army officers were told members of Nepali Congress were Nepal’s enemy – they were asked to fight against them, arrest them, and at certain instances – beat them too. Now, all of a sudden, not only were they in the government, Nepal’s Home Ministry, under which the police department lay, was also under Minister B P Koirala.
“Because B P Koirala was considered the mastermind behind Nepali Congress, the Rana government had placed a reward under his name. Police officers actively looked for Koirala during the Rana rule. Sadly, the times had changed, and the same police officers were under the supervision of B P Koirala. This fact deeply demoralized the officers of Nepal Police”, Singh shared with Mathbar Singh.
- Lack of expertise:
“To write a constitution needs expertise – legal, technical, and overall knowledge of a constitution’s scope”, Singh shared. “Because Nepal did not have a constitution prior to that, no one ever felt the need to study the same”, he added.
Therefore, the entire responsibility of the constitution’s scope was laid on B P Koirala.
“He did have some external help of course. For example, Subarna Shumsher and the team from India who had experience drafting their own constitution. Also, Padma Shumsher’s 2004 B.S. draft served as a foundational document”, Singh adds.
The Interim Government of Nepal Act 2007 B.S
Despite all the challenges, the government was able to formulate a draft of the Interim Government of Nepal Act 2007 B.S. After it was presented to Prime Minister Mohan Shumsher, he asked for a few days to review the document.
After Mohan Shumsher’s approval, on 11th April, 1951 AD, Nepal’s Interim Constitution was declared and introduced by then King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah Dev.
“For the first time, a document which assured political freedom, fundamental rights, an independent judiciary, a public service commission, and an election commission was introduced in Nepal”, Singh shares with Mathbar Singh.
“The document not only included the virtues of a modern democracy, but also laid special emphasis on rural development with the formation of Village Panchayat”, Singh added.
“The idea of village panchayat, was originally in the 2004 B.S Proclamation of Padma Shumsher, however was yet to come into effect. Nepali Congress believed in the power of rural development, therefore laid much emphasis on it”, he added.
Besides the virtues of the Padma Shumsher document, the Interim Constitution incorporated most of the agreements as agreed upon during the tripartite talks held between King Tribhuvan, Nepali Congress, and the Rana Government in New Delhi.
The Interim Constitution of 2007 B.S. (1951 AD) was in effect until 20th June, 1959 AD.
Note: A copy of the Interim Constitution of 2007 B.S. (1951 AD) is available at: