The gap between what the Constituent Assembly members are doing and what the common people think they are doing is growing in the absence of appropriate mechanisms for the dissemination of information.
The Constitution Information Centers have come to fill in the gap. They are making all kinds of information related to the work done by the Constituent Assembly and its members available to the people.
Students, engineers, doctors, lawyers, professionals, teachers, journalists, industrialists, civil society members, independent intellectuals and government officials in several districts are visiting the centers for information ranging from the reports of thematic committees to other documents prepared by the CA.
The centers mainly target Janajati, Madhesis, Dalits, marginalized communities, backward communities and women at the local level. Similarly, community leaders and members, civil society leaders, teachers and political party leaders are also the beneficiaries.
From publishing the draft of the constitution to organizing various other activities relevant to Constituent Assembly and Constituent Assembly members, Nepal Law Society has been supporting the process of constitution writing. NLS received the most valuable support from International IDEA to conduct these programs.
Although the Constituent Assembly is yet to prepare the first draft of the constitution, it has completed a lot of works in its three years tenure, thereby, preparing the foundation of constitution. However, people don’t have easy access to the state of affairs.
During the whole process of constitution writing, NLS has played a role of support partner under the leadership of the Constituent Assembly Secretariat. This has a made a lot of difference in the process.
The role of Nepal Law Society is not only confined to the capital. It has been working in the process of dissemination of information through information centers established in various parts of the country.
These centers will play an important role when the Constituent Assembly prepares the first draft of the constitution. Nepal Law Society is expecting to mobilise necessary manpower to help disseminate the draft to the public and bring back their feedback to CA.
The tenure of the Constituent Assembly is coming to an end on May 28, 2011 and the first phase work has been completed as all reports have been submitted to the CA.
“Nepal Law Society is now running constitution information centers in 8 different zones of the country and we conduct weekly discussion programs to disseminate the required information on the constitution making. We are planning to extend them to fourteen zones of the country,” said Krishna Man Pradhan, the Executive Director of Nepal Law Society.
“We are helping the CA in two ways. First, we have been providing technical support in constitution making. Our second support is to create awareness about the constitution making to the general public. There is a perception that the CA members are just wasting time and money among the commoners. In order to create awareness among the public, International IDEA, UNDP, USAID, NLS are working together,”
These centers support Civil Relations Committee and Public Opinion Collection and Coordination Committee during the period of opinion collection. The role of Nepal Law Society is just that of a facilitator, said Pradhan.