National Council’s (NC) Social and Cultural Committee has accepted the proposal from the legislative committee of the National Assembly (NA) to amend the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Bill 2017 as an urgent Bill.

NA’s legislative committee proposed the amendment to the Speaker and the chair of NC.

The Assembly has included the amendment in the agenda for the 10th session, which will begin November 15.

NC’s chair of the Social and Cultural Committee, Nima, said that House discussed the issue during its recent plenary meeting.

He said that as part of consultation, the committee was planning to call a consultation meeting with officials from the judiciary next week.

“Thrizin has asked the committee to study whether the issue qualifies as an urgent bill. We agreed that the issue was urgent and supported that it should be an urgent Bill,” he said.

The proposal comes after the Supreme Court ruled in July that the Parliament had failed to envision drug-related problems in the future when it specified and prescribed the list of prohibited drugs and psychotropic substances in the Act.

In a case that was before the court, the defendants who were caught by authorities for abusing SP+ argued that they could not be prosecuted because the drug did not feature among the lists of banned substances.

NA’s chairman of the Legislative Committee, Ritu Raj Chhetri, said that the Speaker and the Thrizin would discuss the issue to arrive at a decision.

“The Assembly will discuss the issue irrespective of whether it becomes an urgent Bill or not,” he said.

Ritu Raj Chhetri said that the two Houses would deliberate the Bill in their respective houses. “If there are disagreements among the two Houses then a joint sitting will be called,” he said.

According to the NA’s legislative committee, the issue qualifies as urgent Bill from the social security point of view.

An urgent Bill must be passed in the same session.

According to the Legislative Rules of Procedure, the Speaker needs to consult the chair of the NC about the proposal. Also, the Speaker and the chair shall consult the legislative committee or other relevant committees of the respective Houses to determine the urgency of the proposed legislation.

MB Subba