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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes


Constitution Year 2007
Last Amended 2007
Source National Information Commission (Nepal)
Translation Source is an English translation
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2


…Having determined for progressive restructuring of the state in order to resolve the existing problems of the country relating to class, caste, region and gender;

3. Nation

Having multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious, multi-cultural characteristics with common aspirations, and being committed to and united by a bond of allegiance to national independence, integrity, national interest and prosperity of Nepal, the Nepali people collectively constitute the nation.

4. State of Nepal

(1) Nepal is an independent, indivisible, sovereign, secular, inclusive and a fully democratic State.

12. Right to Freedom

(1) Every person shall have the right to live with dignity, and no law which provides for capital punishment shall be made.
(2) Except as provided for by law no person shall be deprived of his/her personal liberty.
(3) Every citizen shall have the following freedoms:
(a) freedom of opinion and expression;
(b) freedom to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) freedom to form political party [sic];
(d) freedom to form unions and associations;
(e) freedom to move and reside in any part of Nepal; and
(f) freedom to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, industry, or trade.
Provided that,
(1) Nothing in sub-clause (a) shall be deemed to prevent the making of laws to impose reasonable restrictions on any act which may undermine the sovereignty and integrity of Nepal, or which may jeopardize the harmonious relations subsisting among the peoples of various castes, tribes, religion or communities, or on any act of defamation, contempt of court or incitement to an offense; or on any act which may be contrary to decent public behavior or morality.
… (3) Nothing in sub-clauses (c) and (d) shall be deemed to prevent the making of laws to impose reasonable restrictions on any act which may undermine the sovereignty and integrity of Nepal, or which may jeopardize the harmonious relations subsisting among the peoples of various castes, tribes religion or communities, or which may instigate violence, or which may be contrary to public morality.
(4) Nothing in sub-clause (e) shall be deemed to prevent the making of laws which are in the interest of the general public, or which are made to impose reasonable restrictions on any act which may jeopardize the harmonious relations subsisting among the peoples of various castes, tribes, religion or communities.

13. Right to Equality

(1) All citizens shall be equal before the law. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws.
(2) No discrimination shall be made against any citizen in the application of general laws on grounds of religion, race, gender, caste, tribe, origin, language or ideological conviction or any of these.
(3) The State shall not discriminate among citizens on grounds of religion, race, caste, tribe, gender, origin, language or ideological conviction or any of these.
Provided that nothing shall be deemed to prevent the making of special provisions by law for the protection, empowerment or advancement of the interests of women, Dalit, indigenous ethnic tribes [Adivasi Janajati], Madhesi, or farmers, laborers or those who belong to a class which is economically, socially or culturally backward, or children, the aged, disabled or those who are physically or mentally incapacitated.

14. Right against Untouchability and Racial Discrimination

(1) No person shall, on the ground of caste, descent, community or occupation, be subject to racial discrimination and untouchability in any form. Such a discriminatory act shall be liable to punishment and the victim shall be entitled to compensation as provided by the law.
(2) No person shall, on the ground of caste or tribe, be deprived of the use of services, conveniences or utilities available to the public, or be denied access to any public place, or public religious places, or be prevented from performing any religious act.
(3) No person belonging to any particular caste or tribe shall, in relation to the production or making available of any goods, services or conveniences, be prevented from purchasing or acquiring such goods, services or conveniences; and no such goods, services or conveniences shall be sold or distributed only to members of a particular caste or tribe.
(4) No one shall be allowed to purport to demonstrate superiority or inferiority of any person or a group of persons belonging to any caste, tribe or origin; or to justify social discrimination on the basis of caste and tribe; or to disseminate ideas based on caste superiority or hatred; or to encourage caste discrimination in any form.
(5) Any act contrary to the provisions of sub-clauses (2), (3) and (4) shall be punishable in accordance with law.

15. Right Regarding Publication, Broadcasting and Press

(1) There shall be no prior censorship of publication and broadcasting or printing of any news items, editorial, article, feature or other reading or audio-visual material by any means including electronic publication, broadcasting and press.
Provided that nothing shall be deemed to prevent the making of laws to impose reasonable restrictions on any act which may undermine the sovereignty or integrity of Nepal, or which may jeopardize the harmonious relations subsisting among the peoples of various castes, tributes or communities; or on any act of sedition, defamation, contempt of court or incitement to an offense; or on any act which may be contrary to decent public behavior or morality.

21. Right to Social Justice

(1) Women, Dalits, indigenous ethnic groups [Adivsai Janajati], Madhesi communities, oppressed groups, the poor farmers and laborers, who are economically, socially or educationally backward, shall have the right to participate in state structures on the basis of principles of proportional inclusion.

23. Right to Religion

(1) Every person shall have the right to profess, practice and preserve his or her own religion as handed down to him or her from ancient times paying due regard to social and cultural traditions.
Provided that no person shall be entitled to convert another person from one religion to another, and no person shall act or behave in a manner which may infringe upon the religion of others.

(2) Every religious denomination shall have the right to maintain its independent existence, and for this purpose to manage and protect its religious places and religious trusts, in accordance with law.

33. Responsibilities of the State

The State shall have the following responsibilities:
…(d) to carry out an inclusive, democratic and progressive restructuring of the State by eliminating its existing form of centralized and unitary structure in order to address the problems related to women, Dalits, indigenous tribes [Adivsai Janajati], Madhesis, oppressed and minority communities and other disadvantaged groups, by eliminating class, caste, language, gender, cultural, religious and regional discrimination,

34. Directive Principles of the State

…(4) The fundamental economic objective of the State must be to give priority and protection to making the national economy independent, self-reliant and progressive by preventing the concentration of available resources and means of the country within a limited section of society, by making arrangements for equitable distribution of economic gains based on social justice, by making such provision as will prevent economic inequality and exploitation of any caste, gender, class, origin or individuals, and by giving priority and encouragement to national private and public enterprises.
(5) The social objective of the State shall be to establish and develop a healthy social life on the foundation of justice and morality, by eliminating all types of economic and social inequalities and by establishing harmony among diverse castes, tribes, religions, languages, races, communities and sects.

35. State policies

…(3) The State shall pursue a policy of strengthening the unity of the nation by maintaining the cultural diversity of the country through the promotion of healthy and harmonious social relations, on the basis of on equality and coexistence, among people of various religions, cultures, castes, communities, sects, origins, languages and linguistic groups, and by assisting in the equal promotion of their languages, literatures, scripts, arts and cultures.
…(10) The State shall pursue a policy which will help to uplift the economically and socially backward indigenous ethnic tribes [Adivasi Janajati], Madhesis, Dalits, as well as marginalized communities, and workers and farmers living below the poverty line by making provisions for reservations in education, health, housing, food security and employment for a certain period of time.
…(14) The State shall pursue a policy of making special provision based on positive discrimination for the minorities, landless, squatters, bonded laborers, persons with disability, backward communities and sections, and the victims of conflict, including women, Dalits, indigenous tribes [Adivasi Janajati], Madhesis and Muslims.

63. Formation of the Constituent Assembly

(1) A Constituent Assembly shall be constituted to formulate a new Constitution by the Nepali people themselves, subject to the provisions of this Constitution.
(2) The election of the Constituent Assembly shall be held on a date to be specified by the Government of Nepal after the commencement of this Constitution.
(3) In accordance with the law, there will be the following members of the CA, elected and nominated according to the mixed electoral system, taking account of the equality of population, geographical convenience and special characteristics, and, in the case of Madhes on the basis of percentage of the population -
(a) One member elected, under the first-past-the-post system, from each geographical constituency, two hundred and forty as determined by the Constituency Delimitation Commission under Article 154(a), based on the national census preceding the Constituent Assembly elections, and as far as possible maintaining the same relationship between number of members and population for all the administrative districts, while retaining the same administrative districts as hitherto.
(b) Three hundred and thirty-five members to be elected according to the proportional representation system, with voting being for political parties, and treating the whole country as a single constituency.
…(4) The principle of inclusiveness shall be taken into consideration by political parties while selecting the candidates pursuant to sub-clause (a) of clause (3), and, while making the list of the candidates pursuant to sub-clause (b), the political parties shall have to ensure the proportional representation to women, Dalits, oppressed communities/indigenous groups, backward regions, Madhesis and other groups, in accordance with the law.

90. Consolidated Fund

Except for the revenues of religious endowments, all revenues received by the Government of Nepal, all loans raised on the security of revenues, and all the moneys received in repayment of any loan made under the authority of any Act and any amount received by the Government of Nepal shall be credited to a Government Fund to be known as the Consolidated Fund.
Provided that, the money of religious endowments, other than private religious endowments, shall be regulated by laws to be enacted.

138. Progressive Restructuring of the State

(1) To bring an end to discrimination based on class, caste, language, gender, culture, religion and region by eliminating the centralized and unitary form of the state, the state shall be made inclusive and restructured into a progressive, democratic federal system.

142. Registration Required for Securing Recognition for the Purpose of Contesting Elections as a Political Party

(1) Any political party wishing the secure recognition from the Election Commission for the purposes of elections shall be required to register its name with the Election Commission in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission. Political parties that fail to register their names shall be removed from the list of the Election Commission.
…(3) Political parties shall fulfill the following conditions while filing an application pursuant to clause (1) -
…(c) there shall be a provision for the inclusion of members from neglected and oppressed groups including women and Dalits in the executive committees at various levels,
…(4) The Election Commission shall not register any political party if any Nepali citizen is discriminated against in becoming a member of the political party on the basis of religion, caste, tribe, language or gender or if the name, objectives, symbol or flag of such political party is of a character that may disturb the country’s religious or communal unity or is divisive in character, or if the constitution or rules of such party have the objective of protecting and promoting a partyless or single party system of government.


1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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