Police adjustment hits snag as bills remain stalled in absence of speaker

Published On: October 22, 2019 11:22 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

KATHMANDU, Oct 22: Although the adjustment of civil servants completed almost a year ago, the already delayed adjustment of Nepal Police personnel in the provincial level has hit fresh snag in the absence of House Speaker following the resignation of then Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara over a charge of attempted rape.

The Bill on Adjustment of Nepal Police, which was endorsed by the parliament at the eleventh hour of the last House session, still awaits certification from the speaker. As the authority to certify the Bill cannot be delegated to the deputy speaker, officials are worried that the process of adjustment could see an inordinate delay since the election of new speaker could take months.

According to the constitution, any bill endorsed by parliament should be certified by the speaker first before forwarding it to the president for authentication, after which the bill becomes a law. “Delay in certifying the bill has not only stalled the adjustment of the Nepal Police personnel in the provinces but also delayed the formation of provincial police forces,” Home Secretary Prem Kumar Rai told Republica. 

“Police personnel adjustment cannot be initiated in the absence of the law. Also, the provincial governments cannot recruit their own police until the adjustment process is completed.”
Provincial governments have long been piling pressure on the federal government to pave the way for them to set up their own police forces, which is among one of the major rights given by the new constitution to the provinces. Some provincial governments have already drafted bills for recruitment of provincial police.

“Once the bill becomes law, we will assess the police numbers needed in different provinces and adjust our personnel to the provinces. After this, the provinces can recruit police personnel in vacant positions if any,” Rai explained about the process.

The Police Adjustment Bill was endorsed by both the houses paving way for certification on September 18, a few days before the prorogation of the budget session of the parliament. Mahara’s sudden resignation has also halted the enforcement of the Bill on Operation, Supervision and Coordination of Nepal Police and Provincial Police which is also related to the adjustment of federal police to the provinces and formation of the provincial police force. 

In view of the urgency to elect a new speaker, the government is mulling over convening the winter session of parliament sooner.  “The constitution has categorically stated that a bill should be certified by the speaker if it was registered in the lower house and by the chairman of National Assembly if it was registered in the upper house,” said legal advisor of the parliament secretariat Arjun Khadka.

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