Appointment of IGP on March 25 becomes uncertain

Published On: March 21, 2023 01:02 PM NPT By: Arun Bum

KATHMANDU, March 21: The government has promoted five Deputy Inspectors General (DIGs) to the position of Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police. A Cabinet meeting held on Monday morning decided to promote all the five DIGs, who were recommended for promotion by the promotion committee on March 10, to AIG.

Basanta Bahadur Kunwar, Tekprasad Rai, Deepak Thapa, Shyamalal Gyawali and Kiran Bajracharya are the AIGs who will be promoted respectively. Out of them, Kunwar, Rai, Thapa and Gyawali are males and Bajracharya is a female.

Among the AIGs who have been promoted now, Kunwar, Rai, Gyawali and Bajracharya joined the police service as police inspectors on March 19, 1995 while Thapa joined the service on September 4, 1995.

The AIG posts, which have been filled now, were lying vacant for seven months. On August 5, the first post became vacant due to the retirement of AIG Bishwa Raj Pokharel on age limit.

The first AIG post was vacant since August 5, 2022. Dissatisfied with the promotion of Dhiraj Pratap Singh to IGP, the then AIG Bishwa Raj Pokharel had resigned. 

A month later on September 16, another AIG Mukundaraj Acharya retired due to age limit. On November 1, Arun Kumar BC and on November 11, Rabindra Bahadur Dhanuk also retired. All  five posts became vacant after the retirement of another AIG Pooja Singh on February 17, 2023.

Despite the promotion by the government, the AIGs did not receive the responsibilities on Monday. According to the police headquarters, they have not yet received the appointment letters for the promoted post. After the appointment, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dheeraj Pratap Singh will hand over the charge of AIG to them.

Who will be IGP after March 25?

IGP Singh of Nepal Police, who has a 30-year term of service in Police Regulations, 2071 (2015), will retire four days later on March 25. In rule 127 (d) of the regulations, there is a provision that the maximum service period of a policeman will be 30 years. Accordingly, police personnel who have completed 30 years of service must retire compulsorily.

IGP Singh joined the police service as an Inspector on March 24, 1993. Accordingly, his service year will reach 30 years on March 25. Because of this, he has to retire. The Police Record Management Department (DPPR) has also sent him a leave letter according to the same arrangement.

On the other hand, IGP Singh is trying to extend his service period by immediately removing the 30-year service period of the regulation, which has been in discussion for a long time. He is lobbying for this.

Also, most of the police officers and security experts have been pushing for the removal of the 30-year service period in the police force for a long time saying that it is impractical. Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs also agreed to remove the 30-year service period in the police. For this, a draft of the 'Nepal Police Act, 2023' has been prepared and sent to the Ministry of Finance for opinions and suggestions to replace the Police Act, 2012.

However, it has been confirmed that the tenure of IGP Singh will not be extended by the process of the said bill. As it will take months to finalize the bill, due to the current 30-year term of service, his tenure will end on March 25. In order to continue his tenure, the regulations should be amended from a 'fast track'.

The immediate way sought by IGP Singh is to amend the rules. For this, the government led by former Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba started the process. The Ministry of Home Affairs prepared a revised draft and sent it to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs for its opinion. However, another alliance was formed on December 25, when Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chairman of the Maoist Center, became the prime minister and Rabi Lamichhane, the chairman of the Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), became the home minister.

Sources say that although Dahal is still the prime minister, Nepali Congress has returned to the changed power equation, making things relatively easier for IGP Singh.

He must have been comfortable with the change in the power equation. Everything is in the hands of the government. If the rules are amended on a fast-track, his tenure will be extended," says the source, "Otherwise, he will retire. It is almost certain that we will have a new IGP.

Experts say that it will not take much time to amend the regulations if the government wants. Joint Secretary Komal Bahadur Khatri, the chief of the Law Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs, also says that the government can amend the regulations on the same day. He says, "If the government directs, the amendment draft will be prepared immediately." Other concerned ministries may agree on the same day. If the government wants, it could happen on the same day.

With only five days left for retirement, IGP Singh is still optimistic, said sources close to him. Because of this, he has not yet started any preparations for retirement.

Police Spokesman DIG Poshraj Pokharel said that the police want the 30-year service limit removed as soon as possible for the benefit of the organization. This is not only about him (IGP Singh). It is a good thing for the police organization," he said. "Since the police have been raising the issue for a long time, it will be fortunate for us if the 30-year service period is removed."

By amending the regulations within March 24, IGP Singh's term of service could be extended to the year 2025. However, if the government does not amend the regulations within the next four days, IGP Singh along with his senior AIGs Sahakul Bahadur Thapa, Uttamraj Subedi and Divesh Lohani as well as DIGs Nal Prasad Upadhyay, Masood Alam Khan and Mohan Kumar Acharya will retire after March 25. In this case, the police will get a new IGP from among the five AIGs who were promoted on Monday. For this, all the five are lobbying with the power centers in their own way.

In this way, with only four days left, IGP Singh and the new AIGs who are in the competition for the next IGP are not fully confident.

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