KATHMANDU, Aug 27: Disputes have begun surfacing between the federal and provincial governments over jurisdiction as the provincial governments are increasingly trying to assert their rights.
A serious dispute emerged between provincial and federal government after the District Administration Offices (DAOs) in Province 1 defied the decision of the provincial government to observe a public holiday sometime ago. A similar dispute was seen in Province 2 on Sunday after the regional office of Nepal Rastra Bank—the central bank in the country—did not observe public holiday declared by the provincial government.
Internal Affairs Minister of Province 2, Gyanendra Yadav himself padlocked the NRB’s regional office for opening on a public holiday declared by the provincial government. Although there was no unpleasant incident, this reflected the power tussle provincial and federal government may see in the days ahead.
Government officials in Kathmandu say the move of the provincial government came as a result of their misinterpretation of the constitutional provisions. Although the constitution provides the provincial governments with the right to declare public holidays on their own, such a decision is applicable only to those offices under the provincial governments.
Offices such as District Administration Office, Nepal Rastra Bank, Customs Offices and Land Revenue Office fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government as per the Constitution of Nepal 2015.
Home Ministry Spokesperson Ram Krishna Subedi said offices under the federal government need not to observe the holidays announced by the provincial government. “Federal offices remain closed when the federal government announces holidays while the offices under the provincial government follow the decisions of the provincial government. This is as simple as that,” Subedi told Republica.
No matter what reason could be blamed for such disputes, these kinds of differences between the central and provincial governments may take a bad turn in the long run, experts warned. “Although these types of disputes are natural in the initial phase, they may take a bad turn in the long run if not resolved properly. These disputes need to be resolved through proper coordination and consultation,” said constitutional expert Kashi Raj Dahal. “Both federal and provincial governments need to assert only those rights that are granted to them by the constitution.”
However, not all political leaders see a solution this way. “While the jurisdiction is one thing, we also need to see its practical aspect. Most of the employees working at provincial offices of the federal government hail from the same province. It is injustice against them to deny observing holiday that their colleagues working in the province government offices enjoy,” said General Secretary of Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN)—a coalition partner of the Province 2 government-- Keshav Jha.