KATHMANDU, July 19: Although Nepal Police was among the first few state organizations to be federated in line with the new constitution, the delay on part of the federal government to come up with the Federal Police Act has left the security agency under confusion and uncertainty.
Top officials at the security agency complained that the absence of the act has created a legal vacuum to govern the police organization in the federal setup.
“We restructured our organization into the federal setup right after the promulgation of the new constitution. But, as there is no law which clearly demarcates jurisdiction and limitations of the federal and provincial units of the security organizations as well as relations between the federal and provincial units, it has created a legal vacuum as well as confusion about the command and control between the federal, provincial and local units,” said a highly-positioned police officer who did not want to be named.
According to the official, the legal void has hindered the full-fledged operation of the security agency under the federal setup despite the structuring of the agency under the new setup.
“Many officials are reluctant to take effective measures to ensure peace and security in the provincial as well as local levels since they don't know the mandate of their offices. It is the reason why the police organization has been still forced to work in a unitary fashion when a certain level of autonomy should have been granted to provincial bodies as per the spirit of federalism,” the official said.
The official said that there is also confusion as to how many vacancies to be allocated at the federal level and at the provincial level in lack of the act.
Another official said that the move by some provinces to table the Provincial Police Act before the Federal Police Act may invite unnecessary legal conflicts between the federal and provincial offices of the security agency.
“Even before the federal police act has been formulated, provincial bodies have started to table the Provincial Police Act. If the provincial act is not in line with the federal act, it will only create legal as well as political complications. So, we have urged the federal government to formulate the federal act as soon as possible and avoid unnecessary complications,” the official said.
Recently, the government of Province 2 has tabled the draft of the Provincial Police Act at the provincial assembly for deliberation when the federal government is still struggling to finalize the final draft of the act.
Officials inside the government familiar with the development said that the government is still finalizing the draft of the act due to differences between the government and the security agency over the term of officials and security personnel and other issues.