KATHMANDU, Jan 9: Legal experts have raised serious questions over the decision of the government to relieve chief of the National Investigation Department Dilip Regmi of his post through an amendment in the NID regulations. They argue that the move is arbitrary.
A cabinet meeting on Monday appointed Ganesh Adhikari as the new NID chief after cutting short the four-year term of the incumbent chief. Although Regmi was due to retire in May under the 30-year service limit, the government has relieved him through an amendment in the NID regulations.
Advocate Bhimarjun Acharya said although it is within the powers of the cabinet to amend the regulations, the intention behind such a move always matters. “It is important to consider with what intention such regulations are amended. Any amendment needs to be just, fair and reasonable. There should not be any mala fide intent,” he said.
Legal experts argue that since the amendment will apparently relieve Regmi of his post with immediate effect there are ample grounds for questioning the intention behind the move. “Since the term was for four years, the government could have waited until his [Regmi’s] retirement and then changed the legal provision before appointing a new individual if such a change was felt necessary. The government’s move clearly manifests mala fide intent, arbitrariness and, more importantly, an ulterior motive,” Acharya further said.
The legal experts further argue that since there was an informal contract for a set period between the government and the person appointed it was dishonesty on the part of the government to cut short the agreed period through an amendment in the regulations.
Government officials, however, justified the move, saying this brings uniformity in the terms of the chiefs of three different security agencies – Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department, which are all under the Ministry of Home Affairs. They will all now have three-year terms unless they retire earlier due to the 30-year service limit.
Although the government has not stated any clear reason for wanting to hasten Regmi’s exit, some political leaders from the ruling parties had been accusing him of leaking vital information. Regmi was also accused of non-cooperation with the government.
Earlier, the government had decided to bring NID under the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. However, this decision has yet to be implemented.