KATHMANDU, April 16: Governance experts have called on the government to revise the Decoration Act-2007 to restore the sanctity of the civilian awards.
Their comments come in the wake of fresh controversies surrounding some of the recipients of state honors.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Sunday had conferred civilian honors on around 345 personalities for their contributions in various aspects of society.
Among those awarded were a recruitment agent-turned diplomat, an ambassador who faces charge of human trafficking, an MBBS graduate who has at least twice flunked the NMC licensing exam, and a businessman under investigation in a multibillion-rupee land scam.
“It’s a mockery of the awards. Even those receiving the awards do not feel honored,’’ said Shreehari Aryal, former chair of Transparency International Nepal.
The civilian honors and decorations have long courted controversy due to the background of recipients. The political parties in power and top bureaucrats commonly use the awards to reward their loyalists. Some of those honored this year were themselves on the award selection committee. Many believe, the awards’ origin itself is controversial as the kings used to use them as a tool to reward his loyalists.
Former chief of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Surya Nath Upadhyaya stressed the need for revising the Decorations Act-2007 saying it lacks transparent selection process.