Govt creates special post for suspended Chief Secretary Aryal, similar to Lokman Singh Karki

Published On: June 25, 2024 08:50 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 25: The government had created a special position at the National Planning Commission (NPC) to replace the then chief secretary Lokman Singh Karki 18 years ago. Similarly, the Cabinet meeting held on Monday created a special position equivalent to the rank of Chief Secretary at the NPC for Dr Baikuntha Aryal. Aryal has been under suspension since Sunday, after which Lila Devi Gadtaula is the Acting Chief Secretary.

The reasons for the suspension of Karki and Aryal are different. Aryal was suspended on the charge of corruption, while Karki was suspended for suppressing the 2006 People's Movement. The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has filed a case against Aryal at the Special Court on the charge of irregularities in the procurement of excise-duty stickers. After the case was filed at the court, Aryal was suspended automatically from the post of Chief Secretary. Aryal was promoted to Chief Secretary just three days before the end of his three year tenure as a secretary. Had he not been promoted to Chief Secretary, he would have retired in mid-June. 

Following the People's Movement of 2006/07, it was observed that actions were taken that exceeded the constitutional limits and boundaries, which were deemed undesirable. Allegations were made that Karki played a leading role in the decision-making process to suppress the political protests. A Cabinet meeting held on May 12, 2006, suspended Karki for two months. After that, on July 13, 2006, he was suspended for another month. The meeting held on August 7, 2006, removed Karki from the post of Chief Secretary by appointing him to the NPC.

Similarly, the Cabinet meeting held on April 23, 2008, decided to initiate departmental action against Karki. Two months later, Karki resigned from his post. 

After Karki, Mukunda Sharma Paudel became the Chief Secretary. He served as the Chief Secretary from June 4, 2006, to August 3, 2006. He was followed by Dr Bhoj Raj Ghimire as the Chief Secretary. 

Last year, the government created the position of Security Council Advisor for the then Chief Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi. Bairagi is still serving in that position. With three months remaining in his three-year term, the government had initiated his resignation in mid-June 2023. Bairagi was asked to resign from the position of Chief Secretary to take up the role of Security Council Advisor. Aryal was appointed to fill the vacant Chief Secretary position.

The term of office for the Chief Secretary is three years. According to the Civil Service Act, 2049 BS, officials reaching the age of 58 before completing their three-year term are eligible for retirement benefits.

The tradition of resigning from the position of Chief Secretary before completing the full term was initiated by former Chief Secretary Som Lal Subedi. With one year of his term remaining, he departed to work as an Alternative Advisor to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the Philippines. He did not resign from the civil service to take up the ADB job. He had placed himself in the reserve pool by taking a decision himself. After that, he resigned from government service on August 6, 2017.

After Subedi, Rajendra Chhetri became the Chief Secretary. He served in the role for about four months. Due to reaching the age limit of 58 years, Chhetri retired on October 23, 2017. After him, Lok Darshan Regmi became the Chief Secretary. The government also did not allow Regmi to complete his full term and instead directed him to resign. Following Regmi, Bairagi became the Chief Secretary. If Regmi had not resigned, he would have been able to work until October 22, 2020. At that time, Acting Secretary Bairagi would have retired from service on October 8, 2020. The government at that time had already initiated the process to replace Regmi as Chief Secretary before Bairagi could assume the role. As a result, Bairagi was appointed as the Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

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