KATHMANDU, Nov 16: The government on Wednesday has defended its decision to cancel public holiday for Christmas on December 25.
The government response came after the Supreme Court, acting on a writ petition, ordered the government to furnish clarification regarding the decision to cancel the public holiday.
The Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government on April 14 had canceled public holiday for Christmas. While submitting written explanation to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the government has claimed that the government has the discretionary power to announce public holidays.
The Supreme Court has set its final hearing on Thursday for testing the legality of the government decision. The writ petition was filed by advocates Buddha Singh Ghising and Ganesh Shrestha.
While submitting written reply to the Supreme Court, Lokdarshan Regmi, Home Secretary (now Chief Secretary) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, claimed that the government took the decision using its discretionary powers and there was no ill-intention involved. He, however, made it clear that public employees of the Christian faith are entitled to holiday on Christmas.
"Public holidays are reviewed in consultation with the concerned stakeholders as and when needed therefore the decision has not violated the rights of the writ petitioners," states Regmi's reply.
Earlier, the government formed after the April 2006 popular movement had declared public holiday for Christmas.
Another defendant in the case, former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, however, claimed that the decision was made in order to curtail the increasing number of public holidays because service seekers are facing unnecessary difficulties due to such public holidays.