KATHMANDU, July 21: In a rare parliamentary practice, a lower house committee of the federal parliament has overturned a decision of the National Assembly (upper house) over the status of the Administrative Court.
The Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee of the House of Representatives has finalized the revision of a bill with a provision of the continuing the Administrative Court in Kathmandu and establishing its provincial branches depending on the flow of cases at the administrative bench under the high court in the respective provinces.
Making changes to the bill to amend the existing Administrative Court Act, the upper house had proposed dissolving the existing administrative court and assigning the seven high courts to create special benches to hear the cases related to civil servants.
The Administrative Court is responsible for hearing cases related to the transfer, promotion and dismissal of civil servants including the employees of the state-owned enterprises. The government had proposed a powerful Administrative Court with a view to reduce the load of such cases at the regular courts. According to the officials, at least 37 cases are sub-judice at the Administrative Court housed at Singhadurbar in Kathmandu.
Lower house lawmakers had registered amendment proposals to the bill, forwarded by the upper house after endorsement, proposing continuation of the Administrative Court, which was endorsed by the upper house in October last year. The government had registered the bill at the upper house in June 2018.
In their separate amendments, ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker Ram Kumari Jhankri and main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) Whip Pushpa Bhusal had sought the continuation of an Administrative Court in Kathmandu in addition to the administrative benches at all seven high courts, as proposed in the original bill.
But the lower house committee has added a provision to the bill stating that the administrative courts shall be established in the provinces as well if over 200 cases were registered at the administrative bench of the respective province.
“There was no meaning of the bill without at least one Administrative Court in the country. So the committee decided to keep the structure of the court intact in Kathmandu and establish provincial courts if necessary,” said Attar Kamal Musalman, a member of the Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee.
Though there is a 60-day deadline for the upper house to take decision on any bill forwarded by the lower house, the latter has no such deadline for taking such decisions.