Oli govt dillydallying on statutory commissions

Published On: August 20, 2018 07:27 AM NPT By: Kosh Raj Koirala  | @KoshRKoirala

Experts question govt’s commitment to constitution

KATHMANDU, Aug 20: The failure of each successive government to form various statutory bodies almost for three years since the new constitution was promulgated has raised serious doubts over the commitment of the ruling parties to honor the Constitution.

While the previous three governments formed after the promulgation of the Constitution on September 20, 2015 cited the elections as the main reason for the delay, the incumbent government led by KP Oli formed after the successful conclusion of three tiers of elections has shown no sign of filling the key vacancies.

With six months already in office after the elections, Oli government has not only failed to give full shape to the various eight new commissions, but also failed to pick a head for the anti-graft body—something very vital to fulfill the pledge of the prime minister to ensure good governance and accountability.

The Constitution provisions a total of 13 Constitutional Commissions including seven ad hoc ones. While five constitutional bodies – Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Office of the Auditor General, Public Service Commission, Election Commission, National Human Rights Commission and National Natural Resource and Finance Commission -- are permanent in nature, the remaining seven ad hoc commissions aimed at ensuring inclusion of all groups of people in all state structures are temporary.

The terms of the ad hoc commissions, namely National Women’s Commission, National Dalit Commission, National Inclusion Commission, National Indigenous Nationalities Commission, National Madhesi Commission, National Tharu Commission and National Muslim Commission are subject to review in 10 years since the promulgation of the Constitution.

“This means almost three years of the ad hoc commissions have already passed. The failure on the part of the government to give shape to the statutory body raises serious question over the commitment of the government toward the implementation of the new constitution,” said constitutional expert Bhimarjun Acharya.

Acharya said it is mandatory for the government to implement all the provisions incorporated in the constitution. The failure of the government to implement them, he said, shows that the government is not fully assimilating the spirit of the constitution.

Refuting the allegation, Prime Minister Oli’s Press Advisor Kundan Aryal said the government is serious about implementing the constitutional provisions. “All the vacant positions will be filled and the commissions will be formed in appropriate time,” he told Republica.

While the government is looking for a potential candidate to head the anti-graft body, sources familiar with the development said that there are discussions within the NCP to review the ad hoc commissions. “There are a number of commissions proposed in the constitution for different communities. There is a debate over the rationale of having so many commissions,” said the leader, asking to be unnamed.

Each ad hoc commission will have four members and a chief. While the National Women’s Commission and National Dalit Commission were mentioned in the previous constitution also, the new ad hoc commissions were added in the current constitution. “While the Finance Commission, National Women’s Commission and National Dalit Commissions are likely to be formed soon, it may take some more time to form the other commissions. A section of people have even questioned if the country needs all the commissions,” the leader further said.

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