Nepal | October 20, 2020

Bill to amend NHRC Act in accordance with constitutional provisions: Minister

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

Kathmandu, June 28

Although the government has been vehemently criticised for bringing the National Human Rights Commission Act (Amendment Bill) that proposes giving the Attorney General overriding power against recommendations of the rights body, the government is in no mood to relent on the issue.

Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal told the Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee of the House of Representatives today that the government brought the NHRC Act (Amendment) Bill in line with the provisions of the constitution.

Dhakal cited Article 158 of the constitution to argue that the Attorney General had the final authority to institute case against the accused.

The NHRC, civil society members and political parties, including Nepali Congress, Samajwadi Party-Nepal and Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, have opposed incorporation of the provisions in the NHRC Act (Amendment) Bill that gives the AG a final say on whether or not to institute cases against those persons whose names could figure in NHRC’s recommendations for action.

Article 158 (2) of the constitution states, “The Attorney General or government attorneys subordinate to him or her shall represent the Government of Nepal in lawsuits wherein the rights, interests or concerns of the Government of Nepal are involved. Except as provided otherwise in this Constitution, the Attorney General shall have the right to make a final decision as to whether to institute any case on behalf of the Government of Nepal in any court, judicial body or authority.”

Kevin Deveaux, an international adviser of UNDP, presented a paper on “The Role of Parliamentary Committee in Ensuring Human Rights” at the panel meeting today. Soon after Deveaux’s presentation, NC lawmaker Dev Prasad Timilsina opposed the government’s move of keeping the NHRC under AG’s jurisdiction. He said the bill was brought  to curtail NHRC’s powers.

Office bearers of constitutional bodies were saying that they would not accept the bill if its provisions did not reflect their views, according to Minister Dhakal.  He, however, did not name any office bearer.

Chairperson of the NHRC Anup Raj Sharma, talking to THT, said the original NHRC Act contained similar provision that the government has incorporated in the recent bill and when the matter had reached the Supreme Court seven years ago, it said that the provision of the Act was unconstitutional. Advocate Om Prakash Aryal had filed a case challenging the AG’s sweeping powers in the bill.

Sharma said in principle, AG had the power to decide whether or not to institute a criminal case but the constitution had made it clear about exceptional cases. “Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority and the Judicial Council make independent decisions to initiate cases under their jurisdictions. NHRC, which was established under the Paris principles, also had similar autonomy and independence,” he argued.

Sharma said that if AG was given the power to override NHRC recommendation as provisioned in the bill, then the AG who is appointed by the prime minister might not act upon the NHRC’s recommendations and the guilty might not be punished.

The bill is in the House of Representatives now. Though the minister was rigid on the bill’s provisions, Chair of the Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee Krishna Bhakta Pokharel in the meeting said the committee would address the concern raised by NHRC. “The panel has held discussion with NHRC and it is going to solve the problems,” he said.


A version of this article appears in print on June 29, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepalaya releases Dr Sudha Sharma's memoir 'Singha Durbarko Ghumne Mech'

KATHMANDU: Nepalaya book publication house has released Dr Sudha Sharma's memoir 'Singha Durbarko Ghumne Mech'. Issuing a press statement, the publication house said, Nepal's Former President Dr Ram Baran Yadav unveiled the book amid special ceremony in Kathmandu, on Saturday. The book chr Read More...

Pakistan opposition holds mass rally calling for PM Khan to go

KARACHI: Tens of thousands of opposition supporters rallied in Pakistan's largest city of Karachi on Sunday as part of a campaign to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan, who they accuse of being installed by the military in a rigged election two years ago. The mass demonstration in Karachi was Read More...

TVET for well-off career in Tourism and Hospitality

Travel & Tourism is one of the world’s largest economic sectors, supporting one in 10 jobs (330 million) worldwide, and generating 10.3% of global GDP. Over the past five years, one in four new jobs were created by the sector, making Travel & Tourism the best partner for governments to ge Read More...

Dreams of bereaved family shattered after death of ASI Govinda BK

DHANGADHI: The family members of police personnel who was killed in an ambush on Saturday night are still in a state of shock. Assistant Sub Inspector of Police (ASI) Govinda BK was killed in an ambush set up by smugglers on the night of October 17. He had taken the charge of police post based in Read More...

Department of Commerce collects Rs 7.8 million in fines

KATHMANDU: The Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection (DCSCP) has collected revenue of over Rs 7.8 million in fines from businesspersons selling substandard goods and operating business illegally. The department had carried out a market monitoring in Kathmandu Valley from Sept Read More...

Public Service Commission halts all written exams until further notice

KATHMANDU: The Public Service Commission has decided to postpone all scheduled written examinations until further notice citing the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Issuing a notice, the PSC has stated that all written exams scheduled by the Commission from November 1 have been halted for the present Read More...

Nepal’s Covid-19 tally hits 136,036 with 3,790 new cases recorded on Monday

KATHMANDU: Nepal registered 3,790 additional cases of coronavirus infection taking the nationwide Covid-19 tally to 136,036, on Monday. There are currently 40,778 active cases of infection while 4,470 people are staying at quarantine facilities across the country. A total of 2,335 people who h Read More...

Ministry of Home Affairs

Home Ministry confirms "emergency curfew" notice as hoax

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has stated that the "emergency curfew" notice disseminated through a Short Message Service (SMS) and circulating on social media on Monday morning was a hoax. Issuing a press release today, MoHA said that the notice was false, misguiding, baseless, Read More...