Kathmandu, June 24
The government has issued Caste Based Discrimination and Untouchability (Offence and Punishment) Regulation, 2017 to make the practice of untouchability, exclusion, restriction and expulsion on grounds of caste, creed or descent punishable.
The regulation came into effect with its publication by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development in the Nepal Gazette yesterday. “If any one deprives a person of public service or restricts him/her from performing any act on grounds of caste, race,creed or descent, community or occupation, such person or a witness of such incident may lodge a complaint with the nearest police office,” read the regulation.
In case the police office refuses to register the complaint and does not initiate action against the suspect, one may file the complaint at the National Dalit Commission or the concerned local level within 15 days of such incident. “On receipt of the complaint, the commission or the local level shall maintain its record and write to the concerned police office to duly entertain the complaint,” said the regulation.
If the concerned police office receives the letter from the commission or the local level, it shall send the commission or the local level a receipt of the registration of the complaint to ensure that it will initiate necessary proceedings on such complaint as per the existing laws.
Even a person who finds that someone has committed an offence related to caste-based discrimination and untouchability may lodge a complaint. The existing laws have clearly stated that no one shall be expelled individually or collectively from a public place or a public occasion or commit any act of social exclusion or discrimination of any kind or demonstrate any other kind of intolerant behavior.
Similarly, no one shall prevent a person of marriageable age pursuant to prevailing law from entering into inter-caste marriage; or shall deny to perform naming ceremony of the child born from such marriage or compel or cause to compel someone for divorce on grounds of caste race, creed or descent.
A version of this article appears in print on June 25, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.