Govt move draws legal eagles flak

KATHMANDU: Legal experts say the government’s decision to sack Chief of Army Staff Rookmangud Katawal is unconstitutional.

They argue that the government did not take other political parties into confidence while sacking Katawal.

“Though government has the power to sack CoAS it should take decision only through consensus,” constitutional expert Purna Man Shakya told this daily.

Former NBA president Shambhu Thapa said, “There is a political motive behind the decision, therefore its solution should be sought politically,” Thapa added.

Former chairman of Constitutional Lawyers Forum Kumar Regmi said, “This is a clear violation of the Constitution, which requires consensus among the political parties before taking such a major decision,” he added.

Article 144 of the Interim Constitution requires consensus among the political parities while taking any decision regarding the Nepali Army.

“The Interim Constitution clearly states that the army should be operated and mobilised and its management should be done based on a political consensus but the government did not forge consensus even in the cabinet,” Regmi added.

Another advocate Dr Bhimarjun Acharya said: “In parliamentary system the PM cannot impose his prime ministerial one-party decision. He should seek consensus from the political parties representing the cabinet,” Acharya added.

As per Article 144 of the Interim Constitution of Nepal, the Chief of Army Staff can be appointed by the

President with the recommendation of the Council of Ministers and as per Section 11(4) of the Army Act, 2006, the government can remove him at any time even before the expiry of his tenure.

“Since the Constitution clearly states that the Council of Ministers should be operated by the President, also the Supreme Commander in Chief of Nepali Army, how can his role be undermined by the government,” advocate Bal Krishna Neupane questioned.

“The government cannot dismiss the CoAS. His dismissal should be forwarded to the head of the state and its Supreme Commander in Chief,” Neupane added. “This is a clear violation of Constitution,” he said.

Neupane added that Section 11 (4) of the Military Act guaranteed three-year term for the CoAS.