Govt, NHRC at odds over chief’s salary

Kathmandu, August 31:

The National Human Rights Commission has been calling on the government to amend its statute ever since it was recognised as a constitutional body.

Since its inception, about one and half years ago, the constitutional body has been demanding that the government provide more salary to its office-bearers compared to that of other constitutional bodies. However,the government has rejected the demand.

To make matters worse, the demand to ramp up the NHRC staff strength has also gone unheard. “Since the NHRC is the rights body, we have been demanding more autonomy. We have proposed to appoint staff without the intervention of the Public Service Commission (PSC). We will follow the PSC guidelines,” said Bishal Khanal, secretary, NHRC.

The government has countered the move.

“How can the government give such privileges to only one constitutional body? This will create discrimination between the NHRC and the other constitutional bodies,” said a secretary of the PMO.

The rights body claimed that since it is the autonomous institution it should get the privileges to appoint officials without any intervention. This will make, the NHRC claims, the rights panel more effective. “The NHRC did not accept our draft that we had prepared a few months ago,” said the secretary.

The NHRC demanded more facilities for its chairman and members. The chairman of the body must get the facilities on a par with the Chief Justice (CJ). Similarly, their members ought to enjoy equal status with the judges of the Supreme Court (SC).

Though the NHRC chief and other commissioners have been enjoying the same status as that of the CJ and SC justices, the government wants to down grade their salary. The PMO secretary claimed that the government is not ready to create discrimination between the commissioners of other constitutional bodies.