There are no legal provisions that allow local level office-bearers to draw salary
Kathmandu, December 10
The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has issued circulars to district coordination committees and local levels of all provinces other than Province 1, requesting them to implement the Oct 18 verdict passed by the Supreme Court.
The apex court had annulled six provincial laws that allowed office-bearers of local levels to draw monthly salaries. The verdict was delivered by the constitutional bench of the SC led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana.
Other justices on the bench were Deepak Kumar Karki, Kedar Prasad Chalise, Meera Khadka and Hari Krishna Karki. In response to a letter along with full text of the verdict from the apex court received on December 4, Local Level Coordination Section of the MoFAGA has urged all the DDCs, metropolitan cities, sub-metropolitan cities, municipalities and rural municipalities of six provinces to abide by the SC order.
On August 20, Advocate Lokendra Bahadur Oli had filed a case against six provinces for enacting laws that allowed local governments to provide pay and perks to office-bearers of local levels.
The court ruled that the provinces had gone beyond their jurisdiction to enact laws that allowed salaries for local level office-bearers.
The SC ordered the government to stop payment of salaries for local level office-bearers with effect from October 18. There are 29,565 local level office-bearers, who have been receiving monthly salaries. With the SC verdict, the government will be able to save millions of rupees, every month.
The petitioner had mentioned the governments of Province 2, Province 3, Gandaki Province, Province 5, Karnali Province and Sudurpaschim Province as defendants.
The petitioner had also mentioned the Ministry of Internal Affairs as defendant.
According to the full text of the SC, Article 227 of the constitution states that matters relating to the conduct of business of village assembly and municipal assembly, procedure of meetings, formation of committees, conditions in which the office of members fall vacant, facilities for members of the village assembly, municipal assembly and employees and offices of village assembly and municipality shall be as provided for in the provincial law.
“Local level representatives are entitled to only facility, not salary. Provision of ‘salary’ has been mentioned nowhere in the constitution and in its Article 227. As the constitution makers did not envision ‘salary’ for local level office-bearers, providing them salary by issuing provincial law is contrary to the spirit of the constitution,” it read. The full text said nothing shall prevent local levels to provide facility for their office-bearers as per the provincial law. “There are no legal provisions that allow local level office-bearers to draw salary,” the SC verdict read.
A version of this article appears in print on December 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.