Nepal | December 11, 2019

‘Implementation status of constitution dismal’

Constitution Day

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, September 19

Even as the government braces up for celebrating the Constitution Day tomorrow, many stakeholders have expressed discontent over implementation aspect of the constitution.

Chief Minister of Karnali Province Mahendra Bahadur Shahi said his province was far from being autonomous as envisioned by the constitution. “The Financial Commission has been formed, but it has yet to work on allocation of resources among three tiers of government. No effort has been made to divide natural resources among the provinces,” Shahi said. He added that his province was fully dependent on the federal government for finance.

Shahi said lack of human resource was one of the major challenges facing provincial governments. “We require 2,552 employees, but only have 1,000 to 1,200 employees, and they are junior employees. We do not have senior level employees and technical employees. Therefore, we are having hard time to execute development projects,” he said.

Senior Advocate Dinesh Tripathi said the government’s effort to implement the constitution was not only slow, but in some cases its efforts were aimed at undermining the letter and spirit of the constitution.

“Some of the bills, particularly the Information Technology Bill, National Security Bill, Peace and Security Bill and the Media Council Bill that the government brought recently aimed at curtailing fundamental rights of the people. National Human Rights Act (Amendment) Bill proposes to curtain the autonomy of the NHRC,” he said and added that the government’s efforts to politicise judiciary had undermined its independence.

Chief Attorney of Province-2 Dipendra Jha said there were many challenges and contradictions in the constitution that made its implementation difficult.

“As the constitution making process was unnecessarily fast tracked, there are many contradictions in the constitution which can be sorted out only through its amendment,” he said.

Employees at chief attorney’s office in provinces were under the Office of the Attorney General and they could not represent the provincial governments in province-versus federal or federal-versus province cases, according to Jha.

He said the constitution could be implemented effectively only when local levels were under the jurisdiction of concerned provinces. “It is a standard practice to amend the constitution through simple majority in the first-five-years.

But those who wrote the constitution made it a rigid document as a result of which the government has not been able to effectively implement the provisions in it,” he said. Jha said provincial governments were denied the power to levy excise duty and sales tax as a result of which they had to depend on the federal government for resource.

Former prime minister and chief of the federal council of Samajwadi Party-Nepal, Baburam Bhattarai today said at an interaction programme that implementation of the constitution was poor as the laws enacted to implement fundamental rights of the people guaranteed by the new constitution were not adequate.

 


A version of this article appears in print on September 20, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


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