Lack of laws affects implementation of fundamental rights

Kathmandu, January 22

Even five years after promulgation of the constitution, the government has not enacted laws for implementation of fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.

Article 47 of the constitution states that the government shall make legal provisions for implementation of fundamental rights within three years of the commencement of this constitution. Articles 16 to 46 of the constitution stipulate provisions related to fundamental rights of the citizens.

According to the annual report (2018-19) of the National Human Rights Commission, though the government enacted some laws, they did not address the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.

Article 35 (4) of the constitution says that ‘every citizen shall have the right of access to clean drinking water and sanitation’.

“The timeframe stipulated by the constitution has already elapsed, but the government is yet to enact the law related to the right of access to clean drinking water and sanitation,” reads the report. “Section 10 and 11 of the Environment Protection (First Amendment) Act-2018 has provisions which say ‘the government may prescribe’ and ‘may impose’ instead of ‘the government shall prescribe’ and ‘shall impose’. Such flaws in the law will make it difficult to implement the fundamental rights,” the NHRC warned.

The rights body said the government had also not paid attention to formulating rules and regulations for implementation of fundamental rights related to crime victims’ protection, persons with disabilities, consumer rights and housing, among others. “The Right to Employment Act- 2018 guarantees minimum employment of 100 days in a fiscal, which is a positive scheme. However, it has failed to gain momentum and a huge number of youths have been compelled to opt for internal and external migration for employment,” it says.

Fundamental rights are applicable in the case of citizens of the country concerned. According to the NHRC, the bill drafted to amend the Nepal Citizenship Act-2006 is pending in the Parliamentary State Affairs and Good Governance Committee. It has rendered many people stateless and they are deprived of their fundamental rights.

Article 252-264 of the constitution stipulate the provision of various thematic commissions related to human rights. Each commission should have one chairperson and four members, but National Dalit Commission and National Women Commission are functioning without office-bearers.

“National Inclusion Commission, Muslim Commission and Madhesi Commission were also constituted, but the government is yet to appoint office bearers in these commissions.

Muslim and Madhesi commissions have their chairpersons, but no initiative has been taken to appoint the members,” it says.

The office of Indigenous Nationalities Commission has been established without its office-bearers.

The Language Commission has its chairperson and only one member. “Such acts will not serve the purpose of ensuring the rights of target communities,” the rights body warned.