Kathmandu, December 17:

The parliamentary State Affairs Committee (SAC) today questioned the legality of the Metropolitan Police about one month after it was formally set up through a Cabinet decision.

Stating that the Metropolitan Police unit was formed without any legislation, the SAC today called Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Home Secretary Umesh Prasad Mainali to clarify its “illegal” formation on December 19. Today, the parliamentary panel discussed the issue with Inspector General of Nepal Police Om Bikram Rana and Joint-Secretary Baman Prasad Neupane.

“It is against the rule of law. How can an entity be formed without any legislation?” questioned MP Hom Nath Dahal. He also claimed that “it is a sheer negligence of the rule of law at a time when the parliament session is on”.

“How can the court accept its activities, as it is directly involved in curbing the citizens’ fundamental rights. It can arrest and detain people and handle cases like a quasi-judicial body,” Dahal added. The Metropolitan Police can also impose curfew and use force to control mobs and prosecute people.

MP Ram Chandra Paudel said it was a legal question and had to be resolved in an appropriate manner. He added that the Metropolitan Police unit was formed instead of empowering the existing police units.

MP Parshuram Meghi Gurung also said that the formation of the Metropolitan Police unit was a sheer violation of the rule of law.

Joint-secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Baman Prasad Neupane, and IGP Rana claimed that the Metropolitan Police unit was formed as per the Cabinet decision, hence there was no question about its legality. “This is not a separate entity, as it has been exercising power under the Nepal Police,” Neupane said. According to Neupane, the Ministry is thinking of reinstating those police officials who deserted the police force during the Maoist insurgency. There are around 18,000 deserters and the government will need Rs 1 billion to reinstate them. Rana said 11541 personnel deserted the Nepal Police while the rest of the deserters belong to the Armed Police Force.