National Security Council Bill in Parliament

Kathmandu, July 4

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Bhim Rawal today tabled the National Security Council Bill in the Parliament for discussion.

The new constitution has included Chief of the Army Staff as one of the seven members of the National Security Council.

The Interim Constitution had excluded the CoAS from the National Defence Council, thus the Nepali Army was not happy with that provision. Security expert Geja Sharma Wagle said the first draft of the constitution had also excluded the CoAS but later included.

He said including the CoAS in the National Security Council was common practice in many countries.

Presenting the Bill in the Parliament today, DPM and Defence Minister Bhim Rawal explained that the Bill was drafted to manage the comprehensive security of the country and it was focused on how to guide the Security Council ahead.

The Constitution of Nepal has a provision for setting up the National Security Council for the purpose of giving suggestions to the government regarding mobilisation and control of the army.

The Council is mandated to recommend army mobilisation to the government if the need arises.

Spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence Shiva Prasad Simkhada said the new bill has included the finance minister, foreign minister and CoAS as members of the Council, besides the Defence secretary as member secretaries.

He said the bill will make the functions of the Council clear and people will know all about its activities which will ensure that all the decisions of the Council are legal.

Simkhada said the Council was only focused on mobilising the Nepali Army, but now the new bill has clearly defined all its tasks.

The bill states that the presence of five members will be sufficient to take decision and the decision needs to be taken in consensus but if that cannot happen, the decision of the majority, including the chairman will be final.

The bill also states that in case of serious national crisis or in a situation that could give rise to a crisis if the army is not mobilised and if the meeting of NSC is not possible immediately, the chairman can recommend to the government to mobilise the army.

“If the chairman decides to recommend mobilisation of the army he has to endorse the decision through the NSC at the earliest,” the bill states.

The bill also states that the NSC can seek necessary suggestions, details and information from any of the security bodies and the bodies of the Nepal Government that it deems necessary for national welfare, security and defence and it will by the duty of these bodies to provide such information.

Section 6 of the Army Act 2006 will be annulled after Parliament endorses the bill.