New bill empowers CDOs to impose restrictions

The bill envisages a district security committee to maintain law and order

Kathmandu, September 21

The Peace and Security Bill registered by the government in the House of Representatives stipulates a provision of imposing restriction on fairs, festivals and mass meetings.

Section 13 of the bill says that the chief district officer concerned may prohibit celebration of any fair or festival if the programme is likely to affect peace and security. “The power to maintain law and order in any festival or fair shall lie with the CDO. If the CDO believes that a fair or festival will threaten the law and order situation, s/he may issue an order against organising such programme,” reads the bill.

The CDO may impose a fine of up to Rs 25,000 on an organiser of such programmes besides mobilising security forces to stop it if s/he continues with the fair or festival in contravention of the order of the local administration. The bill also prohibits use of loud speaker, sound system and other electronic equipment in a manner that generates noise pollution contrary to the standard prescribed under the existing law.

“If anyone causes noise pollution in contravention of the prescribed standard, the CDO concerned may give an order to confiscate the sound amplifier and other equipment in addition to a fine of up to Rs 10,000,” reads the bill.

Noise pollution is emerging as a serious environmental problem in urban areas. The noise pollution has also caused medical problems. People staying in noisy areas, especially above 70 decibel (dBA) must take precautionary measures in order to avoid noise induced hearing loss, according to Nepal Health Research Council. The World Health Organisation has set limit of 70 dBA  in ‘High Traffic Area’ and 64 dBA in ‘Commercial-Cum-Residence Area’. However, Nepal is yet to prescribe permissible noise pollution limit in such areas.

The bill also stipulates a provision of taking a mentally unstable person under control for maintaining law and security and sending him/her to a health facility or a rehabilitation centre for treatment.

According to the bill, the CDO shall make arrangements for peace and security in coordination with the provincial government. Likewise, the security of all government offices except court and defence-related offices shall be overseen by the CDO.

The bill envisages a seven-member district security committee led by the CDO to maintain law and order. The committee includes representatives from Nepali Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, National Investigation Department and Provincial Police, and assistant CDO as members.

The functions and duties of the committee are to analyse overall security situation of the concerned district, collect intelligence, maintain peace and security, mobilise and coordinate security forces, and plan and implement security strategies, among others.