Pandit says he faced death threats over Civil Service Bill

Kathmandu, July 17

Minister of General Administration Lalbabu Pandit said on Friday he faced obstacles and even death threats for introducing the Civil Service (Fourth Amendment) Bill.

The Bill bars civil servants from obtaining permanent residency in foreign countries. The fourth amendments to the Civil Service Act, 1993, which bars foreign PR and DV holders from working as civil servants, was authenticated by the President on Tuesday.

Now the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers has written to the line ministry to amend other laws to bar all public officers, including corporation employees, from holding PR and DV, and those who are found to have PR in foreign countries will not be allowed to hold public posts.

Minister Pandit said there were complaints against 600 civil servants that they were holding foreign PR and DVs. The ministry will investigate into the complaints after 60 days. “Those who hold PR and DVs have started resigning stating different reasons,” he said, adding that civil servants holding PR and DV could not escape punishment if they did not comply with the law. “The new law states that the complaints should be investigated in three days,” he added.  When asked about the reports of some ministers holding PR, Pandit said the line ministry would amend other laws that could bar all public officers from holding PR. “But for the time being, it is up to the prime minister to investigate into allegations against ministers,” he added.

Minister Pandit said the detractors of the Bill tried their best to scuttle the Bill till the last moment. “I heard that the detractors went to the President to oppose the Bill on the day he was to authenticate it,” Pandit told THT. He said he received death threats over phone and through SMS for introducing the Bill. “When I took the initiative, my party once discussed the matter and then party chair Jhala Nath Khanal told me that my life was in danger,” Pandit said, adding that he told party leaders that ‘backtracking would be like committing suicide’.

Pandit said barring PR holders from holding public office was necessary to ensure that public officers were loyal to the country. “Now even the ordinary Nepalis are thanking me. They say it is because of the PR and DV holders that they are not getting the expected service from them,” Pandit added. He said soon all the public officers would be barred from holding PR.

“The Armed Police Force has already started the new rule and Nepal Telecom has begun to work on the issue. The PM’s office has also issued a circular,” Pandit added.

He said public officers needed to make sacrifices to make Nepal prosperous. “We will have to build our country ourselves. If we depend on others, we will be like a beggar,” he said.

He said ambassadors of India, China and the US to Nepal came to discuss the issue with him and the American ambassador even told him that the act of civil servants holding PR in foreign country was betrayal against Nepal.