Stay orders on Nepal Police IGP appointment to continue

KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave continuity to two stay orders issued against the appointment of Jaya Bahadur Chand as the Inspector General of Nepal Police.

After conducting the hearing on separate writs filed by advocate Kapil Dev Dhakal and DIG Nawa Raj Silwal, the division bench of Justice duo Hari Krishna Karki and Tej Bahadur KC said the orders issued on February 12 and 13 would continue till the final verdict on the case.

The bench observed that based on the weightage of evidence continuing the previous orders would be appropriate to maintain the "balance of convenience".

The bench in its order issued today has mentioned that a full hearing would be conducted three days after the defendants in the writs submit their answers to the apex court.

The Ministry of Home Affairs failed to stick to the Rule 41 of Nepal Police Regulations and evaluate seniority, performance, skill and ability to bear responsibility as well as lead, encourage and mobilise the juniors as prescribed by the Rule 41 while preparing the proposal on the IGP appointment, the bench observed.

It further pointed out that the written decision on [Chand's] promotion did not mention any basis and reason why the promoted person was entitled to it.

Since it was not seen that the plaintiff [Silwal] was considered for promotion and evaluated on a par with the Rule 41, the bench said, it was appropriate to put the February 12, 2017 verdict against defendant Jaya Bahadur Chand's promotion as the Inspector General of Police on status quo from the perspective of the balance of convenience.

"Top post can't remain vacant for long"

Observing that the national police organisation cannot be led by an acting chief for a long time, the bench has urged the defendants including the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers to submit their reply as soon as possible.

Such an important post like that of police chief cannot be kept vacant for long, the bench said, and it would be inappropriate to run it as per the special provision of Police Regulation's Rule 46.

"...It is observed that due importance should be given to conclude the matter soon...," today's order stated.

It further said a full hearing would be scheduled within three days after the court procedure to hand over the order to stakeholders and submission of written reply by the defendants.

Currently, Dr Dinesh Chandra Pokhrel, who is medical doctor, is leading the Nepal Police as its Acting Chief as per the Rule 46 after the government amended the Police Regulation after the apex court stayed Chand's appointment.

During the hearing, advocates on behalf of Dhakal and Chand had argued that the Cabinet decision did not clearly mention reasons behind the appointment of Chand while Silwal was not considered as one of the competitors.

The government attorneys including the Attorney General Raman Kumar Shrestha, on the other hand, had argued that picking the chief of Nepal Police was the Cabinet's discretion and no rule had been violated by the appointment.

Earlier, the government on February 12 had appointed Chand to the post of Nepal Police Chief, giving him a double promotion.

The apex court, however, had stayed the decision on the same day after it was moved against the appointment claiming the decision violated the tradition of seniority.

Advocate Dhakal had filed the case two days before the appointment.

The next day, on February 13, the Court had again barred Chand from assuming office in response to another writ filed by his batchmate DIG Silwal.

Silwal had claimed that he was the most senior among four DIGs eligible for the top post and therefore, he should have been appointed.

Hearing on both the writs had begun on February 22.