Nepal | April 19, 2019

Bill puts rigid restrictions on govt staff

Ram Kumar Kamat

Kathmandu, February 11

The newly registered civil servants bill proposes to prohibit civil servants from taking part in protests, strikes, sit-ins, programmes aimed at exerting pressure on the government, pen-down strike or hunger strike or inciting others to start hunger strike against the government.

This is a more restrictive provision compared to provisions of the Civil Service Act.

The Civil Service Act bars civil servants from taking part in an agitation or a strike or enticing anyone to perform such acts in a manner that undermine the sovereignty and integrity of Nepal, law and order, external relations and public decency, insult court, create hatred among castes, tribes, religions, classes, regions and communities or aid and abet any crime.

Chairperson of Nepal Civil Service Employees’ Association Punya Prasad Dhakal said the bill’s provision that prohibits civil servants from resorting to strikes, agitation and sit-ins were against their trade union rights. “Sometimes when government bodies enter into agreements with trade unions but refuse to implement them, there is no option but to resort to pressure tactics,” Dhakal said.

The bill also proposes to bar civil servants from sharing classified information or documents directly or indirectly with any unauthorised employee, individual or media outlet. This restriction will also apply to retired civil servants.

When asked if the provision was in consonance with the right to information laws, Information Commissioner Kiran Pokharel said RTI Act bars public officials from releasing information related to national sovereignty, national security, criminal investigation and information that could create communal discord and disastrous consequence for the national economy.

The bill proposes that civil servants who join any political party or political organisation, indulge in political activities or contest election should be sacked but not rendered ineligible for government jobs in the future.


Prohibitory provisions

  • Civil servants cannot exert any political and irrational influence on any colleague or office bearer to fulfil his/her self interests
  • Civil servants cannot take   part in political activities and seek membership of any political party or organisation
  • No civil employee shall, on his/her real or pseudo name or anonymity, publish any feature article, provide any news to the press, broadcast a speech through radio or television etc, make any public speech or publish any statement, write comments on social networking sites in such a manner so as to be contrary to the policies of the Government of Nepal or to undermine the mutual relationship between the Government of Nepal and the people or relationship with any foreign country
  • Civil servants and their kin cannot receive gifts or donations from anybody without prior permission from the government
  • Civil servants cannot borrow money from a service seeker
  • They will, however, be free to receive token of love from bilateral and multilateral international organisations and foreign government bodies at the end of any programme
  • Civil servants cannot establish any bank, financial institution or cooperative or take part in the operation of such bodies without obtaining prior permission from the government
  • They cannot open any business that is required to be registered with the government
  • Civil servants cannot work in any other office with the objective of receiving economic benefit, without prior permission
  • They can, however, do work related to literature, art, scientific research, culture, humanitarian and welfare work. They can also join non-political organisations

 


A version of this article appears in print on February 12, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


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