COAS’ duties under RNA Act challenged in SC

Kathmandu, February 6:

A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court today challenging some provisions of the Royal Nepalese Army Act, 1969, that fixes the condition of service and authority of the Chief of Army Staffs (COAS).

In the petition, advocate Bharat Mani Gautam claimed that the Act contradicts Article 3, 35(2) (3), 118, 119 and 131 of the Constitution of 1990 while fixing duties and responsibilities of the COAS and thus the Supreme Court should issue an order under its extra-ordinary jurisdiction under Article 88 (1) and annul the provisions. The apex court said a hearing in the case would be conducted soon.

The Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Secretariat of the National Defence Council are the defendants in the case.

Gautam had also filed a PIL challenging several provisions of the Military Act 1959 recently. The apex court had issued show cause notices to the authorities in the case. The petitioner claimed that Clauses 2(b), 3, 4(1), 5, 6, 10 (5) (6) and 11 contradicts with several provisions of the Constitution and thus the SC should urgently intervene in the matter. These provisions say that the COAS will be working under special and ordinary directions issued by the King and they are responsible to the King.

“The fixing of duties and responsibilities of the COAS in accordance with the Act is against the concept of a cabinet system despite the council of ministers being appointed by the King with the recommendation of the Prime Minister,” the petitioner said.