Nepal | May 23, 2019

Constitutionality of executive order on provincial police force questioned

Rewati Sapkota

Kathmandu, November 11

Provincial governments have questioned the constitutionality of an executive order issued by the federal government telling them they could deploy and transfer police personnel up to sub-inspector level.

Province 3 Minister of Internal Affairs and Law Shalikram Jamkattel said the federal government did not have the constitutional power to issue such an order. He said he had talked to his counterparts in other provinces and they too shared the same view on the executive order.

“The federal government does not have the power to issue such an order. This order cannot be implemented and therefore, we want to proceed with the enactment of provincial police bills,” he told THT and added that his province could not wait any longer for the federal Parliament to enact umbrella laws.

Constitutional expert Senior Advocate Chandra Kanta Gyawali said the federal government did not have the power to issue an executive order on issues of provincial police administration, which fell under the jurisdiction of the provincial government as per schedule 6 of the constitution. He said the issue could be challenged in the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court. “This order violates the constitution and is against the spirit of federalism,” he told THT.

The federal government had issued an executive order to the provinces on October 28 after Province 2 Assembly passed its own provincial police bill without the federal Parliament passing a related umbrella law.  The federal government stated it was issuing the executive order as stated in schedule 6 of the constitution to make provincial governments carry out Nepal Police administration and maintain peace and security.

The federal government had issued the executive order under the heading ‘Executive order to maintain peace and security and provincial police administration 2018.’

Ministries of internal affairs and law of all the provinces are scheduled to hold their joint meeting soon to discuss issues related to the executive order and ways to improve peace and security in their provinces.

Minister Jamkattel said provincial governments wanted chief district officers and deputy inspector general of police under their jurisdiction. The executive order only gives provinces power to deploy and transfer personnel up to the sub-inspector level. The provincial governments said they had waited for nine months but the umbrella Police Act was not enacted by the federal Parliament.

“We want a system whereby the federal government should send police chiefs in block to the provincial police offices. Provincial police office can mobilise district chiefs under its jurisdiction in close coordination with Ministry of Internal Affairs and Law,” he said, “The Federal government should send chief district officers in block to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Law and the provincial ministries would mobilise them in the respective districts. This will help maintain coordination between central and provincial governments.”

“How can provincial governments maintain peace and security without jurisdiction over CDOs and provincial police chiefs?” he wondered.

The Cabinet of Gandaki, Karnali, Far-western Province, provinces 1 and 5 are in consensus on drafting provincial police bills and the Cabinet of Province 3 will endorse the proposal to draft the provincial police bill soon,  said Jamkattel.

Province 2 has already passed the provincial police bill. It has also sent a letter to the federal government seeking amendment to the executive order so as to ensure provincial jurisdiction over CDOs and police officers up to senior superintendent of police level.

Deputy inspector general of police commands the provincial police unit, but the DIG is currently deployed by the central government.

 


A version of this article appears in print on November 12, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.


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