Nepal | August 07, 2020

Members, MPs flay govt for bid to keep rights watchdog on tight leash

Jagdishor Panday
Share Now:

This combo image shows Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, and Anup Raj Sharma, chairman of National Human Rights Commission (right). Photo: THT

Kathmandu, April 30

Members of the National Human Rights Commission and lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties today condemned the government’s move to curtail constitutional rights of the human rights watchdog.

The government has drafted a bill to amend the NHRC Act, which stakeholders say proposes to make the constitutional body a weak division of the government.

We are shocked to see the bill registered in the House. We urge the govt to revise it before it becomes an act — Anup Raj Sharma, NHRC chairman

Speaking in the Parliamentary Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee, NHRC Chairman Anup Raj Sharma said the government ignored their 16-point suggestions on the draft bill and introduced a bill aimed at curtailing powers of the rights body.

“We are shocked to see the bill registered in the Parliament. We urge the government to revise it before it becomes an act,” he said.

The bill proposes more discretionary authority to the attorney general on the rights body’s recommendations seeking prosecution of human rights violators. It also proposes that the NHRC should make recommendations for filing court cases to the Office of the Attorney General.

The bill also states that if the AG tells the NHRC to conduct further probe into certain cases, the latter should comply with the order. The draft bill adds that the AG will have the authority to take a final call on filing cases against alleged human rights violators after analysing additional evidences submitted by the NHRC. It also does not allow financial and administrative independence to the NHRC.

NHRC members Prakash Osti, Mohana Ansari and Govinda Sharma Paudel said the government was trying to minimise the NHRC’s role in violation of constitutional provisions.

Chief Whip of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Dev Prasad Gurung said the bill should abide by constitutional provisions.

Chief Whip of main opposition Nepali Congress Bal Krishna Khand said the government was adopting conservative approach against democratic principles. “As the main opposition, the NC requests the government to consider the NHRC’s suggestions on amendment bill,” he said.

Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal lawmaker Laxman Lal Karna said the government could amend the bill if it was inconsistent with the constitution and created dissatisfaction among people. “The NHRC Act cannot curtail the commission’s rights guaranteed by the constitution,” he said.

NC lawmaker Min Bahadur Biswakarma criticised the government for its lack of knowledge on the sensitive issue of human rights.

We’ll not withdraw the bill just because some people don’t like it  — Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs

In his reply, Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal said the government would make its position clear when the bill goes for clause-wise discussion in the parliamentary committee.

“The government has kept in mind the concerns raised by NHRC chairperson and members,” he said. “However, we are not going to withdraw the bill just because some people don’t like it.”


A version of this article appears in print on May 01, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Gandaki Province CM Prithivi Subba Gurung

No statutory ground to seek PM’s resignation

Gandaki Province chief minister Prithvi Subba Gurung is NCP (NCP) Gandaki Province in-charge. A former secretary of then CPN-UML party, Gurung is the supporter of Prime Minister and NCP (NCP) co-chairperson KP Sharma Oli. As the intra-party feud has escalated lately, CM Gurung has been quite occupie Read More...

43 new Covid-19 cases recorded in Parsa on Thursday, NC central member Ajay Chaurasiya also infected

11 infected are Nepali Army personnel in Birgunj BIRGUNJ: As many as 43 cases of coronavirus infection have freshly surfaced in Parsa on Thursday. Among the infected is central committee member of main opposition Nepali Congress, Ajay Chaurasiya. The infections were confirmed through the P Read More...

Sample of Saptari man who died on Tuesday night tests positive for Covid 19

SAPTARI: A 45-year-old man from Rupani Rural Municipality-5 of Saptari was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, albeit post demise. He had passed away on Tuesday night. The deceased had been suffering from high fever for about two weeks for which he purchased medicines from a local pharmacy. Read More...

Gold price hits Rs 102,500; silver price reaches Rs 1,345

KATHMANDU: The price of gold has made yet another record at an all time high of Rs 102,500 per tola in the domestic market today. Federation of Nepal Gold and Silver Dealers’ Association (FeNeGoSiDA) showed an increase of Rs 1,100 per tola on fine gold. The price of tejabi gold stands at Rs 10 Read More...

Pushpa Kamal Dahal_Sajha bus

Six security personnel stationed at NCP Co-chair Dahal's residence diagnosed with COVID-19

KATHMANDU: Six of the security personnel stationed at the residence of ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal have tested positive for coronavirus. The PCR tests were carried out at Maharajgunj-based Nepal Police Hospital. According to Dahal's secretariat, the infected Read More...

Lebanon mourns victims of devastating blast, searches for missing

French president due to visit Beirut on Thursday Dozens still missing after Tuesday's huge blast Officials start counting enormous cost of explosion World Bank says working to mobilise financial support BEIRUT: Lebanon mourned on Thursday the victims of the most powerful blast to hit Read More...

International Commission of Jurists calls for transparency and justice

KATHMANDU: International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an international non-government organisation which works as advocate for justice and human rights, has called upon the Government of Nepal to undertake substantial reforms in order to ensure that the wide-ranging constitutional and political re Read More...

Industry's violation of COVID-19 safety protocol causes virus transmission in community

DHARAN: An industry has been held responsible for transmission of coronavirus at community level in Dharan Sub-metropolitan City of Sunsari district.  Negligence on the part of Priti Valve and Fittings Industries Pvt Ltd located in the Industrial Area of Dharan-8 has been  blamed for local Read More...