New rules to regulate honours, awards

Titles, medals unlikely for over 202 persons at a time 


The government has amended the Decorations Rules-2008 in a bid to free it from controversy while conferring honours, titles and medals to various persons.

The new provisions have come into effect after its publication in the Nepal Gazette last week. There is a tradition of conferring decorations to Nepali and foreign citizens, who make ‘outstanding contribution’ to various walks of national life, every year. As per the new provision stipulated in the rules, the government may confer honours, titles and medals to no more than 202 persons at a time. Of them, only one person shall be honoured with Nepal Ratna (the highest civilian award) while Rastra Gaurav shall go to two persons. Title of Man Padavi shall be given away to 100 persons. Alankar and medal shall be conferred on 50 persons, each.

Earlier, the government had been giving away these titles to hundreds of persons, who were close to the authorities concerned and political parties, without evaluating their contribution to the nation and people. As the existing law does not prescribe the number of persons to be honoured with the titles, the government could give away awards to anyone.

The government had announced names of 634 persons, living or dead, from different walks of life for honour, in recognition of their contribution to the nation this year. The announcement was to mark the Constitution Day. Recently, the National Vigilance Centre recommended fixing the standard for medals and awards to be conferred by the government on various personalities.

Decisions taken by the government to honour controversial persons without checking and verifying their background had drawn public criticism in the past.

In 2018, the government conferred medals on sacked chief justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli, suspended senior superintendent of police Bidhyananda Majhi and other persons with tainted image.

Some of the awardees had refused to receive the medals and decorations.

According to a notice published by the Ministry of Home Affairs, as many as 189 persons had not received the awards in the past nine years. Some of them include Damannath Dhungana, Nilkantha Upreti, Subodh Pyakurel, Kanakmani Dixit, Haribansha Acharya and Madan Krishna Shrestha. “The person, who could not attend the special function shall have to receive it within one year of such decoration ceremony. In case of failure to receive the medal or title within that period, it will be withdrawn,” reads rule 45. Any person convicted of corruption, rape, human trafficking, drug smuggling, money laundering, passport misuse, kidnapping and other offences involving moral turpitude will not be entitled to the honour.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 15, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.