Kathmandu, August 31
Although a year has passed since the Parliament enacted 16 laws related to fundamental rights, people have not been able to enjoy most of those rights due to lack of regulations, directives and manuals.
Till now, only two regulations related to right to social security and right to employment have been framed.
Article 47 of the constitution stipulates that the state shall, as required, make legal provisions for implementation of rights within three years of the commencement of this constitution.
Executive Director of Forum for Women, Law and Development Sabin Shrestha said enacting laws did not mean enacting just the Acts but also regulations and directives. As these laws had not been enacted yet by all tiers of government, citizens had not been able to enjoy fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.
“The government has rendered Article 47 of the constitution ineffective. The government cannot shirk its responsibility by just making the Acts,” he said and added that all three tiers of governments were equally responsible for implementing laws related to fundamental rights.
The Public Health Act stipulates that citizens have the right to access basic health services free of cost, but due to lack of regulations, people have not been able to benefit from health services.
As per the constitution, basic health services are under the local governments’ jurisdiction, but there was hardly any local government that had made laws related to these things, he argued.
Chairperson of Forum for Protection of Consumer Rights-Nepal JyotiBaniya said the federal government needed to frame an umbrella regulation and all seven provinces needed to enact their own regulations on the basis of which the 753 local governments needed to make their own directives to implement the new consumer protection law, but none of the governments had passed those laws.
Due to lack of regulations, victims of crime have not been able to exercise their rights.
Spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General Sanjeeb Raj Regmi said although the Act related to victims of crime protection had incorporated comprehensive provisions to comfort the victims, regulation was required to govern the process of interim relief and compensation to be provided to victims of crime.
Executive Director of Justice and Rights Institute–Nepal Basanta Adhikari said most of the Acts related to fundamental rights contained the word ‘as prescribed’ which entailed framing of regulations, directives and manuals. “Right to Food Act stipulates that peasants would be provided farming land, but there is no regulation or manual to define who qualify for such land. There is no clarity on security of tenure,” Adhikari said and added that government bodies were buying time to implement Acts related to fundamental rights. Ministries, he said, are unable to frame regulations also because they lack experts. “Civil society members can help the government make new regulations and directives but this government does not have positive view of civil society and media,” he added.
Adhikari said the government did not ensure passage of Drinking Water and Sanitation Bill, which was a subject of people’s right to health.
“Laws related to fundamental rights are important because people can seek legal remedies, but in the absence of regulations, directives and manuals, they cannot approach the courts,” Adhikari said.
Rights given by the constitution, but not enjoyed
A version of this article appears in print on September 01, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.