EDITORIAL: Do your own job

Almost all the parliamentary panels give directive to the government on areas that do not fall under their jurisdictions

The parliamentary Impeachment Recommendation Committee (IRC) is in a dilemma whether or not to take up an impeachment motion against now-dismissed chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Lokman Singh Karki, exactly three months after the panel was formed by a full house of the Legislature-Parliament on October 19, last year.

As many as 157 lawmakers of the ruling CPN-Maoist Centre and main opposition CPN-UML had filed an impeachment motion against Karki on charges of “misconduct and misuse of power”. The lawmakers had registered the motion on the day when the 15-member cross-party IRC was formed.

However, the Supreme Court, hearing a review petition questioning about his “eligibility and high moral character” for the CIAA position, gave its verdict on January 8, stating that Karki is unfit for the job as per the constitutional provision of the then Interim Constitution based on which he was appointed to the post three years and eight months ago by the then president, Ram Baran Yadav, upon recommendation of the Khilraj Regmi-led government.

After preliminary deliberation, Parliament assigned the IRC to investigate the allegations against Karki and submit its report to the full house along with its recommendations. However, the committee did little about how to start the investigation process as the panel itself was divided over its procedures.

The relevance of investigation against Karki for his “misconduct and misuse of power” has posed a big question mark after the Supreme Court review verdict. After the SC verdict, the IRC started seeking legal advice from government officials and the Office of the Attorney General.

Nepal Law Commission chairman Madhav Poudel who was law minister in the Regmi-led cabinet that recommended Karki for CIAA chief and law secretary Tek Prasad Dhungana who has now been appointed as High Court judge declined to offer any legal advice to the committee saying that they were not the right persons to do so because of their role in the past and present.

Attorney General Raman Kumar Shrestha, however, has also said that it is up to the committee to take a decision whether or not to move ahead with impeachment process.

Parliament is a sovereign body that exercises its rights and prerogatives independently, so are its subject committees. The IRC should also be able to take its decision independently without being influenced by any interest group on the merits of the case.

The panel chose to take legal advice from those persons who were not legally in a position to offer any advice to the sovereign body. One can naturally raise a question: What was the panel doing for the last three months, well before the Supreme Court verdict, when they had enough time to investigate the matter for which it was formed?

Almost all the parliamentary panels do not hesitate to give directives to the government on areas that do not fall under their jurisdictions. But when any issue comes to their jurisdiction, the parliamentary panel has failed to take a prudent decision and has tried to seek advice from unconcerned persons.

Metro buses

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) is all set to operate luxurious metro bus services. This is expected to deal with various problems that are besetting the public transport sector. These luxury buses would provide world class facilities.

A non-profit making company under the coordination of KMC has been proposed as ‘Valley Urban Transport Ltd’. It is planned to purchase 100 such buses. They would be operated in the capital and also in several other cities.

A technical committee has already been formed to prepare the required technical specifications and a bidding document for the operation of the metro bus services.

At present commuters are facing many hassles. The metro bus services would provide quality services and help in dealing with the traffic congestion. Furthermore, as fewer smaller vehicles would be plying on the road this would be possible.

The government has already allocated Rs. 250 million as grants and KMC is expected to invest around 20 million in shares in the envisaged company. Involvement in the metro bus services would also come from other sectors.

The metro buses should be brought into operation without delay in order to facilitate public transport.