Remove ambiguity

The bureaucracy is a permanent body of the government which delivers government services to the people. Under the draft constitution, there shall be a three-tier public administration – federal, provincial and local. The draft constitution has proposed the formation of the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) which will handle the recruitment, promotion, transfer of the permanent employees of the federal administration, and the formation, functions, duties and power of the proposed Provincial Public Service Commission (PPSC) shall be as provided for in the law. But nothing has been mentioned in the draft constitution about the formation, functions, duties and power of the local administration. Public administration experts have called for a separate Local Body Service Commission to handle the recruitment, promotion and transfer process of the permanent employees hired in the local bodies which are directly associated with the daily life of the people at the grassroots level. The draft constitution is silent about the functions, duties and powers between the federal administration and provincial administration as well as the local administration. It will create ambiguity and confusion if the functions, duties and powers of the three tiers of public administrations are not clearly defined.

The Local Body Service Commission must be given a constitutional status to make the local administration more competent and independent

Officials at the current Public Service Commission had recommended to the Constitutional Political-Dialogue and Consensus Committee for the formation of a Public Service Commission Regulatory Body to look into the matters related to upholding the principles of public administration and ensuring fairness and impartiality at the time of recruitment, promotion and transfer of any employee at the federal, provincial and local level. But the consensus committee did not consider the suggestions given by the PSC. In the absence of such a regulatory body, there will be no remedy for malpractices, improper conduct and dilly-dallying of any employee at all levels.

If the draft constitution is passed by the CA full House as it is, it will surely create complications and ambiguities in the day-to-day functioning of the federal, provincial and local-level administrations. Excessive politicization of bureaucracy, no clear jurisdictions between the political leadership and bureaucracy as well as the over-sized bureaucracy at all levels will create a mess when it comes to delivering services to people. One of the weakest parts of the draft constitution is its silence on the local level bureaucracy. The draft constitution should mention something specific about the Local Body Service Commission. As the draft constitution has clearly stated the functions, duties, powers and jurisdictions of the elected local bodies it should also ensure a similar constitutional provision for the local administration. There must be a regulatory body to monitor the three tiers of service commissions. The Local Body Service Commission must therefore be given a constitutional status to make the local administration more competent, independent and free from political interference.

Consumer Court

A number of countries have in their constitutions provisions for a Consumer Protection Commission or a Consumer Court in order to protect the interests of consumers. The upcoming Constitution of Nepal too should incorporate such consumer-friendly provisions. In the absence of a strong and clear law and a powerful regulatory or judicial body, anomalies such as black market, syndicate, and artificial shortages, adulteration of foodstuffs and date-expired products proliferate at the cost of the consuming public. Such mechanisms are necessary for maintaining commercial transparency and discipline.

The Forum for Protection of Consumers’ Rights Nepal has rightly called for such provisions. Under Article 131of the draft constitution, only ‘Specialized Court’ has been mentioned, but no Consumer Court. Thus, in the better interests of all consumers, the Constituent Assembly should make the necessary provisions in the new constitution so that any consumer can have their complaints about being cheated in any way redressed by such a body. Such cases, usually unredressed, are countless in Nepal.