The new council of ministers had pledged to make the people begin to feel a change for the better within 15 days. How far this has materialised is a matter for assessment. But the attitudes of some of the senior government leaders give the impression that old habits die hard, and such things as ego and protocol are allowed to affect governance. Vice chairman Dr. Tulsi Giri seems to be a prisoner of this mindset. Since his appointment one month ago, Dr Giri, who looks after five ministries, has not found time to spare the judicial council despite repeated requests from it. As a result, all decisions regarding judicial administration have been pending. As law and justice minister, Dr. Giri is an ex-officio member of the council, which is also responsible for transfers and promotions of the judges. Its meeting has not taken place since the Feb 1 Royal takeover.

Another problem seems to have arisen from a false sense of protocol. As law and justice minister, Dr. Giri is yet to make a courtesy call on the Chief Justice, who is the

ex-officio chairman of the council. The Constitution puts the Chief Justice immediately below the Prime Minister. No doubt, Dr. Giri is a former prime minister. But this fact and his present rank in the cabinet do not make him above the Chief Justice. It is also reported that Dr. Giri has not gone too at least to one other ministry under him. This kind of working style is unlikely to fulfil the promises the government has made. At present, 16 vacancies for judges exist in the various appellate courts and nine in the district courts, besides four in the apex court. Moreover, the transfer of dozens of employees has been held up because of the law minister’s absence from duty. Similar tendencies at various levels may be hampering work in other ministries. This might be part of the work ethics of many Nepalis, particularly in government. But the people will not accept this as an excuse for any lack of good performance. The present government has assumed power in special circumstances and with special promises after holding the party-based previous governments responsible for what has gone wrong in the country during these 14 years. So it is difficult for average performance to justify the risks taken. So the government’s performance will have to be special, too. Otherwise, it will face greater difficulties in the days ahead. Almost half the ‘honeymoon period’ of 100 days normally given to a government is already over. The people want to see and feel a distinct improvement soon. But the kind of tendency mentioned above will not help much in this direction.