President Bidhya Devi Bhandari has, on the credentials of the government, sacked the governors of all seven provinces. The foremost opposition Nepali Congress has convicted the move.
The Office of the President in its press release said that President Bhandari relieved the governors of their posts following Article 165 (1) (b) of the constitution. A Cabinet meeting held that took earlier today had recommended that the president withdraw the governors from their offices.
Article 165 (1) lists situations when the post of governor falls vacant. 165 (1) (b) specifies that the post of governor shall become vacant if his or her term of office expires and he or she is discharged from office by the president before the expiration of the term. Usually, governors can serve for five years.
Article 163 (3) of the constitution specifies: The term of office of governor shall be five years except when the president discharges him or her from office before the termination of his or her term of office.
The governors who lost their jobs today are as follows, Govinda Bahadur Tumbahang of Province 1, Ratneshwor Lal Kayastha of Province 2, Anuradha Koirala of Province 3, Baburam Kunwar of Gandaki Province, Uma Kant Jha of Province 5, Durga Keshar Khanal of Karnali Province and Mohan Raj Malla of Sudurpaschim Province. Sher Bahadur Deuba’s government had recommended their names on January 17.
Kunwar said THT that he was a lawyer and individually felt relieved as he could now practice law, however, he termed the government’s decision as to the height of anarchy. He said that this decision is an attack on the constitutional provisions and rule of law and it is also against federalism.
He said the government’s decision to sack him was mala fide action because he had not done anything wrong. A governor’s post cannot remain vacant even for a minute. The government arbitrarily removed us without giving us any chance to be heard.
Radhe Shyam Adhikari the Nepali Congress lawmaker, who is also a senior advocate, said THT that the government’s decision was constitutionally indefensible. Adhikari said that Governors have five years’ fixed term, but if the government decides to remove them before their term ends, then the government must level a charge against them and if the government accuses them of wrongdoing, then it must give them a chance to be heard.
These governors were designated by the Deuba-led government, but consecutive governments cannot make capricious decisions to overthrow the decisions of the prior government.
Bimalendra Nidhi, vice-president of the Nepali Congress, the main opposition party, said the government’s decision discharging all the governors outraged not only the constitutional provisions but also the election code of conduct.
Nidhi said as per the spirit of the constitution, the government must give these governors a chance to be heard before deciding to remove them from office.
He said the government’s decision was prejudiced and immature. “The government’s move is also aimed at weakening federalism,” he added.
Senior Advocate Surendra Kumar Mahto, however, said the government had the power to remove governors, but it could have justified its move had it removed them immediately after coming to power.
Mahto added that the former CPN-UML and the CPN-MC had told the Deuba-led government to appoint new governors only with their consent. When Deuba was preparing to appoint these governors, some UML leaders had even threatened to remove the new governors, but they did not remove them immediately after coming to power.
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