On Thursday, the federal parliament’s fourth session was prorogued without validating crucial laws required for the federal and provincial governments to fulfill federalism as envisioned by the constitution completely.
The constitution proclaimed four years ago, approves provincial governments to select civil servants in provincial public service commission’s once a federal civil service law is in place. But four years since the promulgation of the statute, the federal parliament has yet to approve the law, limiting provincial commissions from hiring civil servants. Though the Federal Civil Service Bill has been tabled in Parliament, it has not been granted for consideration.
The Federal Public Service Commission Bill is experiencing the same. As per the constitution, provincial laws, along with the civil service Act, should be in line with federal Acts. Provincial governments thus cannot delineate their Acts except the federal Act is in place. But the central government, despite missing no chance to note provincial governments of constitutional provisions, has itself crippled the federal rule.
Legal analysts state that it is sad that the government and Parliament have conferred little urgency in supporting federal Acts.
“All the federal laws needed to be in place, as we are marking the fourth anniversary of constitution promulgation,” Bipin Adhikari, former dean at Kathmandu University School of Law, said. He stated the federal parliament is still to support 40 other Acts that are crucial to constitution implementation.
The delay by the federal government has hindered the local and provincial governments in holding their 15 and 22 Acts, each.
Though Parliament has approved a majority of Acts that had constitutional deadlines, it has displeased to do the same with those that do not have such deadlines. Acts linked to fundamental rights were prepared within three years of constitution promulgation while Acts that are not in conformism with the constitution were amended within a year of the first conference of the federal parliament.
But because there is no deadline for federal Acts does not indicate they can be delayed for eternity, stated, constitutional authorities.
“This is an issue of political accountability. The provincial governments must show courage and place pressure on the federal government,” Purna Man Shakya, a professor at the Nepal Law Campus said. Along with legal terms, the government must also secure the basic sources for their achievement, he stated.
Officials at the provincial governments state that the federal government and Parliament have been inconsiderate towards them. The delays in supporting the Federal Civil Service Act and amendments to the Citizenship Act and the Forest Act have especially changed the functioning of provincial governments.
The federal education and federal health Acts are two others that have not yet been prepared.
“These laws had to be readied in the previous session itself,” Dipendra Jha, chief attorney for the Province 2 government said. “Neither the federal government nor the federal parliament is sensitive towards our concerns.”
The federal parliament has now achieved four sessions since its first meeting on March 5 last year. As per the parliamentary secretariat, the House of Representatives held 65 meetings in the budget session, which began on April 29. In addition to the government’s policies and plans and the national budget for the fiscal year 2019-20, the House endorsed 15 other bills.
A total of 17 bills were filed by the government in the closed session while 19 others were reserves from previous sessions. “Some bills are under consideration in different House committees for finalization,” Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara stated in the Lower House on Thursday.
Around half a dozen bills that the government began in the federal parliament have been uncertain. The government had to eliminate an act bill to the Guthi Act following huge public insult while the Media Council Bill, Information Technology Bill, and bill on an amendment to the National Human Rights Commission, all of which have gained criticism from several quarters, are still below consideration.