Several jurisdictions overlap in new statute

- GAURAV THAPA, Kathmandu
The constitution needs either new acts and regulations or amendment in the existing legal provisions before it could be fully implemented

Oct 1, 2015-Confusion persists over delineation of jurisdiction between federal provinces and local bodies in the new constitution as the rights to collect taxes have been granted to both tiers of the government.

The right to collect land and house registration fee, vehicle tax, entertainment tax and advertisement tax appear under Schedule 6 of the Constitution of Nepal 2015 which lists the powers and jurisdiction of provinces. But the same rights also appear in Schedule 8 which lists the powers and jurisdiction for local level. Operation of FM stations is another power which comes into conflict.

Meanwhile, there are some powers which fall under the jurisdiction of all three levels of government—the federation, provinces and local bodies. These include management of drinking water,

registration of personal incidents, birth, death, marriage and statistics, and management of ancient monuments and places of archaeological importance.

These powers are listed in Schedule 9 of the constitution. This duplication could force people to travel to provincial and federal capital for even birth and death certificates which had been issued by ward offices or create a power tussle between the three tiers of governance.

There are also regressive provisions on local autonomy and decentralisation as the constitution has usurped the domain of local bodies by taking away some of their legal, judicial and financial powers and transferred them to federal and provincial level. Laws related to family affairs like marriage, property transfer, divorce, endangered, orphaned or adopted child, successors and joint family, formerly vested in village development committees, municipalities and district development committees by Local Self-governance Act of 1999 have been stripped. They appear in Schedule 7 which lists the concurrent powers and jurisdiction of federal and provincial governments.

Another such regressive provision is on land management and record-keeping of the land which has been shifted from local bodies to provincial administration. Likewise, the duty to manage water resources has been withdrawn in favour of provinces.

Earlier, Kathmandu Metropolitan City, being the largest local body in the country, had suggested the Constituent Assembly against these conflicting and regressive provisions while it was still drafting the constitution. The metropolis had asked lawmakers to mandate duties, responsibilities and rights of local bodies without curtailing the rights granted by Local Self Governance Act of 1999. But not all were heeded.

However, the constitution itself provisions a way out of these confusions. Article 235 on coordination among the federation, provinces and local levels states that “the federal parliament shall formulate necessary laws to maintain coordination between the federation, provinces and local levels.” It also states that “the provincial assembly shall coordinate with District Coordination Committee to establish coordination between the province and village council or municipality and to settle disputes, if any, of political nature.”

The constitution needs either new acts and regulations or amendment in the existing legal provisions before it could be fully implemented. A majority of the new acts or amendment on existing ones have to be drafted by the Law Ministry while some will be drafted by the concerned ministries under its consent. The acts will come into effect after Parliament endorses them.


Published: 01-10-2015 08:20

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