Change in law sought for enforcement

- DEWAN RAI, Kathmandu
Change in law sought for enforcement

Dec 12, 2014-

The National Human Rights Commission has proposed an amendment to its law, by drafting a provision which allows it to file contempt of court cases against the authorities who fail to comply with its recommendations.

The amendment was proposed to the National Human Rights Act-2012 after the commission’s recommendations to cases of human rights abuse, in particular cases demanding legal actions against rights violators, went unimplemented. In its 14-year history, the NHRC has submitted 737 recommendations in response to 11,647 complaints. The government, however, has executed only 105 of the recommendations — all related to compensation to victims.

The officials at the national rights watchdog say that the provision which allows the Attorney General to decide whether to file or drop a case will be removed, as well. The Supreme Court verdict of 2013 had called for scrapping the authority given to the government’s chief legal advisor on initiating or dropping a case.

“The amendment was proposed to make the institution more autonomous and independent. The earlier Act of 1997 had given the commission full autonomy to function,” said Govinda Sharma Poudel, a commissioner at NHRC.

Alarmingly low rate of implementation of the commission’s recommendations and clause 32 of its Act has repeatedly put the ‘A’ status of national rights watchdog at risk .

The International Coordination Committee of national human rights institutions (ICC) of UN Human Rights Committee had given continuity to ‘A’ status last month.

Nepal was granted the ‘A’ status first time in 2011 for five years, which was questioned by civil society organisations, particularly citing provision of its current Act and function of the organisations.

Nepal is one of the 70 countries with ‘A’ status in the 106-member global association of national human rights institutions.

The proposal also calls for scrapping of clause 32, which regulates monetary planning of the commission. The provision has it that the commission is required to take approval of Finance Ministry in monetary planning.

Sharma-led taskforce has also suggested the new constitution should include terms ‘autonomous and independent’ in its preamble referring to national rights watchdog.  The draft has also proposed that the NHRC should come immediately after Judiciary.

“The commission is headed by retired chief justice of Supreme Court and thus it should come before other constitutional bodies,” he said.

The Interim Constitution has mentioned Judiciary in part 10 and NHRC in part 15, after Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority, Auditor General, Public Service Commission and Election Commission.

Published: 13-12-2014 11:22

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