Provinces to appoint police up to DSP

Schedule 6 of constitution gives provincial governments exclusive right to oversee their security affairs

Jan 7, 2019-The federal government plans to keep both the federal and provincial police administrations under its command as it proposes limiting the power of provincial governments to recruit personnel.

According to a senior official at the Home Ministry, the draft Federal Police Bill reflects the deep apprehensions of Kathmandu about devolving security mobilisation authority to the provinces.

The Centre has proposed in the Internal Security Bill that the federal government mobilises the chief district officer as its representative in the respective district with power to command the local security agencies.

The draft has drawn strong protests from provincial governments, which consider maintaining law and order within the province as their exclusive constitutional jurisdiction.

Schedule 6 of the constitution gives the provincial government exclusive right to run the State Police Administration and to oversee the law and order situation.

A senior official at the Home Ministry told the Post that they have proposed in the Federal Police Bill that the provincial government recruit personnel up to the deputy superintendent of police level.

“Police personnel above DSP will be mobilised by the Centre,” said the official, on condition of anonymity. They will work as part of the provincial police--under the Centre’s command.

The Centre reserves the right to recruit police personnel up to the inspector general level. The Home Ministry has sent the draft bill to the Law Ministry for its opinion. The provinces formulate their own police laws based on the Federal Police Act for instituting their police force.

The provinces have been pressing the Centre to formulate the Federal Police Act at the earliest. They had also presented this demand during the Inter-state Council meeting chaired by the prime minister last month.

Home Ministry Spokesperson Ram Krishna Subedi refused to talk about the contents of the bill. “We have not made many changes to the draft, which was first prepared by the Nepal Police,” he told the Post.

Provincial governments, on the other hand, want to keep the entire state administration under their command. For instance, the Province 2 Assembly on October 13 passed its Police Act, authorising the provincial government to appoint the chief of the provincial force.

“According to the constitution, provincial police is a separate structure fully under the provincial government,” said Dipendra Jha, the chief attorney of Province 2. “The central government does not have the constitutional right to dictate the provinces on formation of the provincial police.”

It would be against the constitution for the federal government to command the state police, said Jha, and thus intolerable for Province 2.

However, the Centre believes that provinces cannot create parallel police institutions as that would be dangerous. Kathmandu maintains that sensitive issues like security should not be left only to the care of state government and that provincial security should be a part of broader national security. At a time when national integrity is at risk due to secessionist elements that burn the national flag, chant anti-Nepal slogans and kill police personnel, Home Ministry officials argue, Kathmandu should have some control over the security apparatus.

Published: 07-01-2019 11:29

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