National

MPs call for body to control misuse of diplomatic passport

- RASTRIYA SAMACHAR SAMITI, Kathmandu

Sep 12, 2018-

Lawmakers have asked the government to set up an proper mechanism to manage the ‘red passports’ for their foreign trips in order to check the possible misuse of the privileged travel documents.

Speaking at a meeting of the International Relations Committee of the House of Representatives (HoR) on Tuesday, the lawmakers called for such mechanism while participating in the deliberations on the bill prepared to amend and integrate the laws related to passports 2075 BS. The parliamentary committee members have also stated that while going for foreign trips with diplomatic passports may further enhance the national prestige as the lawmakers were the representative of the people.

The discussion was centred on whether to provide a diplomatic passport for the full tenure or a particular term or withdrawing the passport after returning from the foreign trip.

The issue of red passport for lawmakers has courted controversy as some parliamentarians had faced legal action after being found to have misused their diplomatic passports.

Most of the lawmakers have suggested include the provision of submitting their certificates received from the Election Commission and identity cards of the federal parliament. The bill mentions that action can be taken against those providing wrong details in the passport or involved in passport-related crime, including arrest without warrant.

The proposed bill has a provision against such crimes, with fines ranging from Rs200,000 to Rs 500,000 or one to three years of imprisonment or both. Action will be taken against any lawmakers found flouting the government’s directives on the use of diplomatic passport like, the bill says.

Although it was suggested to carry out a thorough study by forming a sub-committee, Tuesday’s committee meeting chaired by its senior-most lawmaker Madhav Nepal representing the ruling Nepal Communist Party suggested a thorough study by forming a sub-committee and decided to call an extensive meeting on Friday for the purpose.

On the occasion, Pushpa Bhusal of the Nepali Congress said that the lawmakers should not been kept aside at a time when preparations are under way to issue red passport to chiefs of municipalities and rural municipalities.

Similarly, Naradmuni Rana of the NCP said that it would be appropriate to issue the red passport to lawmakers after putting a mechanism in place to check any possible misuse of such travel documents.

Prem Suwal of the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party suggested that all Nepalis regardless of their position should use general passport while going abroad on personal work. A total of six lawmakers have registered amendment proposal on the bill.

The government had taken the Passport Act-2024 in the House of Representatives for its timely revision.

Secretary at the Foreign Ministry Shanker Das Bairagi said some provisions had been incorporated into the ball to address the policy-level criteria of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. A provision of four types of passport has been made in the bill: diplomatic passports are issued for those going abroad on official work and high-level officials; special passports for those going aboard for studies and training from government’s decision; service passports for those employees deputed in Nepali mission abroad; and general passport to Nepali citizens.

Published: 12-09-2018 07:53

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