Speakers and deputy Speakers agree to draw attention of federal government to necessary legislationProvincial governments say they have not been able to constitute their own civil service and police force in the absence of related laws.
Amid the delay in drafting federal laws necessary for implementing federalism, the Speakers and deputy Speakers from the federal parliament and provincial assemblies have agreed to draw the attention of the authorities concerned to come up with the legislation immediately.
A two-day interaction of the Speakers and deputy Speakers concluded on Saturday that the provincial and local governments have been denied their constitutional authority in the lack of federal laws.
Speakers and deputy Speakers from the seven provinces said implementation of federalism has been hampered in the absence of necessary laws. Purna Bahadur Gharti, the Speaker from Lumbini Province, said they are disappointed to see the apathy of the federal government and Parliament for formulating the laws.
“We decide to draw the attention of the concerned authority to formulate the laws needed for the execution of concurrent and explicit powers of the three tiers of governments,” read one of the decisions of the interaction made public on Saturday.
“It’s been five years since the promulgation of the statute and the provinces have been functional for the last three years. However, we still don’t have necessary laws,” he said. “The centre [federal government] has created obstacles for full implementation of the statute.”
Provincial governments have long been demanding the federal laws. However, no steps have been taken towards passing them from Parliament. While some of the laws are under consideration of the federal parliament, the government is yet to draft many.
Article 133 of the constitution says that any law enacted by provincial governments will be void if it is inconsistent with any federal law. “The provinces, therefore, have no choice but to wait for the centre [federal government and parliament],” said Thapa.
Provincial governments say they have not been able to constitute their own civil service and police force in the lack of federal civil service and police laws. Other laws the provinces have been demanding immediately include those related to land, health service, education and citizenship.
Provincial governments have complained that the federal government has denied them the status of government by not allowing them to have their own administration and police force.
“There can be no government without its own administration and police force,” Gyanendra Yadav, minister for internal affairs and law of Province 2, had told the Post in August.
Arjun Bahadur Thapa, Speaker from Sudurpaschim Province, said the lack of federal laws has affected not just the provincial governments but also provincial assemblies.
Lack of federal laws is similarly affecting the local governments in exercising their authority.
For instance, Schedule 8 of the constitution explicitly empowers local governments to manage school education up to the secondary level.
The 753 local governments can license schools, recruit teachers, determine salary and pay them, conduct examinations and even formulate their own curricula as long as they are within the national curriculum framework. However, the federal government is yet to present the bill related to it in the federal parliament.
In the absence of such laws, the federal government continues to oversee school education as it happened when the country followed the unitary political system.
Local governments have similarly been barred from overseeing basic health services in the absence of the federal health law. Establishment and operation of hospitals and other health facilities, as well as the formulation of policies and plans for basic health, would come under their jurisdictions with an umbrella Act.