House committee ruling complicates PSC vacancies issue

2019-06-12

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KATHMANDU, June 12: The directive of parliament's State Affairs Committee (SAC) to scrap the vacancies announced by the Public Service Commission (PSC) has further complicated matters as the line ministry has announced not to abide by the directive.

PAC officials said the constitutional body isn't in a position to implement the committee's directive at least for a few days as it is against a decision already taken by the commission.

The situation got complicated as the ministry and the PSC seemed not to be in a position to implement the parliamentary committee's directive, while people have already taken to the street for and against the directive.

“It will be against the constitution for the ministry to ask a constitutional body to revoke an earlier decision. Therefore, we can do nothing regarding this decision of the parliamentary committee,” Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration Lalbabu Pandit told Republica.

The SAC on Monday directed the ministry and the PSC to scrap the vacancies.

Minister Pandit, however, said that as a constitutional body, the PSC is independent to take decisions on its own.

Article 293 of the constitution states that the committees of the House of Representatives may monitor and evaluate the functioning, including the reports, of the constitutional bodies other than the National Human Rights Commission, and issue necessary directions or advice.

Senior officials at the PSC said that they are in a fix whether to implement the parliamentary body's directive or move the courts.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the commission, Umesh Mainali, is away in India for a few days and the other commission members are waiting for his return before taking any decision.

Out of six members of the PSC including the chairperson, only three were in Kathmandu on Tuesday, when the commission received the parliamentary committee's directive to scrap the vacancies. This is short of a quorum for a PSC meeting .

Sources said that PSC Chairperson Mainali is preparing to return to Kathmandu on Wednesday or Thursday in view of the latest developments.

“We have received the SAC letter but we are yet to decide any further move. It could take a few more days as some members are outside Kathmandu at the moment,” said PSC Secretary Mahendra Guragain.

Some PSC members also said they should wait until the return of Prime Minister K P Oli from his Europe visit. Oli will return on 16 May, just two days before the deadline for applying for the PSC vacancies .

The PSC published vacancies for 9,161 civil servants at 515 different local units on May 29.

The issue was discussed at the parliamentary committee after some lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties and the Province 2 government objected to the vacancies, saying these weren't properly allocated among the various communities and other groups.

Following the parliamentary committee's decision to seek the scrapping of the vacancies, people have been sharply divided, with some protesting against the decision and some others demanding immediate scrapping of the vacancies.