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Parliament unaware about 80 per cent laws formulated under its nose

By Narayan Neupane, KATHMANDU:- In a departure from the constitution mandate that the parliament is to formulate laws in the country the subordinate agencies of the executive have been formulating over 80 per cent of laws.
The parliamentary Delegated Legislation and Government Assurance Committee President Ram Narayan Bidari shared that parliament has been formulating only some 20 per cent of the laws.
Much to the dismay, there is no proper archival and analysis of how many such laws are formulated for what purpose and where were they formulated among others.
Talking to RSS, Bidari shared, “There are currently 350 Acts and 300 regulations in practice. Thousands of directives, guidelines and criteria are formed outside of the parliament.”
He warned that anti-good governance practices, impunity and corruption would lurk and flourish if such practices prevail. The parliament is unaware about the laws formulated by line and subordinate ministries, departments and offices. It has not come to the knowledge and notice of parliament whether the laws were properly implemented or misused.
In lack of obtaining permission from the parliamentary committees or parliament itself, there is lack of auditing of the regulations, directives, procedures, criteria, management and circular made after the delegated authority.
Bidari further dismayed, “It’s strange that every ministry formulates directives themselves and function accordingly. Billions of money has been spent from the state coffers in the name of grant and cooperation at the behest of such directives.”
The Committee has already written to all the ministries and related agencies to furnish the details about auxiliary laws within 15 days. The committees’ closets are full of old acts sent by such subordinate agencies.
The study carried out regarding non implementation of budget and acts as well supplementary laws mentioned that subsidiary laws have become a great obstacle.
President Bidari shared, “Homework is underway to bring a new act regarding who can bring the supplementary laws, and why and when the subsidiary laws can be brought in order to stop the wrong trend of making directives in favour of ministers and secretaries for vested interest.”
The parliament should monitor whether the given authority is genuinely used or misused as laws could be formulated only if Parliament gives authority, but this practice is not yet found in Nepal.
Not only the United Kingdom’s parliament the parliaments of Australia and Canada have also been examining the subsidiary laws.
Although the Parliament has given authority to Nepal Rastra Bank, the Election Commission, Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority to formulate subsidiary laws, it has started studying whether or not the authority was used in a right way.
The parliamentary committee has been carrying out a study in order to correct weaknesses seen in some acts, holding consultation with experts and collecting feedback from them by carrying out study regarding the practices.
In course of the study, the committee has suspected misuse of authority by some bodies.
The Committee has objected to the moves of spending the State coffer and determining the punishment for an offence being based on the auxiliary law like directives and criteria. The fixation of punishment through the subsidiary law was against the human rights and the fundamental rights of the citizens. The issue of imposing punishment on someone and collecting tax shall be guided by the law promulgated by the parliament.
Nepal Law Commission’s former chair Madhav Poudel said, “Any law must be published in the National Gazette before its implementation for the people’s information. Almost all directives and by-laws have remained unpublished, according to him.
As he said, all should have a common understanding that the jurisdictions of Delegated Legislation Act should be properly utilized. It should be ensured that no law would come into force without prior information to the House and the people.
Nepal Law Society chair Tirthaman Shakya was of the view that if the House could give more time to its major responsibility, the formulation of auxiliary law outside the parliament would be automatically discouraged. He insisted that the formulation of regulations, directives, criteria and working procedures should be the concerns of the House and an audit of the laws already in practices should be guaranteed. RSS

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