Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bill to supplant probe panel act

The Nepal Law Commission has drafted a bill to replace the existing Inquiry Commission Act 1968 to push the government to make public and implement reports of the inquiry commissions.Clause 21 of the draft bill states that the government should make public any report prepared by a commission of inquiry to respect the right to information of the people on any matter of public interest.
The bill states that an inquiry commission would be formed only if the parliament directs the government to do so. Till now the power to form such a commission rests with the government.“We think that the bill would make the government more responsible while implementing and making the report public,” Baburaja Joshi, chairman of the NLC told .
“If the parliament endorses the bill, inquiry commission reports will be spared the fate of Mallik and Rayamajhi Commission reports,” Joshi added.“The NLC believes that judicial commissions of inquiry and general commissions should be treated differently,” he said, adding, “The judicial commission should be headed by a sitting SC Justice, with the powers of a court of law.”
“The government should make public the report, keeping under wraps only the sensitive parts concerning the sovereignty and integrity of Nepal and national security,” the bill adds.The bill states that the government should implement any report on the advice of the Attorney General. In case there is a need for further investigation the government can do so if the AG opines.As per Clause 11 of the bill, the inquiry commission would carry its investigation secretly but can make it public if the government requests the commission to do so.
The Clause 19 of the draft bill states the inquiry commission should submit its report to the government in a given time frame. Inquiry commissions should make public the expenditure incurred on the investigation while submitting final report. The bill also empowers the inquiry commissions to slap a fine of Rs 5,000 on anyone for showing disrespect to the panels.
Ananta Raj Luitel in himalayatimes

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