Kathmandu, April 10
Nepal’s government has finally appointed Prakash Aryal as the chief of the country’s police force, ending a bitter row between the three senior-most officers of the security body.
A meeting of the Cabinet on Monday decided to appoint Aryal, the second senior-most officer as the head of Nepal Police, weeks after the Supreme Court annulled the government’s previous decision to appoint DIG Jaya Bahadur Chand to the post. The government had then to choose between Aryal and the senior-most DIG, Nawaraj Silwal.
Following the Supreme Court’s order to annul the appointment of Jaya Bahadur Chand to the post, the executive wing of government had concluded that the judiciary went outside of its jurisdiction to interfere in administrative work.
“Deciding who gets to become the police chief is a right of the executive,” a member of the ruling coalition had earlier told Onlinekhabar. “The police chief will be selected in accordance with the regulations,” the source had said adding that the executive has the right to frame regulations and to amend it when it thinks it’s necessary to do so.
The source had said the leaders in government was in no mood to concede to the Supreme Court. “If the government yields to the court now, it won’t be able to appoint a single secretary in the future.”
According to another source, Prime Minister Prachanda had also concluded that the Supreme Court ruling amounted to interference. “Before the court passed its verdict, the Prime Minister was also in favour of Nawaraj Silwal. But he also wants to seek an alternative to Silwal to send a message to the court that it cannot dictate terms to the government,” the source said.
Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba had always been opposed to the idea of appointing Silwal to the post.
When the full bench of Nepal’s Supreme Court a few weeks ago annulled the government’s decision to appoint DIG Jaya Bahadur Chand as the country’s police chief, the court had ordered the Ministry of Home Affairs, Public Service Commission and Police HQ to submit papers related to the performance appraisal of the pool of DIGs from which an IG was to be picked. The court, however, did not specifically mentioned that any particular individual be appointed to the post.
The government decided to appoint DIG Jaya Bahadur Chand as the new police chief on February 12, just three days after a Cabinet meeting was put off following a dispute in the ruling coalition. Chand was to succeed IGP Upendrakanta Aryal, who has already retired.
While Prime Minister Prachanda was in favour of the senior-most DIG Navaraj Silwal, Nepali Congress chief wanted Chand, the third senior-most officer in the ranks to be appointed to the post. The court has ruled that the officer with the best appraisal shall get the post and annulled Chand’s appointment.
Silwal had moved the Supreme Court the same day Chand was appointed to the post, and the court had issued a stay on Chand’s appointment within a few hours.
According to sources, Deuba had instructed Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi to tender his resignation if the Prime Minister did not yield to his demand. The Prime Minister had reportedly suggested that the second senior-most Prakash Aryal could be a compromise candidate for the job. Deuba, however, was adamant that Chand, who hails from Far-west Nepal (the NC chief’s constituency) be named Upendrakanta Aryal’s successor.