In a rare , but quite an expected move, the cabinet appointed Prakash Aryal as the New Police Chief around midnight and he assumed the charge instantly. The government had reason to do all that as the Supreme court had stayed the appointment of Jay Bahadur Chand as the new Inspector General of Police about three weeks ago within hours of the cabinet decision, and subsequently annulled it. The government was careful enough not to let the court come in between its decision regarding the new appointment and its execution.
The court had issued a mandamus to the government that the Deputy Inspector General of Police with the ‘highest evaluation during the past four years be given the top job’. Nabaraj Silwal who challenged the earlier appointment was quite hopeful that he alone was qualified to hold the post as the apex court verdict had sort of implied that. But he was not as lucky as the midnight decision favoured Aryal based on calculation of the evaluation during the past four years.
Silwal could approach the court seeking ‘implementation’ of its earlier decision only 11 hours after Aryal had taken over. A leadership vacuum and over politicization of the police force with a strength of 72,000 will naturally have its impact on the morale of the force as well as the over all security situation of the country.
How will the SC interpret its own judgment earlier on the issue when it comes up for final hearing Wednesday is being keenly watched as the Nepali Congress, the largest Party in Parliament and the coalition government that has Home Ministry under its charge, had, through a Central committee resolution, criticized the supreme court for ‘stepping into the jurisdiction of the executive.’
A contempt of court case against Nepali Congress chief and former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is pending before the supreme court after reiterated his party’s stand in the public. The current case not only is an indicator of the over politicistion of the police force, but also that of an ongoing tussle between the executive and the supreme court that is allegedly packed with judges with known affiliation to political parties and the NGOs.