Sunday, July 14, 2024
Public Opinion

Supreme Court Paused Controversial Traffic Rule of Having Volunteers

The Supreme Court of Nepal recently issued an interim order suspending Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane’s decision. The Decision was to deploy traffic rule violators as traffic management volunteers. This decision was enacted by the Kathmandu Valley Traffic Police Office last week. Which involved individuals who had violated traffic regulations, such as drunk driving, being put to work as traffic volunteers.

Source: Khabarhub

The directive faced immediate backlash, with seven youths filing a writ petition arguing that the home ministry’s order infringed upon citizens’ rights to live with dignity and move freely. The petitioners contended that the decision violated the rule of law, natural justice principles, and fundamental rights protected by the Constitution. Responding to these concerns, a single bench of Justice Til Prasad Shrestha issued the interim order, halting the enforcement of the controversial decision.

Background and Reactions

Minister Lamichhane’s announcement on social media drew mixed reactions from the public. He also stated that women traffic officials would receive four days of menstrual leave, with violators filling in as volunteers during their absence. The move to employ traffic violators as volunteers sparked widespread debate, both on social media and within the community.

Before the Supreme Court’s order, the Valley Traffic Police Office had already begun implementing the directive. Over 1,300 individuals charged with traffic violations such as speeding, and running red lights were deployed on the streets. According to Senior Superintendent of Police Jeevan Kumar Shrestha, these individuals were first given a traffic rules awareness class. Before being assigned to various locations in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur. SSP Shrestha reported no objections from those assigned as volunteers on the first day.

Source: UNOPS

Opinions

Legal experts criticized the Home Ministry’s decision as irrational. Senior Advocate Satish Krishna Kharel pointed out that while voluntary participation in such activities is permissible, compulsory service without consent is unconstitutional. Article 29, Clause 4 of the Constitution explicitly states that no one can be forced to work against their will, and compulsory service requires a law, not just a verbal directive.

Former Deputy Inspector General of Police Keshav Adhikari noted that the traffic police must act within the bounds of the Traffic Management Act, which does not mandate such voluntary service for traffic rule violators. Although some practical measures might be temporarily adopted, they must eventually align with legal provisions.

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Do you support the Supreme Court’s decision to pause the Home Ministry’s directive?

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