Sher Bahadur Deuba’s government has drawn flak for rampantly distributing a record number of medals to people, mostly to those from the coalition alliance, on the occasion of Constitution Day yesterday.
Though it’s tradition that various people are honored and awarded amnesty on Constitution Day every year, an unusual number of people were given the awards this year. The government presented honorary titles and decorations to a record 931 people this year.
Before this, the number of people receiving honorary titles had not exceeded 600.
Even the award recipients were controversial this year. The government has been criticized for awarding medals to party leaders, activists of favorable parties and the coalition partners as well as their family members.
Former prime minister Jhalanath Khanal was conferred with the ‘Rastra Gaurav’ title; Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JBR was conferred with ‘Maha Ujjwal Rastradeep’ medal and CPN-Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s wife Sita Dahal was conferred with ‘Sruprasidhha Prabal Jana Sewa Shree’.
Similarly, contractor Humnath Koirala — whose company was blacklisted by the Public Procurement Monitoring Office — has been honored with the ‘Prabal Jana Sewa Shree’ award.
A few recipients rejected their medals saying that the government itself didn’t honor the awards and their significance.
Former mayor of Kathmandu PL Singh, who is also a member of the Nepali Congress, is among those rejecting the ‘Sruprasidhha Prabal Jana Sewa Shree’ decoration. Similarly, Dr Ashesh Dhungana, Journalists Hari Bahadur Thapa, Krishnajwala Devkota, Narayan Amrit and cartoonist Rabin Sayami have also announced that they will not accept their awards.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 192 people have refused to accept their awards from 2010 to 2018. The Ministry had decided in 2018 to bring the ‘Bibhushan Recommendation Procedure and Criteria Provision’ which allows canceling the decoration automatically if the recipient does not accept it within a year.