Friday, September 30, 2005

Two Maoist leaders Produced in Appellate Court

Kathmandu, Sept 30 - The government today produced senior Maoist leaders Matrika Yadav and Suresh Ale Magar before the Patan Appellate Court in connection with a murder case against them.
The two are in police custody on charge of murdering the then IGP of the Armed Police Force Krishna Mohan Shrestha in January 26, 2003.

The two Maoist leaders, along with Maoist supreme Prachanda, Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ and Baburam Bhattarai, have been charged with murder by the government for the killing of Shrestha. Shrestha, his wife and a bodyguard were killed in the shootout carried out by suspected Maoists in Lalitpur over two-and-a-half years ago.

The government has demanded maximum punishment for the accused under the clause 3 of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Control Ordinance.The two leaders have also been kept in detention under the same ordinance.

The court has begun recording the statement of the accused Maoist leaders. According to a source, the process of taking the statement of Magar has been completed today. The source said Magar denied his involvement in the killing.

SC Stay Order To Govt in Civil Servants' Case

Kathmandu, Sept 30-The Supreme Court today issued a stay order to the government authorities on a case regarding two-month-old amendment in the Civil Service Act 1992 banning the government employees to form unions.
Following a hearing conducted today, a three-member bench of justices Sharada Prasad Pundit, Hari Jung Sijapati and Top Bahadur Magar today told the government authorities not to confiscate the property of the unions as per the amended act. The court also told the authorities not to make any other interventions in the matters of unions of government employees.
Chairman of the Civil Servants Organization of Nepal Murari Bhattrai said that the order has justified the legality of the union.
ICJ Team Meets CJ, Law Minister

Kathmandu, Sept 30- The delegation of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) this afternoon met with Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Niranjan Kumar Thapa, and raised concern over re-arrests of people even after the release orders of the courts and the independence of the judiciary in Nepal.
During the meeting, the delegation urged the apex court to take strong steps to stop re-arresting of people even after release orders from the apex court through habeas corpus petitions. ICJ general secretary Nicholas Howen and programme officer Susan Appleyard held discussions with the CJ for about half an hour.
“The Chief Justice told the delegation that the apex court would take further steps to maintain the independence of the judiciary,” acting registrar of the apex court Dr Ram Krishna Timalsena said. Dr Timalsena was also present in the meeting. According to him, the ICJ delegates raised concern over re-arrests of people even after release orders from the apex court.
The ICJ team also met with Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Nirajan Kumar Thapa, and raised issues regarding the rule of law and implementation of judiciary’s orders.
A delegation of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) yesterday held discussions with the Attorney General, Pawan Kumar Ojha, and officials of the Nepal Bar Association on the human rights situation in the country. The team seriously raised the issue of persons being re-arrested even after the courts’ release orders.
SC decision on civil servants’ case today

Kathmandu, Sept 30-The Supreme Court today decision on whether or not to issue a stay order on a two-month-old Civil Service Act amendment that banned civil servants from forming unions. During a hearing yesterday by a three-member full bench of Justices Sharada Prasad Pundit, Hari Jung Sijapati and Top Bahadur Magar, lawyers accused the government of promulgating the ‘undemocratic Ordinance’ that contradicted the Constitution. They also accused the government of submitting baseless arguments on the issue and said the it is preparing to provide the right to form unions through an amendment of the Civil Service Regulation, 1993.

“This is fraud and the government is trying to form such an organisation to benefit the near and dear ones of the present autocratic regime,” said advocate Harihar Dahal, pleading before the bench. Submitting a written reply before the apex court, the Acting Chief Secretary, Lokman Singh Karki, yesterday asserted that the government is making plans to give back the government employees the right. “If they don’t get back the right to form unions, the government employees have no other option but to hit the streets,” the lawyers said. However, government attorney Brajesh Pyakurel said the government had amended the 1992 Act to discipline the employees and as such there is no need for the apex court to allow them to form unions.

SC for final hearing on Deuba case

Kathmandu, Sept 30 - The final hearing on a habeas corpus in the Supreme Court (SC) that seeks release of former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and former Minister Prakash Man Singh is slated for Sunday.

The apex court will give its verdict on whether Deuba and Singh will continue to serve the jail terms or not.

The Royal Commission for Corruption Control had indicted both Deuba and Singh of alleged irregularities in the Melanchi Drinking Water Supply Project and slapped the jail terms on them few months back.

CIAA charge-sheets nine ADB officials

Kathmandu, Sep 30: The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) filed two separate corruption cases in the Special Court . a charge-sheet against nine persons including four then officials at the Central Office of the Agricultural Development Bank in connection with alleged irregularities while issuing loans.

The Commission has accused them of indulging in corruption with mal-intention and illegal agreement between bank staffs and vehicle suppliers.

Those charge-sheeted include then acting general manager Jalan Kumar Sharma, deputy manager Ramchandra Maharjan, departmental head Bharat Kumar Pokhrel and section officer Gopal Prasad Ghimire.

Other defenders on the case include vehicle supplier Jagannath Prasad Sonar of Kathmandu Tuk Tuk Pvt Ltd., Saroj Sarraf, Rabindra Kumar Saraf, Anita Saraf and Kosila Sonarin of Anita Electrical and Mechanic Pvt. Ltd.

The Commission has claimed that the transaction of Rs 101.3 million between the suppliers and the bank officials had caused a loss of Rs. 118.5 million to the bank.

The commission said that the officials had made arrangement to supply the vehicles from different unauthorized companies owned by members of the same family. The officials had also violated the provisions related to hire-purchase loan procedure while issuing the loan.

The commission has also claimed to recoup the loss amount from the bank officials and the suppliers.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

ICJ Team Talks With AG, NBA

Kathmandu, Sept 29-The delegation of the International Commission of Jurists today held discussions with the Attorney General Pawan Kumar Ojha and the officials of the Nepal Bar Association about the human rights situation in the country.

The ICJ delegates raised the issue of re-arrests even after the release orders of the courts and disobeying the apex court orders and overall human rights situation in the country.

According to an official at the Office of the Attorney General, Ojha has assured the ICJ team of taking measures to control re-arrests. ICJ’s general secretary Nicholas Howen and programme officer Susan Appleyard have arrived in Kathmandu today for a four-day mission to assess the human rights situation in the country.

During the meeting with the officials of the Nepal Bar Association, the ICJ team urged the bar body to strongly oppose the violation of human rights and take strong moves to maintain the rule of law in the country. The NBA president Shambhu Thapa, general secretary Madhav Banskota and treasurer Bijaya Kanta Mainali participated in the meeting.

According to acting registrar at SC, Dr Ram Krishna Timalsena, the ICJ team is scheduled to meet the Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel tomorrow.

News in Brief

On Sept 29

Activists sentenced to 3 months in jail

Rajbiraj, - Authorities have sentenced three political activists including two student leaders to three months in jail under the Public Offence Act.

Soon after the sentence, the police Thursday arrested at least 12 others who were protesting the government arrest of the activists.

Police had taken in the activists during a demonstration staged by the agitating seven-party alliance in Rajbiraj on Tuesday.

Those handed a three-month arrest warrant are Mohmmad Usaman Miya, a Nepali Congress member of Saptari, Nepal Students' Union leaders Arjun Prasad Sah and Ram Chandra Yadav.

Thai nabbed with 1 kg white heroin

Kathmandu - Police early Thursday morning apprehended a Thai national in possession of one kilogram of white heroin at Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu.

The Narcotics and Drugs Control Unit (NDCU) and TIA security teams rounded up the Thai girl, 35, Parita Ratanam in possession of the contraband, while screening the luggage of passengers at the airport, reported Jitendra Shah.

This is the biggest quantity of white heroin seized this year, according to police.

The NDCU Chief Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Divas Udas says the Thai girl was scheduled to fly to Doha from Kathmandu by Qatar Airlines this morning.

She was carrying the white heroin inside two packets of biscuits.

SC told to quash pleas to free Deuba,

SinghKathmandu, September 29-Responding to a Supreme Court show cause notice regarding the jail terms slapped by the Royal Commission for Corruption Control on former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and former Minister Prakash Man Singh, the Cabinet Secretariat today urged the apex court to quash the habeas corpus petitions filed in the court seeking the release of the two leaders.

The government’s secretary, Diwakar Pant, today submitted a written reply to the court and claimed that there was no need for the Supreme Court to entertain the habeas corpus petitions as the RCCC has been working as per the existing laws.

“The writ petitions have made the Cabinet Secretariat as a defendant without any reason and thus there is no need to pass any order to it by the apex court,” the secretary added. Responding to two separate petitions seeking Deuba and Singh’s release, the apex court had issued show cause notices to the Cabinet Secretariat, along with other authorities, demanding reasons on why the two leaders were jailed.

Not to introduce new constitution

Kathmandu, September 29-A member of the 1990 Constitution draft committee and former Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR) warned that the King will herald his own end if he introduces a new constitution.

Amidst speculations that a new constitution is in the offing, Daman Nath Dhungana said that the King has “no right to throw” the 1990 constitution. “The King’s days will be numbered if he throws the constitution,” he said at a programme held by National Human Rights Foundation today. Reiterating his stance that mediation of the UN should be sought to resolve the Maoist insurgency, Dhungana said: “India can also play a vital role in resolving the crisis.” He also criticised the seven-party alliance for not consistently demanding the formation of a constituent assembly.

The president of the Nepal Bar Association, Sambhu Thapa, warned of a “civil war” if the King introduced a new constitution.

Hearing on RCCC legality continues

Kathmandu, Sept 29- Hearing on the case related to legality of the Royal Commission for Control of Corruption (RCCC) continued at the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday.

Advocates Madhav Basnet and Badri Bahadur Karki pleaded on behalf of the writ petitioners before the special bench today and the court has fixed October 27 as the date for the next hearing.

Legal experts have argued that the controversial Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) is a kind of a fake court and it cannot exist as a court of law under the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 1990. “Hanging a signboard is not sufficient ground to be a court of law,” said a former attorney general Badri Bahadur Karki while pleading before the special bench formed to test the constitutionality of the royal commission.
“Since the RCCC enjoys no judicial capacity, it cannot be called a court of law,” he added. Terming the RCCC a kind of a fake court, he said it cannot exist under the existing Constitution. “No institution except the three tires of court the Supreme Court, the Appellate Court, the District Court — and the special tribunals formed under Article 84 and 85 of the Constitution can work as a court of law,” he added. The five-member special bench comprising justices Kedar Prasad Giri, Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Ram Nagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma and Ram Prasad Shrestha is examining the constitutionality of the RCCC.
The royal commission, submitting a written reply before the apex court, said since the King had formed the RCCC exercising his authority, testing its constitutionality was beyond the apex court jurisdiction.
“The RCCC was formed like a court martial after the declaration of the state of emergency,” Karki said, adding: “Its term was unconstitutionally extended later citing Article 127 of the Constitution.” Karki argued that the Constitution does not allow the King to act beyond the constitution.

Advocates Binod Karki and Sarbagya Raj Naya had filed separate writ petitions at the SC seeking its order to release Deuba and Singh claiming that they had been put behind bars illegally.

One More Contempt case Against Giri, Bista

Kathmandu, Sept 29-A contempt of court case was filed on Wednesday in the Supreme Court against the vice-chairmen of the Council of Ministers Dr Tulsi Giri and Kirtinidhi Bista accusing them of disobeying the SC’s order to the government to promulgate necessary laws to provide facilities to disabled and people from backward communities. Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Niranjan Kumar Thapa and Minister for Education and Sports Radha Krishna Mainali have also been made defendants in the case.
This is the third contempt of court case filed against Dr Giri and second against Bista and the other two ministers. Chairman of the Indigenous Human Rights Concern Centre, Deepak Kumar Rai, and its general secretary, Shree Prasad Budathoki, jointly filed the petition.

The petitioners claimed government did not pay sufficient attention to implement the SC directive. The SC 11-month ago had directed the government to promulgate necessary laws to provide facilities to the disabled from the current fiscal year. “The government neither promulgated the laws nor provided any facility to the people concerned in the case,” the petitioners added.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Jail term in Sunuwar death case

Kathmandu sept 28-At a time when the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) is facing criticism from rights activists for the violation of Human Rights, RNA has sentenced a colonel and two other junior army officers to six months of imprisonment for not following the 'right procedure' while handling the case of Maina Sunuwar, a Maoist girl who died in army custody in Panchkhal.
"The military court has recently issued the verdict sentencing the officers involved in the case," reports quoted a senior army officer at the RNA's Legal Department as saying.
Colonel Babi Khatri is the top army officer to receive such a penalty. Promotion of the colonel has been stopped for two years, and one year for the junior officers. The court also ordered the colonel and junior officers to pay compensation.
This is the first ever case in which the army court has asked the army officials to pay compensation to the victim. Colonel Khatri will have to pay Rs.50,000 in compensation to the victim's family, while two junior officers will have to pay Rs.25,000 each.
The court has slapped the punishment on the basis of a 'tendency shown' by the officers while interrogating the Maoist girl and handling the case after her death. The court found that the officers did not inform Sunuwar's family and her body was not sent for post mortem.

Alleged drug traffickers arrested

Kathmandu sept 28-Police have arrested an alleged drug trafficker from Baba Petrol Pump in Kalanki, Kathmandu, with 205-gram brown sugar, according to the Narcotic Drug Control and Law Enforcement Unit (NDCLEU), Baneshwor.
A team of the NDCLEU arrested Bikram Baitha, 20, who hails from Nagawa area of Birganj Sub-metropolitan City, on Sunday.
During the course of investigation following Bikram’s arrest, a police team sent from District Police Office of Parsa arrested two other alleged drug peddlers – Noor Alam Miyan alias Alam, 30, of Nagawa in Birganj Sub-metropolis and Sona Lal Pandit, 23 – from Birganj, a press statement issued by the Unit said today.
The duo was in possession of brown sugar samples while being arrested. They have been brought to Kathmandu by air for investigation.
The drug peddlers were presented at the Kathmandu District Court today and further investigation on the case has been initiated.
Legal provisions allow authorities to detain those convicted of carrying more than 100-gram brown sugar to a minimum of 15 years along with Rs.0.5 million fine. Maximum sentence for such offences is 15 years of jail and Rs.2.5 million fine.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

RCCC tells SC: It’s political

Kathmandu Sept 27-The Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) has advised the Supreme Court not to intervene in any question regarding its formation or its decision to jail former premier Sher Bahadur Deuba and former minister Prakash Man Singh, among others.

In response to a show cause notice issued by the apex court, the Commission said, “All the works executed by the king are purely political ones and such works related to state authority and exercise of sovereignty cannot be question in the court as per Article 31 of the Constitution,” RCCC Secretary Shambhu Bahadur Khadka said in his written replies submitted to the apex court on Monday.

A district court judge, Khadka was appointed Secretary to the RCCC after it was constituted early this year after the royal takeover.

The RCCC also claimed that the King had taken over power on February 1 due to several reasons and when the monarch decided to form the RCCC with a view to fight corruption, it was not a judicial matter to be taken up by the apex court, the RCCC said.

“The RCCC has been working as per the wish of the King to combat corruption and this is not a matter to be examined by the apex court,” the RCCC further added. The RCCC also claimed that it was formed with royal prerogative and as per the tradition to use the power of the state by the King to govern the country and the apex court cannot examine such a matter.

“The King has formed the RCCC as per Article 115(7) of the constitution and continued as per Article 127,” the royal commission’s reply read.

The RCCC further said that there was no need for intervention by the apex court for the release of Deuba and Singh through habeas corpus petitions. Advocates Binod Karki and Sarvagya Naya had filed separate petitions at the apex court questioning the constitutionality of the RCCC and legality of its decision to jail the Nepali Congress (Democratic) leaders.

Monday, September 26, 2005

SC Gives Clean Chit to CIAA Chief

Kathmandu Sept 26-The Supreme Court on Monday has dismissed a writ petition filed against chief of the top anti-corruption body in the country.

A division bench comprising Justices Kedar Prasad Giri and Sharada Prasad Pandit dismissed a writ petition filed by lawyers Saroj Kumar Sharma and Lila Raj Koirala claiming that chief of the Commission for Investigation of the Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Surya Nath Upadhyay, was involved in irregularities in the Bagmati and Mahakali irrigation projects while he served as Secretary at the Ministry of Water Resources.

CIAA is a constitutional body that is authorized to investigate and file cases into cases of corruption from Prime Minister to a low level government employee.

Unlike the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC), the CIAA has to file cases at the courts and await court verdict.

The RCCC, constituted after the royal takeover this year, however, has been empowered to investigate, charge sheet and hear case at its own ‘ijlas’ on corruption cases.

Critics say the power entrusted to the RCCC is simply against the principle of natural justice.

Petitions challenging the constitutionality of the RCCC are being heard by the country’s apex court.

Contempt of court case filed against govt over KC’s re-arrest

Kathmandu Sept 26-A contempt of court case was filed against the government on Monday over the arrest of Krishna KC, former vice-chairman of the Maoist-affiliated All Nepal National Students Union (ANNISU-R), from the Supreme Court premises even as the court ordered his release last week.

Advocate Nandu Acharya filed the contempt of court arguing that there were no sufficient grounds for detaining KC. The former ANNISU-R leader who had been detained incommunicado in an army barrack in Kathmandu got a release order from the apex court on Thursday but was immediately arrested by the police.

Home Minister Dan Bahadur Shahi, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Shyam Bhakta Thapa and some other officials have been made defendants in the contempt of court case.

Court verdicts not implemented

Hetuda, Sept 26 - The ongoing conflict and the prevailing insecurity has led to non-implementation of court verdicts in Makwanpur district. According to Makwanpur District Court, most of the verdicts in the district have remained unimplemented.

The court, which is responsible for acting upon verdicts passed by the Appellate Courts and the Supreme Court, said it is yet to collect over Rs 11.7 million in fines.

According to an official, the court has not been able to send its staff to the field to implement court verdicts due to security reasons.

As victims are deprived of justice even though courts have handed down verdicts, the situation has led many to question the effectiveness of courts of law.

"The non-implementation of verdicts has affected people's faith in the judiciary," said Dhruba Chaulagain, president of Nepal Bar Association, Hetauda Branch.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

SC Refuses to Register Case Against Feb 1 Move

Kathmandu, Sept 25-The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a writ petition placed by an advocate challenging the February 1 royal takeover and King's declaration of holding the post of the chairman of the council of ministers by himself and appointing two vice-chairmen, Dr Tulsi Giri and Kirtinidhi Bista.
The Supreme Court registrar Dr Ram Krishna Timalsena today refused to entertain the writ petition and said that the apex court cannot entertain any case against the King as it was against the privileges given to the King by the Article 31 of the Constitution. “We cannot entertain any case against the King,” Dr Timalsena told The Himalayan Times reports.

The Article reads: No question shall be raised in any court about any act performed by His Majesty. The Article further adds, “Provided that nothing in this Article shall be deemed to restrict any right under the law to initiate proceedings against His Majesty and the employee of His Majesty.”

Advocate Kishor Kumar Mahato had placed a writ petition against the chairman and the vice-chairmen of the council of ministers seeking the apex court order to scrap the royal takeover. The advocate had claimed that the King had no authority to act unconstitutionally.

The advocate had also claimed that the Constitution has not given any kind of privilege to the King to act in such a manner to hold the post of the chairman of the Council of Ministers by himself and to appoint any one on any post beyond the Constitution.

The petition had the chairman (the King) of the Council of Ministers and both the vice-chairmen as the defendants. Such case was placed before the apex court for the first time but was refused to be registered for necessary proceedings.

The petitioner had sought the apex court order to scrap the posts of the chairman and the vice-chairmen of the council of ministers immediately and allow the political parties to form a government.

Main while,The Supreme Court today adjourned hearing on a contempt of court case filed against the vice-chairman of the Council of Ministers Dr Tulsi Giri.

This is the third time that the apex court has adjourned the hearing even after the case was scheduled for hearing on the bench. Justice Hari Jung Sijapati today adjourned the hearing citing lack of time for the hearing on the case.

Previously, Justices Top Bahadur Magar and Khil Raj Regmi had adjourned the case citing same reasons.
General Secretary of the Nepal Bar Association Madhav Banskota had filed the contempt of court case against Dr Giri accusing him of delivering contemptuous remarks against the court and the constitution in Biratnagar on September 19.

CIAA begins probe against Keshab Sthapit

Kathmandu, Sept 25 -The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has started investigation into the alleged involvement of former mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), Keshab Sthapit, in irregularities worth over Rs.30 million during his tenure.

Reports quoting a CIAA press statement today said that action to recover the misappropriated amount has started.

The former mayor, according to the CIAA, misappropriated Rs.30 million by illegally employing one Sagar Prasad Wagle to collect revenues at the Balambu depot The CIAA said Thapaliya helped Sthapit in the fraud.

Sthapit who was appointed as KMC mayor last year had resigned from the post after few months owing to life threats by the Maoists.

Govt forms probe committee on Krishna KC’s re-arrest

Kathmandu Sept 24-The government today formed a committee to investigate into the re-arrest of Krishna KC, former vice-chairman of the Maoist-aligned All Nepal National Independent Students Union (ANNISU-R), even after a release order by the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday.
The one-member panel under former secretary Narendra Kumar Shrestha has been give a seven days timeframe to present a report on the incident.
After hours of high drama at the court premises, security men had rearrested KC, apparently ignoring the release order issued by a two-member SC bench.
A day after he was arrested from the Supreme Court premises, police produced Krishna KC, before Patan Appellate Court and sought 20 days’ detention for him in a murder case. The Kathmandu District Police Office, Hanumandhoka served a 20-day detention notice on KC in order to investigate a murder case against him. KC’s wife Durga told The Himalayan Times that the Kathmandu District Police Office, Hanumandhoka, was trying to book him for a crime he had not committed.
KC’s wife Laxmi had filed a habeas corpus writ petition after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in a report revealed that KC, whose whereabouts remained unknown since his arrest two years ago from Kathmandu, had been detained at the Bhairabnath Battalion of the army located at Maharajganj, Kathmandu.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Police trying to book KC for murder

Kathmandu, Sept 24-A day after he was arrested from the Supreme Court premises, police today produced Maoist-affiliated former vice-president of the ANNISU (Revolutionary), Krishna KC, before Patan Appellate Court and sought 20 days’ detention for him in a murder case. The Kathmandu District Police Office, Hanumandhoka served a 20-day detention notice on KC in order to investigate a murder case against him. KC’s wife Durga told The Himalayan Times that the Kathmandu District Police Office, Hanumandhoka, was trying to book him for a crime he had not committed.
The Supreme Court Bar Association said that the government had encroached on the independence of the apex court by arresting KC from the court premises and had thus challenged the apex court’s order to release KC. “The incident of KC’s arrest from the court premises clearly shows that the government is blatantly intervening in the rule of law and also disregarding court orders,” said bar president Dhruba Nath Pant.
Main while, Based on news reports of 13 Nepalis left stranded in Madagascar, a court there has ordered authorities to keep two brokers in custody until Sept 28
According to Siddi Bahadur Katuwal, who has been looking after the victims, police are holding brokers Shivaraj Kadel and Gopal Chandra Shrestha.
Kadel and Shrestha along with two others have been operating their illegal manpower recruitment business from Mumbai, India.
SC raps govt for hike in petro products’ price

Kathmandu, Sept 24-The Supreme Court on friday ordered the government to produce before the apex court its grounds for hiking the prices of petroleum products. A division bench of Justices Bal Ram KC and Paramananda Jha issued the order following today’s hearing. The bench also ordered the authorities the Cabinet Secretariat, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply and the Nepal Oil Corporation to produce the techniques and formulas adopted while hiking the prices of petroleum products. The bench observed that it was the people’s right to know the grounds on which the government fixes prices of petroleum products. The bench, however, said there was no need to issue a stay order to the government for not implementing the decision regarding the recent price hike. The bench order came in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) writ filed by advocate Chandra Kanta Gyawali, who had challenged the government’s decision on August 22 to hike prices of major petroleum products by Rs 5 per litre.

CJ for judicial awareness

Kathmandu, Sept. 24: Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel said on Friday that the nation needed to improve the traditional legal regime to ensure justice to the society, to protect the rights of the victims and to punish the wrongdoers.However, only the enactment of laws was not the ultimate solution to combat problems that include criminal activities such as trafficking of women and children. Fighting these problems need the generation of strong judicial awareness amongst people, Paudel added.Speaking at the inaugural session of three-day long workshop of South Asian Judges on ‘Combating Trafficking on Women and Children’ organised by National Judicial Academy (NJA), Paudel said that due to economic disparity, illiteracy, and unemployment, children and women were being trafficked day by day.It was time for making multilateral efforts to combat trafficking of women and children by formulating legal provisions and strengthening regional action plans, he said. “Being an organised crime, human trafficking has transnational impact and it affects the whole global governance system”.“Judges of the 21st century have to be more serious in deciding cases concerning human trafficking and particularly women and children,” Paudel said.The world and regional community should join hands for developing tools to combat such heinous crime. “It is necessary for the SAARC countries to amend national laws in line with the international human rights instruments.”Adoption of the SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking of Women for Prostitution at the SAARC Kathmandu Summit was a timely initiative in combating and preventing trafficking of human beings, he said.But, Nepal is yet to ratify the agenda of women of the eleventh SAARC convention held in Kathmandu.Justice Kalyan Shrestha said ‘our sensitivity is not matching the reintegrating, rescuing, and rehabilitation of the victims’. The Supreme Court has directed the government to enact proper laws on gender equality and to address the issues of women and children, he added.Chandani Joshi, regional programme director of United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), said that the highest level of judiciary and those involved in women’s movement had to come together to understand the women’s human rights and to explore avenues by which the system can respond the pandemic violence against women.Senior justices of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal participated in the workshop.Senior most justice of the Supreme Court Kedar Prasad Giri presided over the programme, which was supported by UNIFEM.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Unique Combination of the bench

Kathmandu, September 23-The Chief Justice yesterday put Supreme Court justices Paramananda Jha and Anup Raj Sharma, who is investigating a corruption case against justice Jha, together in a bench to hear over a dozen of cases. Sharma is heading an investigation committee, which is probing corruption case against Jha who is accused of taking bribe to release a drug peddler on bail.
The Judicial Council, which is headed by the Chief Justice, had formed the committee to ascertain Jha’s involvement in the alleged bribetaking. Justices Khil Raj Regmi and Ram Prasad Shrestha are other members of the probe committee.
It is reported all the members of the probe panel and other justices had requested Chief Justice Paudel not to assign them any case in a bench along with justice Jha. “Despite several requests from the justices, Paudel today formed the division bench of justices Sharma and Jha,” a judge of the apex court said yesterday. The bench is to hear over 15 cases including Narayan Prasad Jaisi versus the District Police Office and Shobha Dhakal versus the Police Headquarters. Justice Jha is accused of taking bribe and releasing Dil Bahadur Gurung, a drug peddler, who was arrested two years ago while trying to smuggle out 779 kg of marijuana. It is said that the Sharma-led committee has reached the final stage of investigation. The panel had yesterday sought suggestions from the president of Nepal Bar Association Shambhu Thapa and the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Dhruba Nath Pant. According to a source, Thapa and Panta suggested the committee to take strong action against justice Jha.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Krishna kc re arrested

Kathmadu, Sept 22 - Plainclothes security personnel have arrested pro-Maoist student leader, Krishna KC, from the premises of Supreme Court Thursday evening, hours after the apex court ordered his release.
The security personnel, headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police from the Police Headquarters, Balaram Sharma were waiting outside the SC premises and arrested KC at about 8:30 p.m today inside the court grounds, despite the presence of several human rights activists.
Police vans were parked just outside the apex court premises throughout this afternoon. Sources said Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel called vice chairman Dr Tulsi Giri about police deployment. Dr Giri’s response could not be known.
Earlier today, the apex court had ordered the government to immediately release KC, who was in army custody for the last two years.
A joint bench of SC justices Sharada Shrestha and Damodar Sharma had given the order to release KC in the presence of the court’s registrar saying there were no clear grounds to continue to keep KC in custody.
DSP Sharma took KC in saying that the authorities needed to carry out further investigations on KC.
KC had reportedly earlier, despite the court order for his release, refused to leave the court premises fearing re-arrest by the security forces present outside the court.
Plainclothes police personnel then showed the arrest warrant against KC to lawyers, human rights activists and journalists accompanying KC. KC was taken to the Registrar’s office after the court verdict fearing his re-arrest.
Members of National Human Rights Commission, Sudip Pathak, and Sushila Singh ‘Shilu’—a former Justice at the apex court—also visited the apex court this evening upon hearing about the re-arrest bid of KC.
In response to a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of KC, the apex court held that there was no objective ground to detain KC and ordered his immediate release.
The court’s decision followed a recent habeas corpus writ filed by KC’s wife Laxmi at the SC.
Nearly one and a half years back, the court had dismissed an earlier habeas corpus writ seeking KC’s release after the government denied arresting him.
However, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) later reported that KC was under security detention.
Talking to reporters after the court verdict, KC said his release was the victory of all. He thanked rights activists, lawyers and members of media for their cooperation in highlighting his case. He said he was tortured badly while in detention and that he wanted to visit a hospital even facing the prospect of re-arrest.

SC orders release of Maoist student leader

Kathmandu Sept 22-The Supreme Court (SC) today ordered the government to release Krishna KC, former vice-chairman of the Maoist-affiliated All Nepal National Independent Students Union (ANNISU-R), who is in army custody since last two years.
Deciding on a habeas corpus writ petition filed by KC’s wife Laxmi, a bench of SC Justices Sharada Shrestha and Damodar Sharma issued the order. Stating that there were no clear grounds to detain KC, the court asked the government authorities to immediately set him free.Officials presented KC before a joint bench of SC Justices Sharada Shrestha and Damodar Sharma. KC, whose whereabouts remained unknown since his arrest two years ago from Kathmandu, was taken to the court from the Maharajganj-based Bhairab Nath Battalion of the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA).
He was blindfolded while being brought to court premises.Authorities presented him to the SC bench after a court order few days earlier.
Earlier, the government had told the court that security agencies didn’t arrest KC.
The bench ordered to release KC at the presence of the registrar of the Supreme Court.
KC was arrested from Koteshwor, Kathmandu, by plainclothes security men two years ago and had been detained at Bhairabnath Battailion of the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) in Maharajganj.
Meanwhile, our correspondent on site says there is a high drama going on at the court premises at the moment. KC has himself stuck inside the court building fearing re-arrest while policemen are waiting outside to arrest him.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) members Sushila Singh Silu and Sudeep Pathak and several other rights activities and journalists are present at the court premises to ensure safe release of the student leader

Dr Giri spoke the King’s mind- Legal experts

Kathmandu, September 22: Legal experts said today that vice-chairman of the council of ministers Dr Tulsi Giri spoke the King’s mind while addressing a gathering of nominated chairmen and vice-chairmen of district development committees in Biratnagar on Monday. “Giri has spoken the mind of the King, who does not believe in democracy,” former Justice of the Supreme Court and one the drafters of the 1990 constitution Laxman Prasad Aryal said at the Reporters Club. President of the Nepal Bar Association Shambhu Thapa challenged the vice chairman to open a “rebellious” party if he did not abide by the constitution. A person who holds a post not recognised by the constitution and receives taxpayers’ money has no right to make such comment on the constitution, he said.

Advocate Subhash Chandra Nembang said, “The way Giri is spiting venom against the constitution it is an expression of defeated mentality of the council of ministers, which has been totally isolated from the world.” Director of Informal Sector Service Centre Subodh Pyakurel said the King should take moral responsibility for the statement made by his appointee. However, senior advocate Kunja Bihari Prasad Singh said Giri’s statement did not reflect the institutional views of the government and that he was misinterpreted by the media.

Help develop independent judiciary-CJ

Kathmandu, Sept 22: Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel said on Wednesday that justices should work for the development of independent and competent judiciary as per the norms and values of the Constitution.

The Nepalese judicial system could not be separated from the new and innovative thoughts and concepts that have emerged in the 21st century, he said at an interaction programme on ‘Judicial Review: Provisions and Challenges’ organised by the Judicial Council today.

The acts and behaviour of the judiciary generate the confidence and faith of the people on the judiciary, he said. Paudel also said that the Court, on one hand, had the responsibility of deciding on constitutional issues and on the other, it had the challenges of developing infrastructure, human resources and settle the overwhelming number of cases in the courts.

The Supreme Court has been playing the important role of maintaining the supremacy of the Constitution and guaranteeing the fundamental rights of the citizens, he said.

Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi said that human rights, rule of law and democracy were the way of life in the 21st century and nation could not get progress by ignoring these fundamental values.

“We should observe the fact whether the petitioners are subjected to unrecoverable losses while issuing interim orders, ” he said. Secretary at the Judicial Council Kashi Raj Dahal said that the judiciary should remain vigilant in protecting human rights and maintaining rule of law.

Other participants at the programme included justices Kedar Prasad Giri, Ramnagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma, Khil Raj Regmi and member of the Council Bhairab Prasad Lamsal.
Charge-sheeted for Joint secy Singh

Kathmandu, Sept 22: The Commission for Investigation of the Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on Wednesday charge-sheeted joint secretary at the Ministry of Education and Sports and former Controller at Office of Controller of Examination, Sanothimi Bhaktapur, Birendra Kumar Singh at the Special Court.

The Commission said it had initiated investigation against Singh in connection to the alleged financial irregularities as per the property assessment report of the high-level judicial committee for property evaluation 2058 and different complaints filed at the Commission against Singh.

As per the Corruption Control Act 2059, the Commission has filed the corruption case against Singh on charges of amassing property through illegal means while he was in the public posts. The Commission has demanded seizure of the property worth Rs 13.61 million kept in his and his family’s names and to forfeit equal amount.

The Commission found that he had purchased more than 9.8 of bigahas of land in Mahottari and Dhunasha districts and more than 1.3 ropanis land in Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts. The investigation also found that he had bought three houses worth Rs 8.6 million in the Kathmandu Valley.

He has also bank balances worth Rs. 1.2 million in his and his family members’ names in the different banks He was also found to have borne the cost of medical education of son Prabin Singh and daughter Sweta Singh in Bangladesh and Nepal Medical College, Jorpati, respectively The Commission also cautioned Section Officer at the Ministry Guru Prasad Mainali and technical assistant of mid-western regional education directorate Nirmala Niraula as they failed to maintain the honesty as public servants while tallying the marks of SLC examinations.

Similarly, the CIAA has instructed the Ministry of not to give the responsibility of checking the answer sheets of SLC to Krishna Prasad Baral, a teacher at the Nava Prabhat Secondary School in Pokhara. He was found of wrongly calculating the marks obtained in the SLC examinations of 2061 BS.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

NBA files contempt of court case against Dr Giri

Kathmandu,sept 21-The Nepal Bar Association has filed a contempt of court case at the Supreme Court against Cabinet Vice-Chairman Dr Tulsi Giri Today.

The NBA has accused Dr Giri of speaking against the apex court and its justices at a programme in Biratnagar on Monday.

In the petition, NBA has sought maximum punishment for Giri as per Clause 7 (1) of the Supreme Court Act, 1991. The provision has stipulated a jail sentence of up to one year or fine of Rs 10,000 or both if the accused is proved guilty.

On Monday, Dr Giri had accused the justices of being influenced by the political parties. While addressing a conference of DDC chairmen and vice-chairmen of the Eastern Development Region, Giri had further accused the parties and the Press of being involved in unconstitutional activities.

Govt. attorney pleads against incumbent ministers

Kathmandu Sept 21-Government attorneys have demanded that the Supreme Court (SC) name two ministers in the cabinet, Home Minister Dan Bahadur Shahi and Assistant Minister for Education and Sports Senate Shrestha, as convicts on charges of corruption.

Presenting his arguments on behalf of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on Monday, attorney, Brajesh Pyakurel, pleaded that the ministers duo be declared as defaulters.

A three-member bench of justices Kedar Prasad Giri and Arjun Prasad Singh is hearing the case.

The CIAA filed cases against Shahi and Shrestha accusing them of being involved in corruption.The CIAA had lodged the case against Shahi- the then Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture—during the last days of the Panchayat system. The anti-graft constitutional body claimed that Shahi, along with the then minister for agriculture Padma Sundar Lawati, had direct involvement in the smuggling of chemical fertiliser from India, causing revenue losses worth billions of rupees.

Assistant Minister Shrestha was the local agent of the foreign fertilizer company.

The Patan Appellate Court had, however, provided them clean chit to the accused in the case.

The CIAA had taken the case before the SC challenging the Appellate Court’s decision. Following the preliminary hearing on the case, the apex court went through the evidences related to it and has already ordered Shahi and Shrestha to appear before the court. The final hearings on the case will begin next week.

The government attorney pleaded the bench that the decision of the appellate court to issue verdict in favour of the accused on grounds that they refused the charges was inappropriate.

“The accused, in their statements in connection with this case, have opposed the charges against them. If we go on giving clean chit to the defaulters on the ground that they refused to admit charges, the volume of corruption and number of corrupt persons will keep on increasing,” Pyakurel argued.

The CIAA has claimed that the accused were involved in an embezzlement worth more than Rs. 40 billion.

Pyakurel demanded the apex to examine all the evidences before reaching a decision on the case. The documents related to the fertiliser purchase scam do carry ample proofs to prove that that there were irregularities and the accused had been involved in it, he said.

NBA to file contempt of court case against Giri

Kathmandu, Sept 20-The Nepal Bar Association today decided to move the Supreme Court seeking a contempt of court action against the Vice Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Dr Tulsi Giri. The NBA has accused Giri of speaking against the apex court and its Justices. According to the NBA, Dr Giri’s speech at a conference yesterday in Biratnagar was contemptuous as he accused the honourable Justices of being influenced by the political parties. “We have decided to move the Supreme Court to protect the dignity of the judiciary because the NBA is always ready to face any challenge when it comes to upholding the integrity and dignity of the courts and the judges,” the NBA General Secretary, Madhav Banskota, said in a press statement. “We will file a case in the Supreme Court tomorrow,” he added.
Addressing the conference of presidents and vice-presidents of the district development committees of the eastern region, Dr Giri had further accused the political parties and the press of being involved in unconstitutional activities. Dr Giri had also said the Constitution was a major obstacle in the King’s mission and added that it has given unnecessary powers to the press. “We cannot take any action against the press for publishing anything against the state,” he said. “Even if we want to detain a journalist for some years, they would be out on bail the very next day they are arrested and they start writing anything again,” he said.Dr Giri had further said that the Nepali press was enjoying more freedom than the press in the United States. “An official who himself was appointed under the Constitution has no authority to speak in such a manner,” the NBA said. “We strongly believe that such an official has no right to remain in office,” it further said.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

SC Hears Shahi Graft Case

Kathmandu, September 20-The Supreme Court on Monday conducted a hearing in the corruption case filed by the CIAA against incumbent Home Minister Dan Bahdur Shahi and a former Minister for Agriculture and Co-operatives, Padma Sundar Lawati. A division bench of Justices Kedar Prasad Giri and Arjun Prasad Singh today heard the case. During the hearing, government attorney Brajesh Pyakurel and CIAA’s advocate Nanda Bahadur Subedi sought the court order to slap the maximum sentence on the accused.
The CIAA had, seven years ago, moved the apex court challenging the Patan Appellate Court verdict that had given them clean chits. The CIAA had accused them of illegally amassing Rs 700 million in course of importing fertiliser when Shahi was Agriculture secretary and Lawati a minister. Government attorney Pyakurel argued, “The clean chits given by the court was meaningless. As it was a result of insufficient examination of proof, the SC should check the proof thoroughly.”
SC directs Home Ministry

Kathmandu, Sept20-The Supreme Court has ordered the Home Ministry to produce its order, following which the district security committee, Gorkha, had taken Krishna KC, a former vice-president of the Maoist-affiliated ANNISU-R, into preventive detention. Following a hearing today, a division bench of justices Ram Nagina Singh and Paramananda Jha also ordered the authorities to produce KC before the bench on Thursday to examine the legality of the decision. The directive came after the Chief District Officer (CDO) of Gorkha, Taranath Gautam, told the apex court that KC was taken into custody as per the order of the Home Ministry.
KC’s wife, Durga, had filed a habeas corpus petition seeking the release of her husband. The government had taken KC into preventive detention under the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities Control and Punishment Ordinance 2002. Saying that KC was a threat to peace and security of the country, the district security committee headed by Chief District Officer Gautam had taken the former into detention three years ago, a written reply furnished to the apex court said.
Right to parental property

Lalitpur, Sept 20-Women activists have said that empowerment of women will be impossible unless they are equally entitled to own parental property, including land. The activists were speaking at the inaugural function of a two-day first national conference on Women’s Rights on Land, which kicked off in the capital today. The activists also urged women to opt for a revolt to assert their right to parental land. Women activists from 37 districts of Nepal are taking part in the conference. The National Land Rights Concern Group (LRCG) Nepal is organising the conference. Stating that males were in possession of 90 per cent of land ownership certificates, the LRCG president, Saresh Nepal, said that women’s empowerment will be impossible unless they are given the right to own land.
Stating that Dalits, indigenous nationalities, and women were launching movements for the sake of right to own land, Nepal further said millions of Nepalis are earning their livelihood by ploughing others’ land as they are landless. Women are facing several problems, including malnutrition and trafficking, because they don’t have land ownership certificates. “For the first time a national-level discussion has begun for the land right. It should be given continuity,” Nepal said, adding: “The parties should make their stance on the issue clear.” “The freed bonded labourers have already launched the movement by capturing land,” Nepal said. Presenting the Indian experience, Puspa Singh, the secretary of the Ekta Mahila Manch, said women are held accountable for most of the works but the rights are given to their men.
“Landless women are subjected to various forms of suppressions, including rape,” she said. Sahana Pradhan, a leader of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, said time has come for all the parties to write Nepali history with a new perspective. “Some people have even registered land in the name of dogs but not women,” she said. Besides demanding the right over parental land, the activists also demanded the formation of a constituent assembly.
Crime news

Three persons nabbed with drugs worth Rs 3 million

Birjung Sept. 19: A team of Zonal Police Office of Narayani has arrested three persons along with drugs worth about Rs. 30 lakh. Legal action has been already initiated against them.According to the police, a 31-year resident of Birgunj Sub-Metropolitan CityGopal Prasad Kurmi was arrested as he was on his way to Raxual carrying drugs including 2,200 sets of Norfin injection in Addarshnagar.On the basis of explanation of Kurmi, police raided godowns and rented houses of Marodiya where they reportedly found a big haul of drugs, which had remained concealed.30- year-old Marodiya was involving in drug business since the past few years.His accomplice, Krishna Prasad Gupta, a resident, Chhapakaiya has also been arrested.The norfin injection costs Rs. 25/- in Ruxual India, which fetches as high as 300/- per set in the markets in Kathmandu. The government has banned this drug, which are openly sold in the shops in the capital.Similarly, goods worth about lakes of rupees smuggled from India were seized yesterday by the armed police team of the revenue. The goods have been handed over Custom Office.Meanwhile, a team of the Armed Police Force (APF) confiscated electronic goods worth approximately Rs. 547,000 smuggled into the country from India in Parsa District on Saturday.The confiscated goods have been handed over to the Birgunj Customs Office for necessary action.A team deputed from the APF Customs Revenue Patrol, Birgunj seized the goods from Inarwa, Naguwa, Adarshanagar areas in Parsa District.

With lawyers 100 arrested from professionals protest rally

Kathmandu, Sept 19-More than 100 professionals were arrested from a protest rally organised in support of the pro-democracy movement of seven political parties in Kathmandu Monday.
Hundreds of professionals including lawyers and professors carried out a rally from Dilli Bazaar, violating the government’s prohibitory orders. Police intervened into the rally when it arrived at Putali Sadak Chowk, rounding up over 100 protesters.
Members of Nepal University Teachers Association (NUTA), Nepal Bar Association (NBA), Nepal Teachers Union (NTU) and a few other leading professional organizations participated in the program. Leaders of political parties had also joined in the rally.

Unlike in previous days, police today didn’t use teargas shells and water canons to disperse the protesters
Mainwhile A meeting of eminent personalities, rights activists and professionals in Kathmandu on Monday has constituted a 22-member 'Ceasefire Civil Monitoring Committee' under the chairmanship of president of Nepal Bar Association Shambhu Thapa.
Members of the committee include former Justices at the Supreme Court Laxman Aryal and Krishna Jung Rayamajhi, former minister Nilamber Acharya, former Speaker Daman Nath Dhungana, president of Federation of Nepalese Journalist Bishnu Nisthuri, president of Nepal University Teachers Association prof. Bhupati Dhakal 'Kamal,' president of Nepal Medical Association Dr. Sudha Sharma, chairman of INSEC Subodh Pyakurel, president of Human Rights Organisation of Nepal Charan Prasai, prof. Birendra Mishra, Dr. Om Gurung, Sindhu Nath Pyakurel, Padma Lal Biswokarma, Harihar Birahi, Taranath Dahal and Shiva Gaule.
General Secretary of Nepal Bar Association, Madhav Baskota, has been designated member-secretary of the monitoring committee.
Talking to reporters, Baskota said the committee will start its work immediately. He said similar monitoring committees could be constituted at the district level also.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Vehicle looters arrested

Biratnagar, Sept 19 - Police Monday arrested the lead robber involved in looting 21 vehicles at JiriKhimti Jungle along the Mahendra Highway in Morang district a few days ago.
Bhim Magar, 27, of Yuva VDC-3 in Therathum district was apprehended with stolen goods and homemade weapons used during the looting.
Seven other people including six Bhutanese refugees who were also involved in the robbery are still at large, according to the police.
Magar confessed that they overpowered 21 vehicles, including 10 passenger buses, seven micro buses and four Indian trucks and looted property worth four hundred thousand rupees on Friday night.
SC scraps court of contempt case against Kantipur

Kathmandu, Sept 19 - The Supreme Court Sunday scrapped a contempt of court case filed against Kantipur Publications Chairman Hem Raj Gyawali, former editor Yogesh Upadhyay, Speaker Tara Nath Ranabhat and CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal.
Advocate Rabi Raj Bhandari in connection with a discussion in parliament in 2000 had filed the case over the verdict of the Election Special Court.
The court's verdict on the issue of the election of constituency 1 of Nuwakot district was debated in parliament, and some UML members had criticized it. Kantipur daily had given news coverage on the same issue.
Bhandari in his application had argued that the discussion in parliament on the verdict and its publication by Kantipur daily was subject to a contempt of court.
A bench of Justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Arjun Prasad Singh announced the scrapping of the application.
Nepal accedes UN’s Kyoto Protocol

Kathmandu, Sept. 19: Nepal has acceded to the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. A press statement from Nepal’s permanent mission to the UN said that Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ramesh Nath Pandey deposited the instrument of accession at a special function organised during the Treaty Event at the UN Headquarters on September 16. Under Secretary General and Legal Consul of the UN, Michel Nicolas received Pandey on the occasion.Kyoto Protocol is an important international treaty that seeks to strengthen the international response to climate change by arresting and reversing the upward trend in greenhouse gas emissions. With the signing of the treaty, Nepal has agreed to work with the international community to address the common challenge of global climate change and its adverse environmental consequences.The Kyoto Protocol was adopted on December 11, 1997 and was opened from signature from March 16, 1998 to March 15, 1999 at the UN Headquarters.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

SC Show Cause to RCCC in Deuba’s Case

Kathmandu, Sept18, The Supreme Court today issued a show case notice to the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) demanding the commission explain why former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and former minister Prakash Man Singh were kept in custody.
The court issued the notice in response to two separate habeas corpus petitions filed in the court on Friday seeking release of Nepali Congress (Democratic) president Deuba and the party’s CWC member Singh.The court said the two leaders, however, need not to be produced before the court as demanded by the petitioners to produce them before the court within 24 hours.
Deuba and Singh are serving a two-year jail term slapped by the commission for their alleged involvement in corruption in Melamchi Drinking Water Project.
Advocates Binod Karki and Sarvagya Naya have jointly challenged the sentence slapped by the Commission on Deuba and Singh.The petitioners had appealed to the apex court to issue order to the Cabinet Secretariat and the RCCC to produce the two leaders before the apex court within 24 hours and release them.
The petitioners have claimed that leaders should not be kept in jail based on a verdict given by an illegal commission, as the formation of the RCCC itself was illegal.

Corruption case against Pyuthan judge

Kathmandu, Sept 18 - In the first-ever case against a sitting judge, the Judicial Council (JC) has decided to file corruption charges against Pyuthan District Court Judge Birendra Kumar Karna, newspaper reports said Sunday.

" King Gyanendra has already accepted the JC decision, and the council is filing a corruption case against Karna, Sunday at the Tulsipur Appellate Court, Dang district" The Kathmandu Post quoted a source as saying

A royal permission, as mandated by the Judicial Council Act, is required before filing a corruption case against a sitting district or appellate court judge.

The Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) had caught Karna "red-handed" taking a bribe of Rs 20,000 on March 23 and arrested him. The controversial royal "anti-graft" panel had then convicted Karna on corruption charges and had recommended the king for necessary action. But the king had sent back the case to the JC for necessary action because of protests from the legal community. The council had carried out a fresh investigation into the case by forming a probe committee of Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, without recognizing the investigation of the RCCC. The committee found Karna 'guilty'.

Judge Karna faces suspension from the date of filing the case (Sunday) and it will be in force until his case is finalized in the court. If he gets a clean chit from the court, he will be reinstated to the post.

Meanwhile, the JC has also recommended Nepal Bar Council to take disciplinary action against lawyer Megha Raj Bhatta, who had allegedly given the bribe to Judge Karna.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Writ against Shahi

Kathmandu, September 17-A case was filed at the Supreme Court on friday seeking contempt of court action against Home Minister Dan Bahadur Shahi and Inspector General Police (IGP), Shyam Bhakta Thapa, accusing them of defying the apex court’s order while appointing inspectors. A day after a stay order was issued by the Supreme Court on September 7, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Police Headquarters had begun the process for appointing inspectors on September 8.
A woman candidate, Kripa Sharma, filed the case today against the Home Minister, the Home Ministry, the IGP, the Police Headquarters, and legal and administrative divisions of the Police Headquarters, accusing them of defying the SC’s stay order. Even after the apex court’s order of September 7, issued by a single bench of Justice Ram Nagina Singh, to halt the appointment process, the authorities begun the appointment process defying the order.
Habeas Corpus Pleas Seek Release of Deuba, Singh

Kathmandu, September 16- Two separate habeas corpus petitions were filed in the Supreme Court today seeking release of former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and former minister Prakash Man Singh.Advocates Binod Karki and Sarvagya Naya jointly challenged the sentence slapped by the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) on Deuba and Singh in two separate petitions and asked the Supreme Court to release them.
The two leaders are serving two-year jail term slapped by the RCCC on charges of corruption in Melamchi Drinking Water Project.
The petitioners have claimed as the formation of the RCCC itself was illegal; the leaders should not be kept in jail based on a verdict given by an illegal commission.
The petitioners appealed to the apex court to issue order to the Cabinet Secretariat and the RCCC to produce the two leaders before the apex court within 24 hours and release them.

Torture is quite systematic in Nepal: Nowak

Kathmandu, Sept 16 - Wrapping up his weeklong Nepal visit, UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak today said that torture and ill-treatment is systematically practised in Nepal by the police, armed police and the Royal Nepalese Army to extract confessions and to obtain intelligence, among other things, from suspected Maoists.
He also said he even received "repeated and disturbingly frank" admissions from senior police and army officials that torture was acceptable in some instances, and was indeed systematically practiced.
Speaking to journalists at a press meet, Nowak revealed some disturbing torture methods practiced by the security forces including beatings with bamboo poles and plastic pipes, kicking with boots, electric shock to the ears, rolling rods over the thighs, jumping on thighs and legs, maintenance of stress positions, hanging upside down on a pole and beating on the soles of the feet and blindfolding and handcuffing "suspects" for prolonged periods.
He also urged the government to review existing legislations, including the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Ordinance (TADO) and the Public Security Act, that "effectively provide the police and the army with sweeping powers to detain suspects" for preventive reasons, sometimes for months on end.
He, however, informed that he did not receive any major complaints of torture in jails- the Central Jails in Nepalgunj and Kathmandu he visited. "The conditions in jails are not inhuman if the general situation in Nepal is taken into account," Nowak said.
He also mentioned receiving some shocking evidence of torture and mutilation carried out by the Maoists to intimidate, extort money and punish non-cooperation. Maoist methods of torture, according to Nowak, include beatings with sticks on the legs, piercing of legs with metal rods, beatings with rifle butts on ankles, and even mutilation, such as amputation of toes.
To discourage the widespread use of torture, the UN Special Rapporteur urged the government to make a clear public statement against the prevailing culture of impunity. "Torture is not a criminal offence in Nepal which is against the Convention against Torture which Nepal, too, has ratified," Nowak said stressing on the need to fight impunity.
Saying that the Torture Compensation Act-1996 does not provide for effective remedies against the crime, Nowak termed the "disciplinary action" taken against the perpetrators of torture such as demotions, suspensions, fines, delayed promotions as "grossly inadequate."
"I haven't received any case where police and armed police guilty of committing torture have actually been brought to justice," Nowak said. He also urged the Maoists to end torture.
Nowak, who arrived in Kathmandu on September 10 on the invitation of the Nepal government, visited a number of government detention centres including the Central Prison, district police offices in the Kathmandu Valley, those in the army barracks and jails during his stay.
Over the course of the visit, Nowak held meetings with top government officials including the chief and joint secretaries of the Office of the Prime Minister, the attorney general, the home minister and secretary, chief justice of the Supreme Court, the inspector generals of Nepal Police and Armed Police Force, senior army officials, NGO activists and detainees and prisoners in different detention centres.
Nowak will submit a comprehensive written report on his findings to the UN Commission on Human Rights at its 62nd session next year.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Lawyers demand immediate dissolution of RCCC

Kathmandu Sept 16-Advocates pleading before the Special bench of the Supreme Court demanded immediate dissolution of the controversial Royal Commission for corruption Control (RCCC) saying Article 127 of the Constitution does not provide authority to the King to form a body like the RCCC, reports said.

They asserted that the royal commission was formed against the spirit of the 1990 Constitution as there is already the Commission for Investigation of the Abuse of Authority to look after irregularities and corruption related cases.

“Invoking Article 127 is not the way to amend the Constitution or to promulgate a new law,” reports quoted senior advocate Shree Hari Aryal as saying. He argued that the Article also does not give the authority to the King to form a body like the RCCC.

The special bench comprising Justices Kedar Prasad Giri, Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Ram Nagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma and Ram Prasad Shrestha is examining the constitutionality of the RCCC.

Advocates Shree Hari Aryal, Subash Nemwang, Yagnya Murti Banjade and Hari Har Dahal demanded the immediate termination of the commission and to declare all the activities of the commission void.

SC order on citizenship

Kathmandu, Sept 16 - The Supreme Court in a historic verdict on Thursday ordered the government to provide citizenship to every Nepali child born within the country whose parents are unknown.

The special bench comprising justices Anup Raj Sharma, Sharada Prasad Pandit and Arjun Prasad Singh issued the order today in connection to separate writ petitions filed at the Court.

As per Article 9 (2) of the Constitution of 1990, any child, born or found within the Nepalese territory shall be acknowledged as Nepali citizen by their ancestry till the identification of their parents."Every child who is found within the Kingdom of Nepal and the whereabouts, of whose parents are not known shall be recognized as a citizen of Nepal by descent until the father of the child is traced' reads the provision.

Similarly, the Court issued an order to implement the report prepared and indicated by a government-formed committee to investigate on the condition of Badi women and their children. Likewise, the Court has instructed the government to omit the provision of registering system of Birth and Death Certificate Registration Act 2033, where only the male guardians could register the birth or death of their children. After implementation of the order any guardians either male or female can register for their children.

The Court has decided that the previous provision to register the birth and death certificate only by male has been quashed with the right to equality of the Article 11 of the Constitution.

The Court also instructed the government to guarantee the rights including education and health of Badi women and their children. On behalf of the non-governmental organisation of Dalit, Dil Bahadur Bishwokarma and advocate Prakash Mani Sharma of Pro-Public had filed separate petitions at the Court regarding the issues and problems of Badi women.

The writ was filed at the Court seeking its order to the government to provide citizenship to Badi women and their children along with women guardians having the right to register the birth and death certificates of their children.

The verdict will now guarantee the rights of citizenship to a child even if he/she is born out of a rape.

Many children born to women of the Badi community, who are involved in prostitution due to economic and social backwardness, have been deprived of citizenship as of now.The community is found in Banke, Bardiya, Kanchanpur, Kailali and Dang districts.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

PAPAD urges King to declare ceasefire

Kathmandu, Sept 15 - An umbrella organization of professors, lawyers, journalists, doctors and engineers, Professional Alliance for Peace and Democracy (PAPAD) Wednesday vehemently entreated the royal government to reciprocate to the Maoists' truce instantly for a negotiated settlement of the ongoing conflict.
Following a protest rally of PAPAD in support of the agitation launched by the seven-party alliance in the capital yesterday the leaders accused the royal government of being indifferent to the aspirations of the people for peace.
"At least we have not heard news about the killing of police, army and political activists for the past 12 days," said Shambhu Thapa, the president of Nepal Bar Association, while addressing a gathering of various professionals.
"The state must declare a six-month long ceasefire in response, to prove that it also stands for peace," he said.
He also called on the Maoists to respect the people's wish for peace.
University Teachers' Association President, Bhupati Dhakal said the government should immediately reciprocate to the ceasefire declaration.
Similarly, Nepal Engineers' Association's Chairman Dr Jeeva Raj Pokharel said the king's February 1 move has adversely affected the progress of professional organizations.
Nepal Medical Association's chairperson Dr Sudha Sharma urged the government not to use tear gas and brutal force against peaceful demonstrators.
President of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists Bisnu Nisthuri said that the royal government should stop the rule of decrees.

Court asks govt. to abolish ‘chhaupadi’ system

Kathmandu, Sept 15-The Supreme Court on Wednesday has ordered the government to enact necessary law to abolish the practice of ‘Chhaupadi’ and declare it as an ‘evil custom’ within a month.

Practised mainly in far-western region, the custom requires women to stay at cow sheds for four days during her menstrual period.

Responding to a public interest litigation filed nearly one and half years ago, a division bench comprising Justices Anup Raj Sharma and Arjun Prasad Singh ordered the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare to formulate necessary directives within three months to abolish the `evil practice.’

Similarly, the apex court asked the Ministry of Health to conduct a study of impact of ‘Chhaupadi system’ within three months and report back to the court. The court also asked the Ministry of Local Development to mobilise local bodies to make people aware against the ‘Chhaupadi system.’

There have been reports of women facing hardships, discrimination and even attack from wild animals while they spent at least four days every month in unsafe, open cow-sheds.


Kathmandu, Sept 15

CJ appoints judges

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Dilip Kumar Poudel has appointed four chief judges and an acting chief judge five Appellate Courts as justices of the Supreme Court for a two-year term on the recommendation of the judicial council.

Those appointed are: Chief Judges of the Appellate Courts of Patan, Rajbiraj, Nepalgunj and Jumla, Tapa Bahadur Magar, Damodar Prasad Sharma, Ram Kumar Prasad Shah and Kalyan Shrestha respectively and acting chief judge of the Appellate Court of Pokhara Mrs. Gauri Dhakal.

According to the Supreme Court, their recommendations were made by the Judicial Council on the basis of their performance evaluations.

RCCC instructs for stern departmental action

After its long investigation on the alleged irregularities in the procurement of vaccine of Japanese Encephalitis, the Royal Commission for Control of Corruption (RCCC) has come to a conclusion to instruct the government to take severe departmental action against those involved in the irregularities.

According to sources at the Commission, several senior officials are involved in the irregularities for delaying the procurement of the vaccine for JE for one year that led to the death of hundreds of people and thousands others suffered in several districts of the Terai and Inner Terai regions.

Home Ministry ignored SC stay order

Kathmandu, September 14-Defying a stay order, which was issued by the Supreme Court on September 7, the Police Headquarters and the Home Ministry began appointing police inspectors the very next day, a division bench of justices Khil Raj Regmi and Hari Jung Sijapati was told today.

Even as Hari Prasad Uprety, an advocate, urged the apex court to take contempt of court action against the ministry and the police headquarters for the defiance, the government joint attorney, Raj Narayan Pathak, said the ministry went ahead with the appointment process because it did not get the stay order on that day.
The authorities have started giving appointment letters to 236 inspectors. While 50 candidates were selected through open competition, 186 sub-inspectors were promoted through internal competition. The division bench, however, ruled there was no need to issue another stay order on the matter as the appointment process had already begun.

Challenging the selection process, two women candidates, Kripa Sharma and Kopila Chundal, had moved the apex court on September 7. Citing the Police Regulation 2049, which states that half of the appointments in the police force must be made through open competition and the rest through internal assessment, the petitioners had moved the Supreme Court.

Notwithstanding the legal provision, the authorities had stated in the vacancy announcement that 60 police inspectors will be appointed through an open competition and 186 sub-inspectors will be promoted to inspectors. The two candidates had passed written tests, but could not make it through the interview.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

King Must Speak on Truce: President Thapa

Kathmandu, September 14-Nepal Bar Association president Shambhu Thapa on Tuesday urged the King to respond to the unilateral ceasefire announcement of the Maoists and declare his plans to restore peace in the country in the light of the current developments. “As the head of state, the King must declare what he is planning in near future to restore peace,” Thapa said, adding that donor agencies were putting pressing on the NBA to monitor the ceasefire. “Both the Maoists and the government should be committed to protecting the rights of the people in these difficult times,” he said. Thapa was speaking at a talk programme ‘Ceasefire and Peace Talk’ organised by the NBA here today. He accused the government of not allowing the civil society to conduct programmes in different parts of the country.

Former NBA president Harihar Dahal, however, said the government had no authority to hold peace talks with the Maoists, as the government was itself illegitimate. “ As political parties are the legitimate forces, they should hold talks with the Maoists after the restoration of parliament,” he said. Senior advocate Shree Hari Aryal said the political parties, non-govermental organisations and NBA should monitor the ceasefire. “The Maoists should be ready to extend the cease fire to win the confidence of the people,” he added. Former Law Minister Subash Chandra Nembang urged the government to remove the tag of ‘terrorists’ and red corner notice against the Maoists in order to make favourable environment for talks. “Unless the government is ready to create a favourable environment, we cannot expect the government to restore peace,” he added.

RCCC formation unconstitutional- legal experts

Kathmandu, Sept 14-Legal experts have opined that Article 127 of the 1990 Constitution does not allow the King to form a body like the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC). The experts on tuesday asked the Supreme Court to clarify whether the King can exercise Article 127 at will or not. Asking the court to clarify what powers the King enjoys as per the constitutions of 1963 and 1990, they asked it to make clear whether the formation of the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (on February 15) and its extension on April 29 was legal or not. A five-member special bench, comprising justices Kedar Prasad Giri, Min BahadurRa Rayamajhi, Ram Nagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma, and Ram Prasad Shrestha, is examining the constitutionality of the RCCC.
Challenging the constitutionality of the RCCC, Santosh Kumar Mahato, an advocate, had filed a public interest litigation at the apex court. Similarly, seeking the release of Rajiv Parajuli, a former minister, Sanjeev Parajuli had filed a habeas corpus petition. After a hearing on the case, the bench released Parajuli today, on the condition that Parajuli will present himself before the bench for next hearing, which has been scheduled for Thursday. Pleading before the bench, Subash Chandra Nembang, an advocate, said: “Unlike the claims made by the RCCC, Article 127 does not give any special power to the King.” Pointing at the extension of the RCCC, he said: “Article 127 does not give the King the right to form such a body,” he added.

“Article 90 (a) of the 1963 Panchayati constitution had given the King such a prerogative.”

“Since the sovereignty rests with the people, the King cannot invoke Article 127 under the 1990 constitution.” The NBA president, Shambhu Thapa, said the present constitution does not give any prerogative powers to the King which upset the balance of power. “Since the statute and other Acts do not recognise the RCCC, it should be dissolved,” he said. “Neither the RCCC is a court of law under the Article 84 and 85 of 1990 Constitution nor its members have qualifications as judges to pass any verdict on any case.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Writ demands ban on use of teargas

Kathmandu Sept 13-A writ petition was filed at the Supreme Court Tuesday demanding ban on the use of teargas and dirty water to contain protests, et al.
Santosh Bhatt, president of Free Students Association of Bishwo Bhasa Campus, Kathmandu, and two other student leaders in their writ petition argued that police authorities had been making excessive use of teargas shells which is injurious to heath.
They also said the police personnel sprayed dirty water to disperse protesters during recent demonstrations in the capital.
Hearing on the case is likely on Wednesday, it is learnt.
There have been cases of targeted firings of teargas shells in which several protesters suffered injuries in the last few days, along with health hazards caused by the harmful chemical.
A group of eight doctors had last week demanded that the government completely ban the use of teargas considering the heath hazards associated to it.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has already urged the government not to use teargas shells.

Police arrest district president of Nepal Bar in Syangja

Kathmandu Sept 13-Police have taken into custody president of Syangja district unit of Nepal Bar Association (NBA) in western district of Syangja, Rameswore Regmi, from the Association’s office.
According to Nepal Bar Association, Regmi was taken into custody as he was taking part in a talk programme on the theme “Ceasefire and Peace Talks.”
Nepal Bar had asked all of its 81 branches across the country to organize talk programmes on the theme on Tuesday.
In Sindhupalchowk district, to the east of Kathmandu, police barred the local unit of Nepal Bar from organizing the talk programme. NBA officials said they had already booked a hall at the District Development Committee for the same purpose but ere denied from organizing the programme at the last minute.
Vice president of Nepal Bar Association, Sher Bahadur KC, condemned the police act of arresting Regmi in Syangja. “It is the blatant violation of fundamental rights of citizens—to organize peaceful assembly, meetings etc as guaranteed in the country’s constitution,” said KC. “There could not be a ridiculous act on part of the government than to arrest legal professionals who were discussing prospects of peace in the country,” he added.
The Association has demanded immediate release of Regmi.