Tuesday, October 25, 2005

New media ordinance is contradicted with the Constitution

Kathmandu, October 25-In The Supreme Court hearing on the petitions Lawyers claimed that if the apex court failed to issue interlocutory stay orders, the government would take action against FM stations because it has already started action against Kantipur FM and directed all FM stations not to air news. During the hearing, senior advocate and one of the drafters of the 1990 Constitution, Daman Nath Dhungana urged the apex court to issue strictures against the government not to defy the court’s orders. Dhungana argued that the government had defied the court stay order allowing the FM stations to air news.

Advocate Yagya Murti Banjade argued that even the Panchayat regime abided by the orders of the apex court but the current regime was not respecting the court’s orders because it did not want to respect the rights of the people.

Former Law Minister Subash Chandra Nemwang said promulgation of the Ordinance and action against Kantipur FM was an uncivilised act of the government. Advocates Radheshyam Adhikary, Shambhu Thapa, Harihar Dahal, Shar Bahadur KC, Madhav Banskota, Ram Krishna Nirala, Chandra Kanta Gyawali, Bhimarjun Acharya, Tika Ram Bhattarai urged the court to take serious action against the government which had violated fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

They argued that the new media ordinance introduced by the government early this month contradicted with the constitution of the kingdom of Nepal, 1990, and hence needed to be scrapped. They said the state could impose reasonable restrictions on fundamental rights of the people, as per the constitution, only during the state of emergency. Since the country was not under the state of emergency, there was no justification for introducing such law, they argued.

The well-known lawyers also termed the government’s act of seizing communications equipment from the office of Kantipur FM station around midnight on Friday as violation of the very notion of rule of law and demanded that the court order the government to return the equipment and not disrupt its eastern regional transmission

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