Wednesday, November 30, 2005

SC Allows all FM Stations to Broadcast News

Kathmandu, Nov 30 - The Supreme Court today issued an order to the government not to ban any FM radio station from broadcasting news. The order has now paved the way for the FM stations to broadcast news which was disrupted following the government raid on Kantipur FM.
The Supreme Court issued the order that allows all FM stations to broadcast news as a “matter of duty.”

The court issued the order following a hearing on a writ petition filed in the court by advocate Tulsi Ram Niroula on October 28 challenging the government ban on FM radio stations from broadcasting news.

A division bench of justices Anup Raj Sharma and Min Bahadur Rayamajhi issued the order.
Koirala’s PA in Custody

Kathmandu, Nov 30-After failing to come up with a bail amount of Rs 13 million, former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s personal assistant Gokarna Paudel was on Tuesday send to police custody as per an order of the Special Court. Following the order, Paudel has been detained in the Singhdurbar Ward Police Office. A three-member bench of judges Govinda Prasad Parajuli, Rana Bahadur Bam and Bhoopdhoj Adhikary had set Rs 13 million as bail for Paudel responding to a corruption case filed by the CIAA which had filed a case about two months ago charging Paudel of amassing Rs 2.1 million while working as Koirala’s personal assistant .

Govt. asks Radio Sagarmatha not to re-broadcast BBC

Kathmandu Nov 30-Within hours of the Supreme Court verdict not to implement its order to stop the transmission of the Radio Sagarmatha FM the government on Tuesday has asked Radio Sagarmatha not to re-broadcast BBC Nepali Service and “programmes banned by the National Broadcast Act 2049 B. S.

Chairman of Radio Sagarmatha FM management committee, Laxman Upreti, said they received a fax from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) at 5:20 p. m. today asking the station resume its transmission and air programmes except BBC Nepali and other programmes banned by the law nepalnews repaorts .

Upreti said Radio Sagarmatha has been re-broadcasting BBC Nepali Service for the last eight years with the permission from the government. In a notice, Radio Sagarmatha said it was studying the legality of the government’s latest order and would resort to legal treatment.

The radio station resumed its transmission Tuesday afternoon after the Supreme Court verdict.

Earlier, a reporter asked BBC officials"What will the BBC do if the government hampers your radio broadcast in future objecting to your news stories?" , who were briefing journalists on the launch of the BBC World Service at a press conference on Nov 5, 2004.

Chief of BBC Nepal Service Khagendra Nepali and the then executive director of Radio Nepal Sailendra Raj Sharma had dismissed the question as 'hypothetical".

BBC World Service was airing its programmes round-the-clock after hiring an FM station of State-owned Radio Nepal.

BBC World Service suddenly went off air hours before the government shut down Sagarmatha FM, Sunday, to prevent the announced interview of Maoist leader Prachanda. The blackout lasted for nearly 12 hours.

Radio Nepal's 103 FM started airing BBC programmes only late Monday morning. But officials at Radio Nepal deny the government hampered the service. "There is no relation between the government action on Sagarmatha FM and the disturbance that occurred at 103 FM," said acting executive director of Radio Nepal, Rabin Sharma.

"It was purely a technical problem and once the problem was solved, the service resumed."
But for that, the British embassy had to give a call to Radio Nepal officials. Khagendra Nepali from London said Radio Nepal explained the situation to the BBC. "They said it was due to technical problems."

The government has been continuously hampering FM BBC World Service broadcasts after Feb 1.

"We have sought explanations from Radio Nepal about the censoring," a source at the BBC said. "We are yet to receive a reply."
14-point declaration of NBA

Kathmandu, Nov 30-Nepal Bar Association (NBA), adopting its 14-point declaration, said it is against putting pressure on the judiciary to protect the rule of law in the country.

During its national conference on human rights in Biratnagar, NBA said it always believes in the rule of law, the supremacy of the constitution, and an independent judiciary. "The NBA urges the government to create an environment for the judiciary to work independently," the declaration states.

The declaration, responding to the 12-point understanding between the political parties and the Maoists, has also urged the concerned authorities to create a conducive environment to restore peace in the country. It has urged the government to reciprocate Maoists' unilateral truce and to show its commitment for peace at a time when even the Maoists are ready to do so.

Similarly, the declaration has urged the government to scrap the controversial ordinances including the Media Ordinance - dissolve the controversial Royal Commission for Corruption Control and the current government to create the space for an representatives government, and conducive environment for free and fair elections. The NBA also expressed its commitment to keep its voice up against the country's problems.
AG submitted the annual report

Kathmandu, Nov 30-The Attorney-General, Pawan Kumar Ojha, submitted the annual report for the fiscal year 2060/61 to the minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Niranjan Kumar Thapa, amid a programme organised .

The annual report, among others, has called on the government to promulgate a separate Act defining the rights, duties and responsibilities of the Attorney-General and reform the criminal justice system prevalent in the country.

The existing criminal justice system has become ineffective due to several shortcomings, the report has said, suggesting that separate benches should be set up in every court to tackle crimes.

The report has called on the government to boost the morale of the government attorneys by providing more facilities to them.The annual report has also called on the government to include the Attorney-General in the Judicial Council by amending the relevant constitutional provision and reminded the government to implement the recommendations made by previous annual reports.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Court orders Radio Sagarmatha to resume transmission

Kathmandu Nov 29-The Supreme Court on Monday issued an interlocutory stay order to the government not to suspend the Sagarmatha FM.A single-bench of justice Badri Kumar Basnet issued the order after a hearing on a case filed yesterday by the radio station against the government after policemen and officials from the Ministry of Information and Communication on Sunday night raided the studio of the FM station, seized radio equipment and ordered the station to shut down the transmission.

The court also summoned the government authorities to attend a hearing on December 7 that will decide whether to extend the stay order or notThe raid left the transmission from South Asia’s first community radio service run by the Nepal Forum for Environment Journalists (NEFEJ).The authorities had ordered the FM to stop transmission saying the FM had failed to comply with orders issued earlier on.

The government had raided the radio station and forced to shut down transmission when the station was about to air a BBC interview with Maoist leader Puspa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda. The FM had been airing BBC’s Nepali programme for the last six years.

The raid had been widely condemned from various national and international Press and human rights bodies.

RBB Doti official to remain in judicial custody
Kathmandu, Nov. 29- The Special Court gave permission to the Commission for Investigation of the Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to remand then assistant manager of Doti district branch of Rastria Banijya Bank (RBB), Kailash Shrestha for 30-day judicial custody and initiate investigation on the charges against him on Monday.The Commission has found in its primary investigation that Shrestha misappropriated Rs. 4.1 million by creating fake documents. The central office of RBB had recommended the CIAA for further investigation after conducting an investigation in this connection.The Commission had arrested Shrestha from Doti and brought him to Kathmandu last Friday, sources at the CIAA said.

Mainwhile The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has initiated action against three top level bank employees and the companies providing vehicles, in connection with the controversial investment procedure involved in the purchase of microbus for the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB).The CIAA has initiated action against the bank employees and the companies supplying the vehicles after it recorded statements from the entrepreneurs after 19 persons from Itahari, Sunsari who took loans of up to 70 per cent of the total investment from the ADB for the purchase of vehicles did not operate the vehicles after purchasing the same, according sources in the District.CIAA has filed cases against Acting General Manager of the ADB, Jalan Kumar Sharma, Deputy General Manager Ram Chandra Maharjan and Department Chief Bharat Kumar Pokharel, Jagar Nath Sonar of Kathmandu Tuk Tuk, the company that supplied the buses, Rabindra Sonar of the Rabi Enterprises and Anita Sonar of the Anita Electronics and Mechanical. CIAA has demanded a fine of Rs. 105,000,000 from each of the accused.

Crime watch

Kathmandu, Nov 29 Police have rounded up Binod Shrestha, 29, of Kathmandu metropolitan city-18 on charges of being involved in the transaction of illegal drugs.A police squad of the drug control legal enforcement unit nabbed Shrestha red handed when he was going around the town to sell the contraband drugs.Shrestha alias ‘Buff’ was widely known for dealing in illegal drugs in different parts of the city such as Bhurungkhel, Naradevi, Bijeswori, Thamel and the Chettrapati area.“We had been tracking down the dealer upon coming to know about his illegal activities, we were able to round him up today,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Diwasraj Udas said.The police confiscated 33 grams of brown sugar, 437 pieces of Byupronarphin, ampul injections and RS 29,140 in cash from the accused.Police were able to arrest Shrestha after receiving complaints that illegal transaction of drugs was taking place rampantly in the banks of the Bishnumti river.The locals living along the banks of the river had complained during a public hearing held Sunday that the police had turned a deaf ear despite notifying it of the growing illegal trade. The police squad had intervened in the area on receiving charges against the local police that they had themselves given protection to illegal drug dealers like Shrestha and had pestered them when they requested to check the activity.Shrestha had been arrested hours after the public hearing. “We did not arrest him just because of the complaint of the locals, we were tracking him down as soon as we came to know that he had been involved in the illegal activity for a long time,” DSP Udas said.

Meanwhile, police arrested 17 individuals on charges of burglary, extortion and looting in different parts of the Kathmandu valley. It has also seized stolen goods worth thousands of rupees.Police have arrested two individuals on charges of stealing 11 computers including other goods from the Kantipur Hotel Management College at Buddhanagar, New Baneswore.Those arrested on theft charges are Karamdeep Sherpa, 21, of Jiri VDC-7 in Dolakha district and Pasang alias Kalu Sherpa, resident of Jorpati-7, Attarkhel. Karamdeep was working as a guard at the college, police said.The accused had kept the stolen computers and other goods in the house of Rale Tamang in Jorepati. A team led by police inspector of the ward police office Pratap Kumar Gurung had nabbed Sherpa duo from Tamang’s house early Monday morning.The police seized 11 sets of computers, one set of printer, one refrigerator, water filter, three gas cylinders, computer cables including a plastic bag full of forks and spoons from Tamang’s house.The police also took under control a micro bus with plate number Ba. 1 Ja 8691 that was used to carry the stolen goods.

Similarly the police seized Rs 200,000 from an employee working for the Campod Housing Company at Ichhangu Narayan VDC-6 of Kathmandu and arrested three others on charges of stealing materials worth Rs 40,000 kept for the construction of the Sarswoti temple.Those arrested Ek Bahadur Jimma, 25, of Jutbela-1 of Rautahat presently living in Kathmandu, Deepakl Lama, 22, of Chitwan also living in Kathmandu, Deepak Lama, 22, of Bijeswori and Rajesh Shrestha, 24 of Ramecchap presently living in Dallu, Kathmandu. Similarly, police have arrested nearly 12 people on charges of looting, pick-pocketing and arson from different places in Kathmandu.

Meanwhile police arrested a Pakistani citizen, passport numbers AB 7730221, at the Tribhuvan International Airport on Saturday for trying to bring in different goods illegally.Tanvir, the Pakistani national was trying to bring in goods worth about Rs. 400,000 including cigarettes 445 packet, torch lights 4 pieces, fair and lovely 320 pieces, leather jackets one piece and hospital scissor 110 pieces. The goods were packed in 11 suitcases and bags.Police news bulletin Monday said that police have sent him with goods to customs office at TIA for the investigation.

Lawyer challenged to Review CJ's appointment

Kathmandu, Nov 29-Defending the February 1 move of King Gyanendra in the Supreme Court on Monday, a government lawyer, Balkrishna Neupane, challenged the Supreme Court to review Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel's appointment if it wants to review the existence of the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) which was set up under the same Article 127.

"If the Supreme Court wants to examine the orders under Article 127, it should review the formation of the council of ministers after October 4, 2002, and the appointment of the present Chief Justice," Neupane said. He claimed Article 127 was activated to remove the difficulties to form the cabinet and the appointment of the Chief Justice at a time when constitutional provisions were floundering.

Neupane claimed the King activated Article 127 to appoint the outgoing chief justice to chair the constitutional council at a time when the post of the Prime Minister was vacant, to chair the meeting that suggested the name of the Chief Justice. "The order under Article 127 is a part of the Constitution and beyond review by the apex court," he claimed.

"If the Supreme Court blocks the King's order that formed the Royal Commission for Corruption Control it will create hurdles in bringing back the constitution on the right track," Neupane argued while pleading before the special bench comprising acting Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri, justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Ram Nagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma and Ram Prasad Shrestha.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Radio Sagarmatha moves SC

Kathmandu,Nov 28-Radio Sagarmatha and Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ) filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court (SC) against the government’s raid at the FM station on Sunday night.

Claiming that the government’s action was illegal, the petitioner demanded SC’s interim order for the resumption of radio transmission.

The government had asked the FM station to shut down its transmission until further notice.
They also urged the SC to ask the government to return all the radio equipment confiscated from radio station.

According to officials of the FM station, armed security officials left behind two letters issued by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) during the time of raid. One of the letters said the Ministry had ordered the station to stop all its transmission until further notice, as per National Broadcast Act 2049 BS, for airing programmes that would encourage terrorists or terrorist activities. Another letter said the government had ordered to seize radio equipment as the radio station was found broadcasting programmes by violating the Ministry’s order not air (BBC Nepali) on Sunday (Nov. 27).

Officials with the Radio Sagarmatha, however, said they did not receive any notification, in writing or over phone, from the Ministry in advance and that they had already discontinued the interview with Maoist chairman Prachanda.

Some two-dozen police personnel raided the radio station at Bakhundole, Lalitpur at around 9:15 p. m., seized radio equipment and arrested

The Supreme Court is also examining the case related to newly promulgated media ordinance and seizure of up linking equipment from Kantipur FM

Main while Police authorities on Monday freed all four journalists working at Radio Sagarmatha, who were arrested during a police raid at the FM station on Sunday night.

Journalists Dipak Babu Aryal, Punya Bhandari, Dipak Raj Pandey and Rajendra Rijal were released from the Lalitpur District Police Office (DPO) at around 12:30 p.m..

Authorities were compelled to free the journalists following intense pressure from national and international media rights groups and human rights organizations, they said.

Police officials had telephoned the FM officials this morning asking them to come to DPO and receive the journalists. Durga Karki, one of the five radio journalists arrested during the raid, was freed on Sunday night itself.
SC order in Discriminatory Passport Rule for Women

Kathmandu, Nov 28-The Supreme Court today directed the government not to impose any restriction while issuing passports to women.A division bench of justices Badri Kumar Basnet and Balram KC issued the directive responding to a writ petition filed by Punyabati Pathak and Mana Basnet Pathak challenging a ten-year-old cabinet decision that make consent from the guardians mandatory for women to get passports.“The provision is against the right to freedom guaranteed by the Article 12(2) of the constitution and it needs to be scrapped as it contradicts the Constitution,” the bench ruled.

The petitioners had challenged the cabinet decision, which had barred the government authorities from issuing passports to women under 35 years of age without the consent of their guardians. The bench also directed the Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, Ministers of Home and Foreign Affairs, Women Children and Social Welfare and the Kathmandu District Administration Office to issue passports without imposing such a criteria. “The provision cannot exist since it is against the right to freedom guaranteed by Article 12 (2) of the Constitution,” the division bench ruled. Terming the provision discriminatory against women, the bench said the requirement of guardians’ consent to obtain a passport is against the spirit of the Universal Declaration 1948 and Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966.

Nepalese Convicts 4-yr RI for raping minor

New Delhi, Nov 28: A nepalese national has been sentenced by a local court here to four years rigorous imprisonment and has also been fined Rs 20,000 for raping a minor girl almost five years ago Indian news paper reports .
While delivering the sentence and voicing concern over the alarming rise in crime against women, Additional District and Sessions Judge Swarna Kanta Mehra observed that “such inhuman crimes against women are ever increasing and the courts cannot remain silent and uninvolved in such incidents”.
Prosecution had argued that the accused, Ganesh, a resident of Mohinder Nagar in Nepal visited his sister’s rented house in Malviya Nagar, South Delhi on December 23, 2001.
On seeing the girl, a student of class seven and his sister’s neighbour, the accused lured her away from the garden where she was playing, and raped her.
While slapping the fine on the accused, the judge also said, “The larger interests of the society need to be taken into consideration. The court’s social responsibility is not limited to deciding whether a person is guilty of an offence or not, but it also keeps in mind the social need of the society”.

Police Nabs 14 Miscreants in Pokhara

Pokhara Nov 28-Police nabbed fourteen persons involved in the acts of hooliganism in different parts of this lake town, on Sunday.

Police have also initiated legal actions against the accused under the Public Offence Act.
Police Inspector Krishna Prasad Pageni said six of the miscreants were held from a local evening-time restaurant in Jalpa Road, where they entered and vandalized properties under the effect of alcohol.

He said they had vandalized the restaurant’s properties including furniture, lights and sound system worth 40 thousand rupees.

Police said they have also arrested five others who followed a group of passing girls with a view to molest them, in the Lake Side. Three other miscreants were held from Hotel Santoshi situated at the Prithvi Chowk for showing improper behavior.

Police said all of them were being charged with public offence and are now in the police custody.
Kaski district’s chief Superintendent of Police, Raviraj Shrestha said hooliganism was a major problem in Pokhara, which the police planned to tackle more vigorously.
Night raid on Sagarmatha FM,journos in custody

Kathmandu, November 28-Policemen and officers from the Ministry of Communication and Information tonight raided the studio of Radio Sagarmatha, a community FM radio station run by Nepal Federation of Environment Journalists(NEFEJ). This is the second night raid by the ministry in FM stations after the Media Ordinance was promulgated. The incident took place when Sagarmatha was about to air the BBC programme, being up-linked by the FM station. BBC Nepali Service was scheduled to broadcast Maoist leader Prachanda’s interview with BBC. “At 9.20 pm a group of government officials, who arrived at the studio with policemen, seized raided some equipment and arrested five of our staffers,” said Bhupendra Basnet, the general secretary of NEFEJ.

Officials with the F. M. station told that armed security personnel also left behind two letters. One of the letters asked the F. M. to shut down its entire transmission until further notice. The other letter said the authorities were taking some radio equipment for investigation.

According to F. M. sources, Police gheraoed the station, asked the reporters and radio staff not to use phone, seized transmission equipment and took five journalists and technical staff into their custody.

Those arrested include radio journalists Ms. Durga Karki, Dipak Babur Aryal, Dipak Raj Pandey, Punya Bhandari and technician Rajendra Bhandari.

The team reporters Punya Bhandari, Dipak Aryal, Dipak Raj Pandey and Durga Karki and a technician Rajendra Rijal and have been taken to Lalitpur District Police Office. Karki was released being a female and also because the police station did not have a separate room to lodge women. General Secretary of Federation of Nepalese Journalists Mahendra Bista said .Reports said police later released Ms. Karki.

That the incident is another example of state terrorism, done on the pretext of implementing the so-called media ordinance. He said that the journalists were arrested on he charge of “supporting the terrorist” even when the FM station had discontinued broadcasting the BBC programme. “This is another example of the state’s mid-night terrorism. The government

has attacked another free radio and taken away its equipment. The government must return the equipment,” he said. He also added that FNJ would soon announce a protest programme.

On Sunday, BBC Nepali Service carried an exclusive interview with Maoist chairman Prachanda alias Pushpa Kamal Dahal—the first radio interview given by him in the last ten years-- in its edition today. He spoke about recent understanding between the seven party alliance and his party.

The radio station had, however, aired music instead of Prachanda’s interview.

Reports said some seven F. M. stations outside the capital, Kathmandu, were forced to drop their transmission of BBC Nepali today by the local authorities.

The authorities also suspened the transmission of BBC World Service over 103 F. M. owned by the state-run Radio Nepal from this evening.

Reasons were not immediately known. The state-run Radio Nepal has been blocking the news broadcast of BBC over 103 F. M. since the royal takeover in February this year.

At around mid-night on October 21, 2005, police had raided the station of Kantipur F. M.a leading private radio station in the country—and seized its equipment used to uplink its transmission. The authorities are yet to return those equipment.

Forming RCCC is constitutional :Govt Lawyers

Kathmandu, Nov 28-Government attorneys, defending the controversial Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) said the King activated Article 127 of the 1990 Constitution to protect the nation, the Constitution and the people in the country and therefore the action cannot be tested.

They also claimed that it was the King's prerogative to take action for protection of the Constitution, the nation and to work for welfare of the people. This cannot be questioned in a court of law.

Pleading before the five-member Special Bench of the Supreme Court comprising acting Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri, Justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Ram Nagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma and Ram Prasad Shrestha, Deputy Attorney General, Narendra Prasad Pathak, argued on Sunday that the King extended the RCCC's tenure when the royal anti-graft body's tenure ended with lifting of the State of Emergency imposed on February 1.

"The King's action, which is his prerogative, cannot be tested by the apex court," he claimed. Pathak also argued that the SC can only test the constitutionality of any Law or Regulation issued under the Constitution but King's action which has been taken under Article 127 of the Constitution.

Comparing 1962 and 1990 constitutions Pathak said while the 1962 constitution had provisions with which the King could exercise executive, legislative and judicial powers, the 1990 Constitution has allowed the King to exercise only the executive and legislative powers.
Another government attorney, Pushpa Raj Koirala, claimed that the order issued by the King under Article 127 of the constitution is 'a part of the constitution' and thus it cannot be tested by the SC.

Moreover, the King formed the RCCC as a quasi-judicial body and there was no need to test its constitutionality.Koirala also claimed that the order issued by the King under Article 127 should be laid down in the parliament and not in the Supreme Court for review. Government Joint Attorney, Tika Bahadur Hamal, said the King had taken the Februay 1 step to protect the 1990 Constitution and for the welfare of the people under the royal prerogative and such a move cannot be examined by a court of law. According to him it was King's duty to protect the nation and for that he evoked Article 127 for the same. The hearing is scheduled to continue on Monday.

Five Convicts on Graft Charges

Kathmandu, Nov 28-The Special Court convicted three governmental officials and two businessmen in two separate corruption charges on Sunday and imposed jail terms on them. The court has slapped a six-month jail term on the executive officer of Birgunj Sub-metropolitan City, Dhruba Kumar Karki, the in-charge of store keeping, Lal Bahadur Raut, and the account officer, Harikishwor Prasad Chaurasiya, and has fined each person Rs 89,000.

In the same case, the court has also handed out a two-month jail term and a fine of Rs 89,000 to businessman Prakash Kumar Tibrewala . In a separate corruption charge, the court slapped one-month jail term and Rs 2,500 in fines on Rajesh Adhikary of AK Suppliers.
A three-member bench comprising judges Govinda Prasad Parajuli, Rana Bahadur Bam and Bhoopdhoj Adhikary convicted the five responding to two separate corruption charges filed by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) last year.
The CIAA had charged these officials with illegal dealings with businessman Tibrewala while buying plastic wheelbarrows for the sub-metropolitan city. The anti-graft body had also charged the officials of corruption while buying office furniture through AK Suppliers' Adhikari. The CIAA had filed charge sheets accusing the officials of involvement in illegal dealings worth Rs 3,00,000 in the first case and Rs 5,00,000 in the second.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Civil service act on anvil

Kathmandu, Nov 27-At an interaction organised by Federation of Nepalese Journalist and Pro-Public here today, Joint Spokesperson of the Ministry of General Administration Bishnu Prasad Lamsal disclosed that the final draft of the Regulations has been completed and has reached the decision-making level.He also disclosed that the Regulations would ensure a 20 per cent reservation for women, 10 per cent for nationalities and dalit and five per cent for the differently able in the Civil Service.
Speaking at the programme, assistant spokesperson of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Surendra Kumar Subedi, Gender Focal Person at the Ministry of General Administration Prabha Pandey, Chairperson of Pro Public Dr Shreekrishna Shrestha, General Secretary of Tewa Nepal Nirmala KC, FNJ General Secretary Mahendra Bista and the programme coordinator Narayan Amrit stressed on the need to give women opportunity, trust and responsibilities in order to increase their access as well as attraction toward civil service.
Court needs positive effort of Bar

Biratnagar, Nov 26 - Supreme Court justice Anup Raj Sharma on Saturday said the court needs positive effort of the Bar to pass verdicts in favor of people and the nation as a whole.

Speaking at a national seminar on 'State of peace and human rights: possibility and its challenges', Sharma said, "Let the Bar propel the bench to pass such verdicts." He also said that human rights could never be snatched. "It was eclipsed for some time only," he said.

Giving an instance of the chief justice Hari Prasad Shrestha during Panchayati era who passed verdicts in favor of people, despite the fact that those were not mentioned in the constitution, Sharma said, "People's desire to live automatically opens the way for protection of human rights."

He also argued that political balance was equally necessary for such things to take place.
Speaking on the occasion, Shambhu Thapa, president of Nepal Bar Association, said that the constitution should not be interpreted to please any one. Stating that all lawyers in the country are in favor of the supremacy of law and constitution, he argued that no one should follow those who indulge in corruption by flouting the constitution.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

'Ensure zero tolerance for violence against women'

Kathmandu, Nov 26- With the slogan: "Ensure zero tolerance for violence against women", a 16-day-long campaign began here Friday, marking the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women (VAW).

The number of cases related to violence against women reported at the Women Police Cell in different parts of the country and released here by the Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD), Friday, suggests crime against women, especially domestic violence, is increasing by the year.

From a total of 569 reported cases of domestic violence in 2059/60, the number increased to 922 in 2060/61. There were 416 cases in 2055/56. Similarly, trafficking and child marriage has increased from the previous year.

Junko Sazaki, country representative of UNFPA, speaking at the launch of VAW in the capital Friday, doubted this figure saying that in a country where gender-based violence is sustained by a culture of silence and denial, the figures were unlikely to represent the actual number of domestic violence cases.

She said the toll on women and children is invariably heavy due to the conflict situation as also the fact that higher percentages of the displaced are also women.

"In Nepal, only vaginal penetration is seen as rape against women without looking into other forms of crimes such as trafficking, forced labor and organ replacement," said.

Mainwhile , 25 Commitments made by the government in international conferences on abolishing violence against women and promoting gender equality have been confined to paper works, said Sapana Pradhan Malla, president of Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD).

Speaking at a press meet organised in the capital today to mark the international day on ‘Violence Against Women,’ Malla underscored the need to introduce laws to discourage domestic violence. According to her, the legislative mechanism is weak and corrupt.
“We do not have adequate laws to address all forms of violence against women,” she said, adding that communal constraint is one of the major factors that is encouraging such violence.

Though the security budget has been increased significantly in the last couple of years, the increment has contributed very less in minimising violence against women, she said.

Gender equality is one step towards minimising the violence, she said. Though it has been underscored as an important indicator to meet Millennium Development Goals and to address other issues related to human rights, there has not been much progress, she said. Every year, the day ‘Violence Against Women’ is marked with over two-week-long programmes. “For the health of women, for the health of the world, no more violence” is the slogan of ‘Violence Against Women’ this year.

Same as The United Nations (UN) on Friday said that the UN is concerned over the increasing violence against women of all ethnic, caste and religious groups in rural areas due to the ongoing conflict.

A statement issued in the capital today on the occasion of 'International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women' said, "there are credible reports of women dying in childbirth because they could not reach medical treatment and cases of rape, deliberate killing or maiming of girls and women that were not adequately investigated by the authorities."

The UN system in Nepal is committed to fight against all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, the statement read.

"Nepal has reiterated its commitment to reduce gender-based violence and the Constitution of Nepal also contains specific provisions to safeguard the rights and interests of women and children however many challenges still remain in their effective enforcement within the national legislation," the statement added.

In the news says A 25-year-old Indian woman, serving prison term in Birgunj Jail for drug trafficking, committed suicide this morning, police said. According to the police, Hakima Khatun of Ramgadhwa of eastern Champaran in Bihar, India, was found hanging from a tree branch by other inmates.According to the District Police Office, Parsa, Khatun used a nylon rope to hang herself in the tree inside the women’s cell.

Govt ignoring SC verdict on chhaupadi

Kathmandu, Nov 26-The government is yet to implement the Supreme Court verdict regarding the practice of chhaupadi. The Supreme Court had ordered the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Ministries of Women Children and Social Welfare and Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to declare chhaupadi as an evil custom but the government is yet to implement the ruling.

The SC ordered the Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare to issue a directory against the chhaupadi custom within three months and inform the apex court regarding the implementation of the verdict.

According to an official of the SC, the government has not informed the court about directory or about its implementation. A division bench of Justices Anup Raj Sharma and Arjun Prasad Singh had issued the order on May 2, 2005 responding to a public interest litigation (PIL) jointly filed by some nongovernmental organisations. Chhaupadi is a custom practised in the western part of Nepal where women are forced to live in unhygienic conditions in cowsheds for 11 days during their periods.

Election code of conduct discussed

Kathmandu , Nov. 26- The Kathmandu District Code of Conduct Implementation and Monitoring Committee formed as per the Local Bodies Election Code of Conduct-2006 met in connection with the forthcoming local bodies election scheduled to take place on February 8.

According to the District Election Office, Kathmandu, arrangements have been made to enforce the election code of conduct in order to carry out the elections in a free and fair manner. Provisions have also been made for regular monitoring of the code of conduct and registering complaints at the Office in case of breaching of code of conduct by any sides.

The office will remain open for the purpose even during the morning, night and holidays.

The bodies required to follow the code of conduct comprise political parties and candidates, His Majesty’s Government and other organisations along with the public media.

The code of conduct of the local bodies’ election issued by the Election Commission was implemented from the day election was announced (October 9th, 2005) in case of the HMG, government and semi-government organidations and civil servants while in case of the political organidations or parties, candidates and those concerned with the candidates will be implemented from day the day the election programme will be published, states the Office.

Local Development Officer, District Attorney, District Police Chief, executive officials of Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Kirtipur Municipality shall remain as a member while the District Election Officer shall be the member secretary of the committee.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Convenor of the Committee Chief District Officer Sushil Ghimire

The main parties alliance has said it will boycott all type of elections to be conducted by what it calls the ‘unconstitutional government.’

Nepal troops earn UN rap for torture

Geneva, Nov 26 -Torture by Nepal’s security forces is widespread and authorities are doing too little to stop it, a UN human rights panel said . The UN Committee Against Torture said it was “gravely concerned about the exceedingly large number of consistent and reliable reports concerning the widespread use of torture and ill treatment by law enforcement personnel,” including the police and army. It also complained about “the absence of measures to ensure an effective protection of all members of society.” The committee, which monitors compliance with an international accord banning torture, earlier this month reviewed a regular report by Nepal which, like other countries, must show what it is doing to abide by the treaty.

The committee also raised concerns about lengthy periods of detention and interrogation techniques that go against international human rights laws. It pointed to “contemptuous non-compliance” by the security forces of court decisions to release detainees. The committee welcomed Nepal’s creation of human rights units within its security forces, but noted that the country needed an independent body that could investigate acts of torture. People also lack protection from reprisals and intimidation if they complain, and the burden of proof lies with victims, it added.
“The committee acknowledges the difficult situation of internal armed conflict” in Nepal, it said, adding that it was also “alarmed by the high incidence of atrocities, including use of torture” by the rebels. “However, it points out that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

Related news

UN Committee Against Torture 1

UN Committee Against Torture 2

Friday, November 25, 2005

JC recommends action against Justice Jha

Kathmandu , Nov 25 - A Judicial Council (JC) committee of Supreme Court justices has recommended action against Justice Parmananda Jha, who ordered the release of a drug smuggler who was serving a jail term.

A member of the committee on condition of anonymity said that the JC has been studying the recommendation, and the report submitted by the committee.

"Discussion is underway on what sort of action can be taken against the concerned justice," he said.

A single bench of Jha, on July 23 this year, had ordered the release of Dil Bahadur Gurung who was in prison for smuggling 669 kilograms of hashish on bail.

Following the SC order, Gurung, who has been in detention for six months in Dillibazaar prison, is in the process of being released.

Gurung was charged with smuggling the hashish to Canada.

The district and appellate courts had found him guilty on the basis of existing evidences.

Gurung then moved the Supreme Court against the district and appellate courts' verdict. The then Chief Justice Hari Prasad Sharma had nominated Jha's single bench for the case.

Jha had issued the order to release Gurung on Rs 900,000 bail within one and half hour of hearing.

The order raised serious controversy in the judiciary, following which Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel studied the concerned file himself.

A few weeks later, he also formed a committee of justices Anup Raj Sharma, Ram Prasad Shrestha and Khil Raj Regmi to study the file and present a report to the JC.

The members informed that the committee came up with the recommendations after about three-months of study.

"The report has stated that the order was questionable as there were sufficient evidences to keep Gurung in detention," the member said. "Law and evidences have not been rightly evaluated. Therefore, action against the guilty justice is recommended," he claimed to have stated in the report.

He also claimed that the report has concluded that the concerned justice can't stay in the position he is occupying.

Justice Jha, however said he had passed the order as per the law. "I don't know what the committee has recommended," he said, adding, "I didn't find any evidence to keep the accused in prison," he added.

Need Law to check violence against women

Kathmandu, Nov 25- Violence against women is rampant in every field of life, but there is no strong legal mechanism to control this multi-dimensional issue. Dipa Pujari is a case in point.According to a case filed at the LACC, Dipa Pujari came to know, right after her marriage with Ravi Pujari of Chapagaon that her husband was a drug addict. Unable to cope with misbehaviour, physical and verbal abuse meted out by her husband and in-laws, she got divorced from her husband two months later.

Dipa KC had to endure extreme violence and negligence because she gave birth to two daughters. She decided to opt for divorce after 14 years of physical and mental torture.

Even if she wins the case and gets compensation, no amount of money will compensate for mental torture that she was subjected to. Dr Shanta Thapaliya, president, Legal Aid and Consultancy Centre , said: “Due to lack of legal provision and sufficient evidence, guilty party goes scot-free.” “We need multi-dimensional programmes to address violence against women.” “Violence against women cannot be controlled without introducing a proper legal mechanism.”

Oman police freed Nepali woman

Kathmandu, Nov 25 - Omani police released the Nepali woman Lili Kumari Bishwakarma, who was detained at Salala prison in Oman on fake charges, her family sources said on Thursday.

"She was found innocent when they took the help of interpreters as she was detained owing to language problems," Lili's maternal uncle PB Diyali said.

Earlier, the police had detained her and jailed her on spurious charges for retaliating against her landlord, whereas her landlord had attempted to rape her

Related news

Nepali woman jailed in Oman on false

Thursday, November 24, 2005

SC Orders Govt to Set Up Juvenile Court

Kathmandu, Nov 24-The Supreme Court today directed the government to set up a separate Juvenile Court in order to decide cases related to juveniles under the Child Rights Act, 1991.
A three-member full bench of justices Ram Nagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma and Gauri Dhakal issued the ruling to the authorities the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Ministries of Women Children and Social Welfare and Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to set up Juvenile Court.

The bench also ordered the authorities to inform the apex court immediately after the execution of today's ruling.“Clause 55 of the Chile Rights Act, 1991 states that the Juvenile Court be set up in order to hear the cases related to children," the bench said. The bench also ordered the Monitoring Unit of the apex court to scrutinize implementation of the verdict.

The SC was responding to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Shantosh Kumar Mahato 10 months ago seeking the apex court ruling to the government to from Juvenile Court to decide the cases related to the juveniles.

Few days before Amnesty Internarional has report that The most fundamental rights of children are being violated routinely, and nowhere is this more apparent than in schools across the country.

Video ( © Amnesty international)
View a slideshow of selected images and messages . ( © Amnesty international)
Election is for popular government: Senior Advocate
Kathmandu, Nov. 24- Senior lawyers have warned that the decision of the political parties not to participate in the upcoming municipal elections would be harmful for the health of the nation giving way to further crisis.The decision would create a sort of hindrance in the process of democratisation of the country, as it was the fundamental right of the citizens to take part in the election, they added. “They urged the political parties to withdraw the decision of not participating in the election.”
Senior advocate Sarbagya Ratna Tuladhar said, “Election should be the demand of the political parties and not that of His Majesty, it would not make any difference to His Majesty even if the elections are not held.” Gorkhapatra reports.
It was unclear why the political parties feared the elections, when they should have demanded for it. They should make the elections their prime agenda, he said.The democratic system would not run smoothly without the people’s representatives. “Hence, the election is the only means to form a popular government,” he said.The political parties did not have any substantial grounds and logic behind not participating in the elections, he said adding, “There was no alternative provisions in our Constitution-1990 to form an elected government except by going to the polls.”Facing and holding the election was the only exit to cope with the present state of crisis, he said.It was political parties’ responsibility to normalize the situation and give the way out, as soon as possible by participating in the upcoming election, he said.
Advocate Balkrishna Neupane said that election was the only medium to protect the present Constitution-1990 and activate its democratic provisions. It is the duty of the political parties to protect and activate the Constitution, he said.“If elections cannot be held on time then things would go out of hand, Neupane said.Advocate Neupane added that the political parties should immediately stop seeking foreigners’ support instead of forgetting and undermining the faith and strength of the people of their own nation.
Advocate Ashok Nath Tiwari said that talking of escaping from the election was against the democratic norms and practices in the multiparty democratic system and it is equal to depriving the people from using their fundamental rights. “To face the election is not only the rights of democratic people but also a great responsibility on their part.”The political parties should face the election to strengthen democracy and to activate the constitution in the present state, he said questioning—those political parties are attacking the backbone of democracy by deciding of not participating in the election, he said.
Advocate Sundarlal Chaudhary said those political parties should not deprive the people of their voting rights in the pretext of not participating in the election, he said.The political parties should not forget and undermine that the election was the only means to choose the people’s representatives, he said.
Working member of the Supreme Court Bar Association advocate Raj Kumar Thapa said that the vacuum was created in the local bodies when the then government of the agitating political parties could not hold the local elections which was initially slated for 2059 BS.

CIAA must work hard -CJ

Kathmandu Nov. 24 Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel has said that the Special Court has been created as conducting hearings on cases related to corruption, a crime committed on the basis of post and prestige, would take time and hence result into a state of impunity.

Chief Justice Poudel was speaking at a discussion programme on˜The Special Court: Aspects of Reforms organised by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs .

Stating that corruption has emerged as a problem not only of Nepal but also of the whole world, he said Nepal has expressed solidarity in the international efforts to get rid of this crime.He added that the Special Court was established in line with the building of a public welfare state.Noting that hearing into cases of similar nature made dispensation of justice speedy and effective, the Chief Justice said that the Special Court was hearing cases related to state offence like corruption as well as cases related to petitions against the decisions of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).

At the programme, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Niranjan Thapa said that the objectives set forth while drafting the Constitution and laws targeted towards the people have been fulfilled with the establishment of the Special Court, and that the Nepali people have got justice.

He said that the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority, the Royal Commission for Corruption Control and the National Vigilance Centre are all bodies established with the purpose of controlling corruption in the country.

He added that judicial bodies like the Special Court established in Nepal are found in all the democratic countries.Minister Thapa said the government was committed to corruption control and expressed the determination of the government for implementing the recommendations and initiatives for finding out the ways of dispensation of justice on these matters prompt and speedy.

Attorney General Pawan Kumar Ojha said that the nature and procedures of a serious crime as corruption has changed, stressing the need for conducting thorough investigations and effective administration of justice on such matters.

Chief Commissioner of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority Surya Nath Upadhyaya said that whether to increase the number of bench or to establish branch courts for speedy dispensation of justice should be mulled.He stressed the need for giving emphasis on preventive measures rather than curative measures to get rid of corruption.

Chairman of the Special Court Govinda Prasad Parajuli said that the present Special Court was established 22 August 2002 and it faced physical hurdles in the initial period.He said that since it takes time for undergoing all the judicial processes like keeping the accused in judicial custody, extending the term of hearing the case and, the provision of six months granted for this purpose was not enough.

At the programme presided over by Supreme Court judge Kedar Prasad Giri, Secretary at the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs
Nepali woman jailed in Oman on false charges

Kathmandu, Nov 24 - A Nepali woman, Lili Kumari Bishwokarma of Maharanijhoda-6, Jhapa, is reported languishing in the Salala prison in Oman after police put her behind the bar on false charges.

Police arrested Bishwokarma for retaliating against her landlord, as the latter had attempted to rape her, according to Bishwokarma's family members.

"She said over the phone that the landlord first attempted to rape her and later filed a spurious case against her," her maternal uncle PB Diyali said, adding, "When contacted, Oman police demanded around 25 thousand rupees."

"She could be freed on bail but we have to follow legal procedures," Diyali said quoting Oman police over phone.

"Though we asked for help from the Nepalese Embassy in Qatar, our request was turned down," he added.

Rajkumar Tamang of Itahari, a representative of Dolphin and The River Overseas had sent her to Oman via Mumbai, said Diyali.

Likewise, seven Nepali women from Sunsari, Dhankuta and Bhojpur are also stranded in Kuwait, according to their relatives.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

SC stays implementation of NGO code of conduct

Kathmandu Nov 23-The Supreme Court Wednesday ordered the government to stay the implementation of the recently introduced code of conduct for non-governmental organisations as well as the ordinance promulgated for an amendment to the Social Welfare Council Act.

Deciding on a writ petition filed jointly by various NGOs including the NGO Federation, a single bench of Justice Parmananda Jha ordered the government not to implement the code of conduct and the ordinance which was issued on July 4 this year.

This implies that the government will not be able to enforce the NGO code at least until next Tuesday. The bench was responding to a writ petition jointly filed by a few NGOs, including the National Concern Society, challenging the code of conduct.NGOs had filed the case against the ‘restrictive’ code of conduct on November 21.

Political parties, several national and international development agencies and human rights groups have already denounced the code of conduct which aims to control the activities of the non-governmental organisations.

However, the government has said the code was enforced to make the NGO sector more dignified and transparent.

AG Ojha blames Kantipur Daily for tampering his views

Kathmandu, Nov. 23- Attorney General Prof. Pawan Kumar Ojha demanded that the ‘Kantipur Daily’ be subjected to action for publishing a report, which had tampered his views that he expressed before the court on Monday.

“The daily needs to be booked for ‘contempt of court’, as it distorted the views I expressed in my pleading that justified the constitutionality of the Royal Commission for Control of Corruption (RCCC),” he told the special bench of the Supreme Court.

The news published in the newspaper was a twisted version of his arguments that was made in course of the hearing on the writ petitions filed at the court challenging the constitutionality of RCCC, he argued. “Media cannot tamper justice.”

Meanwhile, Justice Anup Raj Sharma ruling over the pleading of Ojha assured that the judicial part of the court would never be affected irrespective of what was printed in the media.

NHRC to open contact offices in five districts

Kathmandu Nov 23-The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has said it is going to open contact offices in five districts soon.

Talking to Nepalnews, public relations officer of the NHRC, Bimal Babu Khatri, informed that contact offices are being set up in Jumla, Rolpa and Khotang districts within the next two months in the first phase while similar contact offices would be established in Butwal of Rupandehi and Dhanusha in the second phase.

“Decision to open the contact offices has already been taken and the process will start soon,” he said and informed that the new offices are being opened under the “Outreach Program” which is funded by the European Union and few other donors. “We need to build up our administrative capacity to reach out to different parts of the country for the monitoring of human rights situation,” he said.

Khatri informed that internal homework to establish a regional office in Dhangadi is also underway. “We hope to start works by January 2006,” he informed.

The rights watchdog has regional offices in Biratnagar, Pokhara and Nepalganj.

Court starts taking explanation from Koirala’s PA

Kathmandu, Nov. 23- Former personal assistant of ex-prime minister and president of Nepali Congress Girija Prasad Koirala, Gokarna Paudel, presented himself before the Special Court on Tuesday.

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had charge-sheeted Paudel three months ago for amassing property through illegal means when he worked as the personal assistant (PA) of the ex-prime minister.

The court started taking explanation from him and he has been kept in police custody as the interrogation is yet to be completed.

The Commission has accused him of amassing property equal to Rs. 20.06 million illegally after his the details of his assets, which he presented at the RCCC did not tally.

The Commission has charged Paudel of involving in corruption and earning unnatural property while he was in public post and also found that he had purchased different plots of land in the Kathamndu valley and had bought shares of different banks. The court would start hearing whether to remand him in judicial custody after completing the interrogation.

Nepal Continues to Lay Mines

Washington, Nov 23, Use of antipersonnel mines around the world decreased in 2005, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) said today in its latest annual report on the global landmine problem. The ICBL removed Egypt and Iraq from its list of antipersonnel mine producers, and said that there was virtually no trade in antipersonnel mines across the world.

The 1,053-page "Landmine Monitor Report 2005: Toward a Mine-Free World," the seventh in an annual series, documents compliance with the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, as well as efforts to eradicate antipersonnel mines in all countries. Human Rights Watch is a founding member of the ICBL, which received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, and is one of four ICBL organizations coordinating the Landmine Monitor project.

"The use of landmines around the world has decreased this year," said Steve Goose, director of Human Rights Watch's Arms Division. "But Burma, Nepal and Russia deserve strong condemnation as the governments that continued to lay antipersonnel mines in 2005."

In 2004, those same three countries used antipersonnel mines and there was also strong evidence of use by Georgian troops, though the government denies it.

Today rebel forces, rather than government troops, are the primary users of antipersonnel mines. Rebel forces were reported to have used antipersonnel mines (or mine-like improvised explosive devices) in 13 countries, compared to 16 countries in the previous Landmine Monitor report. Rebel landmine use was especially widespread in Burma, Colombia and Nepal.

Four countries joined the Mine Ban Treaty in the past year, including Ethiopia (a heavily mine-affected nation that used mines as recently as 2000), Bhutan, Latvia and Vanuatu. There are a total of 147 States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty and an additional seven countries that have signed but not yet ratified the treaty. The treaty comprehensively prohibits use, production and transfer of antipersonnel mines; it requires destruction of stockpiled mines in four years and clearance of minefields in 10 years.

Countries that are party to the Mine Ban Treaty have now destroyed 38.3 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines. Yesterday, on November 21, Algeria became the 71st State Party to complete stockpile destruction. Non-signatories to the Mine Ban Treaty hold an estimated 160 million antipersonnel mines in stockpile, including China (estimated 110 million mines), Russia (26.5 million mines) and the United States (10.4 million mines). Earlier this year, Russia for the first time disclosed the number of mines in its stockpile; of the 26.5 million, a total of 23.5 million are subject to destruction by 2015.

Landmine Monitor has removed Egypt and Iraq from its list of antipersonnel producers, dropping the number to 13, a stark contrast to the more than 50 manufacturers in the early 1990s. For the first time, Egypt made a formal statement that it has a moratorium on production, and Iraqi officials confirmed that production facilities were destroyed in 2003 by Coalition bombing. Iraq has made a number of statements in support of banning antipersonnel mines and indicated at the U.N. General Assembly its intention to join the Mine Ban Treaty.

The United States has not produced antipersonnel mines since 1997, but has been developing new mines that appear to be incompatible with the Mine Ban Treaty. The U.S. Department of Defense is due to make a production decision on one such type, Spider, in December. The Pentagon requested a total of US$1.77 billion for research on and production of new landmine systems over the next five years.

The de facto global ban on the trade of antipersonnel mines held tight in 2004 and 2005. Since the mid-1990s, there has been only a very low level of illicit trafficking and unacknowledged trade taking place.

International donors provided a record $399 million for mine clearance and other mine action activities in 2004, an increase of $60 million, or 18 percent, from 2003. Nearly half of the funding went to just three of the 84 mine-affected countries: Afghanistan, Iraq and Cambodia. Well over 135 square kilometers of mine-affected land (equivalent to 14,000 soccer pitches) were cleared in 2004 in 33 countries, destroying about 140,000 antipersonnel mines, 50,000 antivehicle mines, and three million items of unexploded ordnance.

Around the world, the number of reported new casualties due to landmines or unexploded ordnance decreased to 6,521 in 2004, compared with 8,065 in 2003. However, due to significant underreporting in many countries, Landmine Monitor estimates that there are 15,000 to 20,000 new casualties each year. There were new mine casualties reported in 58 countries in 2004, eight fewer than the previous year.

"Landmine Monitor Report 2005" contains information on landmine use, production, trade, stockpiling, demining, casualties and victim assistance in 112 countries. A total of 77 Landmine Monitor researchers in 72 countries contributed to the report. The ICBL will present the report to diplomats attending the week-long Sixth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, which formally opens in Zagreb, Croatia, on November 28.

Summary of Landmine Monitor Report 2005

SC continues hearing on constitutionality of RCCC

Kathmandu, Nov -23 Concluding his argument before the special bench of the Supreme Court, Attorney General Pawan Kumar Ojha has claimed that the apex court has no authority to test the King's action to form the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC).

"The RCCC was formed under the King's prerogative in order to combat rampant corruption in the country; thus the SC has no authority to review of the King's action," he added. Ojha said the King had exercised Article 127 of the Constitution to extend the life of the RCCC, which was formed under the 115(5) of the Constitution with the powers enjoyed during the state of emergency.

"Such an action of the King should be considered under Article 31 of the Constitution, which does not provide power to any court of law to question the action of the monarch," Ojha said. "The parliament has the authority to test the orders issued under the provisions of state of Emergency, and it is not within the jurisdiction of the apex court to review such a decision" he said.

Replying to queries put forth by the justices regarding the King's power to amend the Constitution, Ojha said the King can issue such orders in extra constitutional situations. Talking about the amendment of Constitution in Pakistan by the country's president, Ojha said the Supreme Court of Pakistan had upheld the president's authority to amend the Constitution for the welfare of the people. Why cannot our Monarch have such an authority to set up an anti-graft body, he asked.

He also claimed that the King had set up the anti-graft body in order to activate the 1990 Constitution by combating corruption, a major issue for a country in a crucial situation.
Ojha said that it is a misconception to believe that a non-lawyer cannot provide justice in Nepal, when quasi-judicial bodies are active in providing justice worldwide.

He said there are lawyers in the RCCC who are assisting the top officials appointed by the King and that it was unnecessary to doubt their qualifications. He, however, accepted that the RCCC is not a completely judicial body.

Pleading on the behalf of the government, Ojha's deputy Dorna Raj Regmi also said the King had continued the RCCC under the doctrine of necessity, even after the state of Emergency had been lifted. He said that the RCCC does not replicate the actions of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority. The SC will continue the RCCC hearing coming Sunday.
Related news

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Court issues show cause notice to the government

Kathmandu Nov 22-The Supreme Court on Tuesday has issued a show cause notice to the government in response to a writ petition filed by NGO Federation of Nepal and others challenging the code of conduct for NGOs introduced by the government early this month.A single bench of the apex court comprising Justice Tapa Bahadur Magar issued show cause notice to the government asking the authorities whether an interim order needed to be issued as demanded by the petitioners.The petitioners have demanded that the apex court issue an interim order to the government asking it not to implement the code pending final verdict.The court has also asked defendants in the case—the government authorities—to be present during the hearings slated next Tuesday.Various national and international agencies have flayed the new code saying that it aims at controlling the independent NGO sector in the country.Officials, however, say the code has been introduced with a view to make the NGO sector more responsible and transparent

Without aggrement Nepalese soldiers worked in UN: Foreign Ministry

Kathamndu Nov 22-The Foreign Ministry has said that the government did not make any agreement with the United Nations (UN) while sending Nepali soldiers to the UN peacekeeping mission for the first time, reports said.

In a letter to the Supreme Court, the Foreign Ministry made it clear that there was no agreement between the government and UN while sending Nepali soldiers in 1974 for the first time.

Acting upon a writ petition that sought to publicize the agreement between the government and the UN while sending Nepali soldiers to the UN peacekeeping mission in 1974, the Court has ordered the foreign ministry to furnish details of agreement, Nepal Samacharpatra daily reported.

A writ petition was filed at the Supreme Court four years ago demanding the government to publicize the agreement between Government of Nepal and the UN while deploying Nepali soldiers in UN peacekeeping mission saying the government is cheating soldiers by not giving information about the pay and perks they receive from UN.

The Ministry sent the letter after the SC’s order to take action in the case of defamation of the Court if the ministry refuses to do so.

The foreign Ministry also submitted a copy of letter of Nepal’s permanent representative to United Nations (UN) Madhu Raman Acharya as saying that he could not find the copy of agreement in the UN as well.

The letter further states that the first agreement was signed between Nepal and the UN in 2001 regarding deployment of Nepali soldiers in UN peacekeeping missions.

King's order are constitutional: AG Ojha

Kathamndu Nov 22-At a time when parties are raising questions about the role of constitutional monarchy, Attorney General (AG) Pawan Kumar Ojha said that all the orders issued by the king are constitutional, since he is a devotee of Hindu religion and the constitution has given him special responsibility.

Pleading for the government at the Supreme Court Monday in the case challenging the constitutionality of the controversial Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC), AG Ojha argued, "Since the king formed the RCCC exercising special authority given by the constitution, its constitutionality cannot be questioned."

"The constitution has given special responsibility to the king as a devotee of Hindu religion. He formed the RCCC to fulfill that responsibility," he further argued. "Such orders are implemented as per the constitution and law."

While stating that Article 35 (2) of the present constitution (which makes the advice and consent of the Council of Ministers mandatory for the king to issue any order), functions only when there are peoples' representatives, he argued. "The executive authority now rests with the king as there is no parliament."

He also argued that the king took the step to bring the derailed constitution back on track.

In a query about how the RCCC obtained the powers of a court and whether or not it has been working in the spirit of an adversarial system, AG Ojha argued that the 1990 constitution and laws have not yet discarded the old law, which functioned under the civil law system. "Forest and land-related offices are still functioning like the RCCC under previous laws," he claimed.

He also argued that RCCC was needed as the pressure of work on the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) and the Special Court was very high.

The special bench is examining the constitutionality of the controversial RCCC, formed after February 1 royal takeover of the King to look after corruption related cases.

Ojha was pleading before the special bench of justices Kedar Prasad Giri, Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Ram Nagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma and Ram Prasad Shrestha.

Monday, November 21, 2005

SC continues hearing on constitutionality of RCCC

Kathmandu Nov 21-The Supreme Court continued the hearing regarding the constitutionality of the controversial Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) on Monday.

Defending the legality of the royal commission, Attorney General Pawan Kumar Ojha argued that the formation of the commission during the state of emergency and the order of the King for its continuation after the end of the state of emergency, under the Article 127 of the constitution, was fully constitutional.

He argued that since the royal move of February 1 was aimed at restoring the representative system by holding the elections, the decisions of the King, who exercises the executive power, had constitutional significance.

Ojha told the five-member special SC bench comprising Justices Kedar Prasad Giri, Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Ram Nagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma and Ram Prasad Shrestha that RCCC has till date received nearly 5000 complaints relating to corruption. Of them, many cases have already been finalised while some cases are being investigated.

Hearing on the case will continue on Tuesday as well. The apex court had resumed the hearing on the case on November 13.

Advocates have already pleaded on behalf of a writ petition filed by advocate Santosh Kumar Mahato challenging the constitutionality of RCCC.

The King had constituted the RCCC immediately after his February 1 takeover to investigate corruption cases. The all-powerful anti-graft body has already jailed dozens of corruption suspects including former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

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Hearing on RCCC legality continues

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India introduces ID card system at ‘Chhoti’ transits: Report

Kathmandu Nov 21-India has unilaterally introduced compulsory identity card system for Nepalis entering India through 'Chhoti' transits, a newspaper report said on Monday.

As per the new rule, Nepali nationals have to produce identity card or other documents identifying themselves while entering India from the transit point and inform Indian security officials where they are going and why.

Indian border security forces have appealed to Nepalis residing in the border areas not to enter their territory without specific tasks, the Nepal Samachapatra daily reported.

The new arrangement has affected locals residing in nearly one dozen villages in southeast area of Jhapa district, who visit nearby Indian markets for goods of daily uses.

Indian security officials have said that they introduced such arrangement in a bid to weaken suspected collaboration between Nepali-Indian Maoists.

Nepali authorities, on the other hand, have kept silent over the new development. The report quoted Jhapa chief district officer Kapil Dev Ghimire as saying that he would react to it only after he gets official information about the new system. He, however, admitted that he has heard of tightened security provisions at the transits.

There are more than eight 'Chhoti' transits in this district adjoining India.

Earlier, identity card system was introduced at the Nepalgunj-Rupaudiya transit of Nepal-India border in mutual consent of Nepali and Indian governments.

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500 children killed in conflict: NHRC

Kathmandu, Nov 21-The National Human Rights Commission has said that more than 500 children were killed due to the Maoist insurgency that erupted in 1996.

Speaking at an interaction in the capital on Sunday on the occasion of the 'International Child Rights Day', member of the Commission Sudip Pathak informed that the number was calculated on the basis of human rights monitoring report of 35 districts and complaints filed at different non-governmental organizations working in the field of child rights.

He added that the flaring conflict of the country has affected the child's right to live peacefully.

He informed that the NHRC is issuing a charter at the national level soon with the objective of declaring educational institutions a zone of peace. "We will introduce a charter at the national level within the next two months to declare educational institutions a zone of peace," he added.

He also said that the NHRC would take initiatives to make both the state and the Maoists sign the charter.

Other speakers, on the occasion, also urged the government to enforce its commitments to protect the rights of children.

main while On the occasion of 16th International Child Rights Day here today, the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW) and UNICEF jointly disseminated concluding observations on Nepal’s report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The committee noted several positive developments in terms of legislation, ratification of conventions, and development of national plans. At the same time, it also noted a climate of fear, insecurity and impunity resulting from the armed conflict and the state of emergency which had serious negative physical and psychological impact on the development of children in the country.

Nepal, a State party under article 44 of the convention, submitted its report to the CRC in May 2005, and the committee responded in June with a series of “Concluding Observations”.

Speaking on the occasion, minister Durga Shrestha said despite the government’s effort to create a favourable environment for children’s growth and their development the lack of financial and technical facilities, management skills on part of the government and the ongoing conflict are obstacles in the goal.

She added, “As part of extending services to the children’s sector, the government is gearing up to operate a bench for juvenile justice. Besides, a code of conduct to run the children’s home is in the final stages of preparation.”

Justice failed to learn to advocate : Harihar Dahal

Kathmandu, Nov 21 - Hari Har Dahal, former president of Nepal Bar Association (NBA), on Sunday, accused judges of failing to advocate in favor of people on issues of public concern.

Speaking at an interaction organized by Human Rights and Peace Society (HURPES) in the capital, he also said that the NBA stance remains as intact as before despite the Supreme Court's refusal to issue interim order on the media ordinance. "Justices may have learned more things. But, they failed to learn to advocate in favor of ordinary people," he said.

Nara Hari Acharya, central member of Nepali Congress, said that he was not surprised at all by the decision of the court. Claiming that all three organs of the government are not functioning in accordance with the constitution, Acharya said, "It is not surprising to find those appointed through ordinance refusing to pass their verdict against the ordinance."

Purushottam Dahal, president of HURPES, said the recent verdict of the Supreme Court had degraded its image. Claiming that the court had failed to protect the rights of people, Dahal said, "The recent verdict of the court has degraded its image." He also said that the autocratic nature of the government was clearly exposed through the behavior shown by it in Butwal to foil the mass meeting of CPN-UML.

Shankar Pokharel, central member of CPN-UML, said the movement for absolute democracy alone would guarantee human rights and rights to information in the country. "Though from behind the curtain, attack against media had already begun from Sep 1, 2004." He said.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

New writ against code of conduct

Kathmandu Nov 20-Several NGOs jointly filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court on Sunday demanding an interim order against the implementation of the recently introduced code of conduct that aims at controlling the activities of media.

Eight different NGO umbrella organisations including the NGO Federation Nepal and Dalit NGO Federation filed the case demanding a stay order.

Nine Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on Sunday filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court (SC) against NGO/ INGO related Code of Conduct recently promulgated by the government, saying the code contradicted current Constitution and international covenants, to which Nepal is a signatory.

The writ has also demanded an interim order for annulment of the code, claiming that it hindered the NGO and INGOs to carry out their activities freely in their respective areas.

The NGOs filing petition include the NGO Federation Nepal, Federation of Dalit NGOs, Women's Security Pressure Group, Federation for Community Forest Commuters, National Human Rights Commission, Social Justice Forum Nepal, Federation for Handicapped and Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, among others.

The office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Ministry of Home, Women, Children's Welfare Council and Local Development have all been made defendants in the writ.

On last Thursday also, a writ was filed at the SC against the code of conduct by 10 non-governmental organizations, demanding its immediate annulment.