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.

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