Monday, December 26, 2005

Stay Order on NGO Code Case Continues

Kathmandu Dec 26-The Supreme Court on Monday gave continuity to its order asking the government not to implement the controversial Code of Conduct for the NGOs until it receives written response from the authorities.

The court had ordered the government authorities a month ago not to implement the code and furnish written explanation on why they needed to introduce the code of conduct for the NGOs.
With this ruling, the government can now implement the code from the day it furnishes reply to the court till the day the court gives a final verdict on the case. However, the court has put the case on priority for final hearing.

The Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and the Social Welfare Council are defendants in the case.

Upon conclusion of hearing on a writ petition filed by a number of NGOs including the NGO Federation of Nepal, a special bench of the apex court, comprising Justices Sharada Shrestha, Harijung Sijapati and Tapa Bahadur Magar, decided to continue the interim order delivered by the court last month “as it was yet to receive written response from some of the defendants.”Though the authorities normally submit their written replies within 15 days they have the legal right to submit such replies within 51 days.

On Nov. 23, a single bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Paramananda Jha had ordered the government to stay the implementation of the code of conduct for non-governmental organisations as well as the ordinance promulgated for amending the Social Welfare Council Act.

NGOs had filed the case against the controversial code on November 21.

Political parties, several national and international development agencies and human rights groups have already denounced the code of conduct saying that it 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.

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