Friday, March 31, 2006

Nepal, India renew Transit Treaty

Kathmandu March 31-Nepal and India renewed the Nepal-India Transit Treaty for the next seven years on Friday.

In a press statement, the Ministry of Industries, Commerce and Supplies said the transit treaty has been renewed for another seven years with effect from January 6, 2006.

Accordingly, the Nepal government agreed to permit India to use Nepali land if the latter required it for transporting goods from one part of India to another. The previous transit provisions would allow only Nepal to use the Indian soil for transportation of goods from one part of Nepal to another.

The two governments also agreed to maintain the existing 15 transit points as they are. There were speculations that the Indian government had demanded for reduction of the number of transit points.

According to the new agreement, Nepal has agreed to transport sensitive goods only through certain transit points. Transportation of the goods with the tag ‘sensitive’ by India would only be through seven transit points namely Kakarvitta, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Mahendra Nagar and Birgunj Dry Port connecting Kolkata, in the Indian state of West Bengal.

Other normal goods can be transported through any of the 15 transit points. India had left it to Nepal to name the transit points for the transportation of sensitive goods.

The agreement has made no changes in the provision regarding the transit highway being used by Nepal to connect Bangladesh. Nepal will continue to use the Phulbari and Radhikapur transit highways, connecting Bangladesh and Kakarvitta in the eastern border of Nepal, for trade with Bangladesh and other third countries.

The treaty was renewed after secretary at the Ministry of Industries, Commerce and Supplies, Bharat Bahadur Thapa, of Nepal and commerce secretary of the Government of India, N. N. Menon, exchanged the letters for the renewal of the treaty on Thursday. The treaty had expired on January 6 after which the two governments agreed to extend it for the next three months .

ICJ urges govt not to renew anti-terrorism ordinance

Kathmandu, March 31 - The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has called upon the Nepal government not to renew the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Ordinance (TADO) which is against the country's human rights obligations.

"TADO is fundamentally flawed and should not be renewed. The application of this Ordinance is creating more violence and making the armed conflict more difficult to resolve," said Nicholas Howen, ICJ secretary-general in a statement issued on Friday.

TADO has been re-promulgated every six months since it first came into force in October 2004, replacing the Disruptive (Control and Punishment) Act (TADA) of 2002. The TADO was amended when it was most recently re-promulgated in October 2005.

"If it is considered necessary to have anti-terrorist legislation it should be developed through a democratic legislative process and be in line with Nepal's Constitution and international obligations," said Howen.

It is widely recognised that the TADO provides a semblance of legal cover for human rights violations carried out by the Government including arbitrary detention, violations of fair trial standards and provides immunity for security forces and government officials when they commit violations, the ICJ said.

"By not renewing TADO the government would be giving a sign that it takes seriously the impact of the Ordinance on the people of Nepal," said Howen.

Despite criticism from national and international human rights organisations and the OHCHR the TADO (Article 9), still authorises government officials to preventively detain individuals without charge for up to one year.

Stating that the TADO detainees do not have any access to judicial review and are often held for far longer than the one-year, Howen said, "Under international law administrative detention must remain an exceptional measure, be strictly time-limited and be subject to frequent and regular judicial supervision".

This kind of administrative detention without the right to an effective judicial remedy to challenge the lawfulness of the deprivation of liberty is a clear violation of the Article 9 (4) of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Principle 32 of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, the ICJ said.

"The ICJ is gravely concerned that under Article 15 all cases under TADO should be heard in closed session," said Nicholas Howen. "While international law provides that trials may be held in closed session if necessary to protect national security, the necessity must be assessed by the court in every individual case. The ICJ is also gravely concerned that the TADO erodes the principle of presumption of innocence".

It further said that the TADO provides that government officials cannot be prosecuted for any "work performed in good faith".

"Such a legal immunity clause will perpetuate impunity for human rights violations committed in the course of security operations and will lead to a cycle of human rights violations and further entrench the prevailing culture of impunity within the security forces in Nepal but will also exacerbate the political conflict," ICJ said.

On the Supreme Court's ruling in the case related to the constitutionality of preventative detention article of TADO on March 24, the commission said that the ruling did not assess the compatibility of TADO with international law when reading out the judgement.
"This ruling cannot be used as legal justification for the renewal of TADO," said Nicholas Howen, ICJ Secretary-General.

Infertility no ground for divorce: SC

Kathmandu, March 31-The Supreme Court on thrusday scrapped a provision in the Civil Code 1963 that allows men to seek divorce on account of partners’ infertility.

A three-member bench comprising justices Kedar Prasad Giri, Khil Raj Regmi and Sharada Shrestha held that the provision was discriminatory and violated women’s rights and declared it inconsistent with the Constitution of 1990.

Section 1(1) under Husband and Wife Chapter of the Civil Code 1963 let men seek divorce if a government-recognised medical board affirmed a wife’s inability to conceive.

The bench also issued a directive to the government authorities — Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the House of Representatives, National Assembly, the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and Nepal Law Reform Commission — to promulgate suitable legal provision to overcome the inconsistency.

Accusing the authorities of amending the Civil Code in 2002 with the discriminatory provision, advocates Meera Dhungana and Bishnu Gurung of Forum for Women, Law and Development had filed the petition a year ago.

The petitioners claimed that the provision was discriminatory as it did not allow women to seek divorce if their husbands were impotent. They argued that the provision was a result of the discriminatory and patriarchal thinking of the state authorities.

They claimed that it was against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women 1979 and several other conventions on women’s rights. They also claimed that it was a violation of Article 11 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to equality between men and women.

Hearing on water dispute and Media Ordinance deferred

Kathmandu, March 31-The Supreme Court on thrusday said it will examine the dispute between the locals and a drinking water supply company later. The locals of Ichagunarayan attended the apex court demanding that it issue a stay order against the local water supply company.

A division bench of justices Dilip Kumar Paudel and Top Bahadur Magar said the case will be heard along with the appeal filed by the company, Inchangu Drinking Water, Food and Beverage Pvt Ltd, in the Supreme Court.

The dispute is pending at the Supreme Court after the Patan Appellate Court failed to settle it. Both the parties have approached the apex court.

The locals claim that the company has violated their rights to get drinking water from Panchdhara, the local water source. Stating that it has been operating after acquiring a licence from the government, the company says it also has the right to supply drinking water to its customers.

Same as,The Supreme Court did not conduct a hearing on a Public Interest Litigation, which was filed seeking judicial review on the controversial Media Ordinace, though it had promised to conduct a hearing on the case .

Six months ago, a number of professional organisations and advocates had moved the apex court against the ordinance, which was promulgated to control the media.

Though the Supreme Court had said it will hold a hearing on the litigation, it did not schedule a hearing on the public interest litigationon thrusday.The Media Ordinance will be ineffective from April 4. The Supreme Court had declined to issue a stay order on the case.

“Though the case was on the priority list of the Supreme Court, it did not schedule the case for hearing on thrusday,” said advocate Ravi Raj Bhandari, one of the writ petitioners who had challenged the Media Ordinance.

The Supreme Court, however, had allowed FM radio stations to air news though the ordinance had barred them from doing the same.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Govt to enforce whistleblower law

Kathmandu, March 29 - As a precautionary measure to check corruption and irregularities in public offices, the government is soon to enforce a Whistleblowers Protection Ordinance (WPO).
Speaking at an interaction in the capital on Tuesday, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Niranjan Thapa said the WPO is basically aimed at protecting informants who report any kind of irregularities taking place in government offices.

He said that the government had so far failed to guarantee such informants security of their jobs and pensions against their seniors. "The WPO will help to protect such interests of informants and contribute to promoting good governance by checking irregularities in the country," added Thapa.

Attorney General Laxmi Bahadur Nirala said this kind of legislation was necessitated to establish good governance and strengthening the same, expressing the belief that this would assist in taking action against persons misusing the power given them by the laws and harming the people.He said since it is the Attorney General who has the right to take final decision on proceeding ahead the cases presented in courts on behalf the government, as per the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990, it was necessary to enumerate provision on this topic in the draft of the Bill.

Vice-chairman of Nepal Law Reforms Commission, Udaya Nepali Shrestha expressed the belief that the interaction would be of help in giving suggestions for creating an environment of the rule of law in the country and in formulating laws that are in conformity with the world context.Secretary at the Ministry of General Administration Madhav Prasad Ghimire said the draft of the bill contains provisions regarding the outline of the information provided by the whistleblower, the proper official to who the information has to be given and the kind of procedure to be followed and the protection and the facilities to be provided the whistleblower.

Hari Prasad Neupane, secretary at the Nepal Law Reform Commission (NLRC), said the proposed ordinance mentions confidentiality of information and protection of informants.

He also said that the draft has, among other things, made provisions for rewards to informants and incentives to encourage the reporting of misdeeds to the government authorities concerned.
Claiming that lower level officials often fail to speak about irregularities by their seniors for fear of losing their jobs, Neupane added, "The WPO will embolden officials to speak against any irregularities in their offices."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

SC orders authorities to free Bagale

Kathmandu, March 28 - The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered government authorities to release recently-sacked sub-inspector of police, Hom Bahadur Bagale, from police custody.

Terming Bagale's detention as illegal, a division bench of SC Justices Sharada Prasad Pandit and Arjun Prasad Singh ordered his release Tuesday afternoon.

Police presented Bagale before the Apex Court today following Sunday’s SC order to produce him in person in response to a habeas corpus writ petition filed on his behalf.

The police headquarters dismissed Bagale, a sub-inspector with the Central Police Band, from his post on charges of indiscipline and breaching the police code of conduct, rendering him ineligible for any government in the future and depriving him of the pension for his 21-year service.

However, claiming that he was thrashed, tossed into dirty water and the top of his head was completely shaved off at the Police Headquarters, Bagale, dressed in an SI’s uniform, which was smeared in mud, and with apparent bruises on his body, entered the premises of Kantipur Publications pleading for help on March 21.

Police arrested him from the Publications’ premises while he was briefing journalists how he was “tortured” and “ill-treated” at the Police Headquarters.

Bagale claims that he has been made a victim “for going against senior police officers” which the Police HQ denies.

He also claims to have been arrested and tortured by the Kathmandu District Police Office back in 2002 and says has filed separate torture cases against his seniors at the Patan Appellate Court and the Apex Court.
NBA Chief Barred from Meeting Nepal

Kathmandu, March 28-The administration barred president of the Nepal Bar Association (NBA) Sambhu Thapa and advocate Suwash Newang from meeting CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal this morning.

According to Thapa, they had gone to the Armed Police Detention Centre at Kakani but the forces denied them entry into it stating that there was "an order from above" not to let them meet Nepal.

Organising a press conference in the afternoon, Thapa seriously condemned the government's action. "It is an attack on the rights of the people not to allow lawyers to meet a detainee," he said.

Undemocratic Judges Cannot Protect Constitution: Ex-CJ

Kathmandu, March 28-Former chief justice Kedar Nath Upadhayay said undemocratic judges cannot protect the existing constitution, which has democratic norms and values.

Unless judges with democratic norms, values and independence are appointed, the Constitution cannot be protected, he said, adding sycophant and dependent judges cannot protect judicial independence.The former CJ was speaking at an interaction on Judicial Council's Work and Independent Judiciary organised by the Constitutional Lawyers' Forum (CLAF) here on Monday.

Upadhayay accused the CJ-headed Judicial Council (JC) of committing mistakes while appointing justices in the recent past.

He also suggested the body to regularly monitor judges' performance and investigate into corruption, irregularities and malpractices in the judiciary.

Upadhayay also said the members of the JC are not accountable to anyone for their work and the CJ has been facing public pressure of every wrong decision.

He also suggested adopting new appointment process of judges only after getting approval of the parliament so that they will directly be accountable to the people. Upadhayay, however, said it was not the job of the Nepal Bar Association and the Press to question Supreme Court Justices' performance, as they have been doing regarding several controversial decisions.

He was of the view that appointing ad hoc judges in the apex court was not good in terms of judicial independence and said it might create a situation where decisions may not be impartial due to several factors related with appointment of judges.Retired secretary of the JC, Kashi Raj Dahal, opposed the appointment of ad hoc judges to the apex court which, according to him, may be a factor affecting the independence of the judiciary.
President of the Nepal Bar Association, Shambhu Thapa, accused Law Minister Niranjan Kumar Thapa of trying to interfere in the independent judiciary by appointing royalists.He also said Judge Shambhu Bahadur Khadka's recruitment in the dissolved Royal Commission for Corruption Control is an example of interference in the judicial independence.
Former Law Minister Subash Nembang urged the JC not to appoint any judge who can not protect judicial independence.
Former Attorney General Badri Bahadur Karki suggested measures to correct the mistakes committed by the JC in the past.
Senior advocate Shree Hari Aryal, advocates Madhav Kumar Basnet and Bhimarjun Acharya said the JC should appoint capable and independent judges as per the wish of the Constitution.They also suggested appointment of an NBA representative and not a retired judge to the JC as a member to be appointed by the King.

SC issue show cause to government

Kathmandu, March 28- Responding to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), the Supreme Court today on monday show cause notice to the government authorities demanding reasons why they do not declare torture as a crime.

A single bench of Justice Kalyan Shrestha ordered the government to furnish explanation withing 15 days.

Advocate duo Rajendra Ghimire and Kedar Prasad Dahal had filed a PIL seeking the apex court order to the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet, the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Parliamentary Secretariat and the Law Reform Commission to amend the Compensation Act 1997 to incorporate torture as a crime and make it punishable.

Citing that Nepal has signed international rights laws including United Nations Declaration on Human Rights 1948, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 and Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1984 the petitioner sought government’s endorsement of the provisions to respect the rights of the people by amending the Compensation Act 1997.

Dismissed judge to move SC

Kathmandu, March 28- Recently sacked Syangja District Court judge Chitra Dev Joshi ton monday said he would file a writpetition at the Supreme Court challenging his dismissal.

“I will file a writ petition against the decision,” he said while speaking at an interaction organised by the Constitutional Lawyers’ Forum here today. The Judicial Council (JC) had recommended the King to dismiss Joshi as he had spoken against the King’s February 1 takeover and the proclamation of state of emergency last year. Joshi called the decision to dismiss him unconstitutional. “I had only said everyone should do his job responsibly,” he said.

The JC headed by chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel had recommended Joshi’s sacking for his criticism of the King in public, for going against the judges’ code of conduct and for involvement in irregularities. The JC had also issued him three warnings.

Monday, March 27, 2006

SC admits Sobhraj plea for retrial

Kathmandu, March 27- The Supreme Court has admitted an appeal filed by suspected international serial killer Charles Gurmukh Sobhraj. In the appeal, Sobhraj has challenged his two-year old conviction eight months ago by the Kathmandu District Court and the Patan Appellate Court’s decision that endorsed his conviction.

The Supreme Court on sunday issued a notice to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to attend the hearing of the case, scheduled for April 9.

The order was issued by a division bench of Justices Rajendra Kumar Bhandari and Gauri Dhakal.

A few months ago Sobhraj appealed against the Kathmandu District Court (KDC) verdict that convicted him on August 28, 2004, and which was upheld by the Patan Appellate Court.

An appeal filed by the government challenging the courts’ clean chit to Sobhraj on a fake passport case was also presented in the hearing along with Sobhraj’s appeal.

Based on circumstantial evidence, the lower courts convicted Sobhraj of murdering American backpacker Connie Jo Bronzich in 1975 at Manahara Khola, Sinamangal, Kathmandu. Now the Supreme Court will interpret whether or not a person can be convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence.

In Sunday’s hearing, former Attorney General Badri Bahadur Karki, senior advocate Basanta Ram Bhandari, advocates Ram Bandhu Sharma and Rajaram Dhakal pleaded on behalf of Sobhraj. Karki claimed that the SC should crosscheck the circumstantial evidence, based on which the lower courts convicted him.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

SC order to produce Bagale before court in person

Kathmandu, March 26 - The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered government authorities to produce recently dismissed Sub-Inspector of Police, Hom Bahadur Bagale, in person before the court by 10 a.m. Tuesday March 28.

Acting upon a habeas corpus writ petition filed on behalf of Bagale, a single bench of SC Justice Rajendra Prasad Koirala issued the order Sunday afternoon, reported our correspondent Kiran Chapagain from court premises.

The apex court has also sought a written clarification from the defendants of the case- the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Police Headquarters and the Kathmandu District Police Office- explaining why Bagale has been detained.

Bagale was arrested by police from the premises of Kantipur Piblications on March 21 while briefing journalists about how he was "thrashed, plunged into dirty water and the top of his head forcibly shaved off at the police headquarters" before being handed the termination letter the same day.

Later, officials at the Kathmandu District Police Office (DPO) said Bagale was being investigated under the Public Offence Act for using "abusive language" against the police organisation.

Bagale has also claimed that he was arbitrarily arrested and tortured by his seniors in November 2002 and has been receiving countless of death threats since then. He filed two torture cases against some senior police officers while still in service. The cases are reportedly currently pending at the Patan Appellate Court and the SC separately.

On March 23, the Kathmandu District Court remanded Bagale into 10 days of judicial custody. Officials at the Kathmandu DPO have barred journalists and rights activists from meeting Bagale since he was arrested and kept there.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Judicial Academic Council meet held

Kathmandu, Mar. 25- The second meeting of the National Judicial Academic Council was held here on friday under the chairmanship of Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel.The Chief Justice is the chairman of the council, which is the highest body of the Academy.

It has 13 members including the Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Vice-Chairman of the National Planning Commission.The meeting held discussions on the proposal present on behalf the Academy and also approved the annual policies and programmes of the Academy.

Executive director of the Academy and former judge at the Supreme Court Top Bahadur Singh delivered an address at the meeting.

Try soldiers involved in rights violations in civilian courts: OHCHR

Kathmandu March 25-Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal has demanded to make provision to try soldiers accused of human rights violations in civilian courts.

Speaking at an interaction in Pokhara on Friday, spokesperson for the OHCHR in Nepal, Kiran Doyar, said that such provision would be helpful in reducing the incidents of rights violation from security forces.

He further said, “The OHCHR was established in Nepal with objective of curbing the incidences of human rights violation here and sending the report to the office of the United Nations, and urged journalists and local human right activists for cooperation in this regard.”

“We should make it clear to both the Maoists and the army men that action will be taken against them if they violate rights,” Doyar said.

Doyar quoted the chief of the OHCHR in Nepal, Ian Martin, as saying, “Arbitrary arrest of people taking part in peaceful demonstrations is against the rule of law,” adding, “The Maoists and the Army have not stopped abducting, arresting and disappearing the people in Nepal.”

Habeas corpus petition filed

Kathmandu March 25- A habeas corpus petition was filed on Friday in the Supreme Court seeking its order to release recently sacked sub-inspector Hom Bahadur Bagale, claiming that the Police Headquarters, IGP Shyam Bhakta Thapa and Kathmandu District Police Office have allegedly been involved in detaining Bagale illegally.

Advocate Tikaram Pokhrel filed the petition seeking the SC’s order to the authorities to release him as the authorities “might have been torturing him like in the past.” The petitioner claimed the authorities had tortured him in the past charge him with hiding 27 kg gold.
The petitioner also sought the apex court’s order to produce him before it to test his detention.

Meanwhile, RSS quoted Nepal Police as saying that the ‘propaganda’ spread by Bagale that his head was partially shaved and he was meted out indecent activities are all false.

The Police Headquarters said Bagale was subjected to departmental action as per the Nepal Police Regulations for his ‘irresponsible activities and conduct’.

SC seeks AG’s help on tax case

Kathmandu, March 25- After failing to receive the original case-file on a tax case from the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) despite 12 months of effort, the Supreme Court (SC), a few days ago, sought help from attorney-general Laxmi Bahadur Nirala to help it gain access to the file.

In the past 12 months, the SC had written four letters, urging the IRD to produce the original case-file on businessman Badri Nath Tondon vs Revenue Tribunal Nepalgunj tax case.

“Responding to our request, the attorney-general wrote us back yesterday, saying that he had written to the revenue office to send the file to the apex court,” an SC official said.

“The delay in producing the documents shows how government authorities have been dilly-dallying to act even over Supreme Court orders,” he added, “We had to approach the chief legal adviser of the government to obtain a case file.” The court sought Nirala’s help for making an arrangement to submit the original file of the case to settle the case that has been pending in the SC for a few years. For the fourth time in a period of 12 months, the apex court had ordered the IRD to produce the files, but to no avail.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Supreme Court endorses controversial TADO

Kathmandu, March 24 - In a divided verdict, the Supreme Court ruled that the "controversial" provision in the anti-terrorism law, popularly known as TADO, which allows security forces to detain a person suspected of terrorist activity for one year, is in keeping with the present constitution.

Quashing a writ petition that questioned the constitutionality of the provision on the ground that it was against human rights, Justices Khil Raj Sharma and Gauri Dhakal said, "The provision is in tune with the constitution as even the Public Security Act promulgated by parliament entertains preventive detentions by the authorities."

However, Justice Bal Ram KC, writing a dissenting opinion, said, "The provision contravenes the constitution." TADO, acording to KC, is a penal law but the provision in question is preventive law. "Preventive law cannot be incorporated in penal law," he said reading out his opinion.

Justice KC further added that if the provision were not declared contradictory to the constitution, the state could both prosecute and keep citizens in preventive detention at the same time.

The provision in the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Ordinance, 2005 has drawn flak from national and international human rights organizations, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists. They say the provision does not conform to national and international human rights instruments. The court passed the divided verdict in reply to a writ petition filed by advocates Raju Prasad Chapagain and Prakashmani Sharma of Pro-Public, an NGO.

HM appoints Appellate Court Judges

Kathmandu, Mar. 24- His Majesty the King has, in accordance with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990 and on the recommendation of the Judicial Council, appointed different individuals to the post of Judge of the Appellate Courts in various districts and also installed them to their posts.

According to a notice issued ton thrusday by the Press Secretariat of His Majesty the King, District Court Judge at the Chitwan District Court, Bhola Prasad Kharel has been appointed judge at the Appellate Court, Janakpur; District Court Judge at the Kathmandu District Court Om Prakash Mishra has been appointed the Judge at the Appellate Court, Biratnagar; District Court Judge at the Parsa District Court Jagdish Sharma Poudel has been appointed the Judge at the Appellate Court, Patan; and District Court Judge at the Dhanusha District Court Ek Raj Acharya has been appointed Judge at the Appellate Court, Ilam.

Similarly, Judge at the Kavrepalanchowk District Court, Devendra Gopal Shrestha has been appointed Judge at the Appellate Court, Surkhet; District Court Judge at the Sarlahi District Court, Shanti Raj Subedi the Judge at the Appellate Court, Rajbiraj; Additional District Judge at the Dhanusha District Court, Balram

Bista, Judge at the Appellate Court, Surkhet; Additional District Court Judge at the Kavrepalanchok District Court, Devendra Raj Sharma, Judge at the Appellate Court, Pokhara; District Court Judge at the Saptari District Court, Madhav Prasad Chalise, Judge at the Appellate Court, Patan; District Court Judge at the Lalitpur District Court, Janardan Bahadur Khadka, Judge at the Appellate Court, Patan; District Court Judge at the Sunsari District Court, Phanindra Datta Sharma, Judge at the Appellate Court, Dhankuta; District Court Judge at the Siraha District Court, Deepak Kumar Karki, Judge a the Appellate Court, Biratnagar; and Additional District Court Judge at the Kathmandu District Court, Dr. Hari Bansha Tripathi, Judge at the Appellate Court, Janakpur.

Likewise, Additional District Court Judge at the Nawalparasi District Court, Tej Bahadur K.C. has been appointed the Judge at the Appellate Court, Jumla; District Court Judge at the Morang District Court, Thakur Prasad Sharma, Judge at the Appellate Court, Pokhara; Additional District Court Judge at the Kathmandu District Court, Kedar Prasad Chalise, Judge at the Appellate Court, Biratnagar; Additional District Court Judge at the Sunsari District Court, Purushottam Bhandari, Judge at the Appellate Court, Ilam; District Court Judge at the Rupandehi District Court, Surendra Bir Singh Basnyat, Judge at the Appellate Court, Biratnagar; District Court Judge at the Terhathum District Court Dinesh Kumar Karki, Judge at the Appellate Court, Janakpur; District Court Judge at the Kaski District Court, Shambhu Bahadur Khadka, Judge at the Appellate Court, Patan; and Additional District Court Judge at the Siraha District Court Giri Raj Poudel, Judge at the Appellate Court, Janakpur.

In like manner, Additional District Court Judge at the Kathmandu District Court, Tej Bahadur K.C. has been appointed and installed to the post of Judge at the Appellate Court, Rajbiraj; District Court Judge at the Kapilbastu District Court, Sarada Prasad Ghimire, Judge at the Appellate Court, Janakpur; District Court Judge at the Dhading District Court, Posh Nath Sharma, Judge at the Appellate Court, Hetauda; Additional District Court Judge at the Bhaktapur District Court Meera Khadka, Judge at the Appellate Court, Hetauda; District Court Judge at the Arghakhanchi District Court, Bam Kumar Shrestha, Judge at the Appellate Court, Butwal; and District Court Judge at the Bara District Court Dambar Kumar Shahi, Judge at the Appellate Court, Mahendranagar.

According to the Press Secretariat of His Majesty the King, Additional District Court Judge at the Kathmandu District Court Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha has been appointed and installed to the post of Judge at the Appellate Court, Baglung; Additional District Court Judge at the Chitwan District Court, Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada, Judge at the Appellate Court, Baglung; Additional District Court Judge at the Kapilbastu District Court Dr. Ananda Mohan Bhattarai, Judge at the Appellate Court, Jumla; and Registrar at the Appellate Court, Hetauda Nirmal Kumar Dhungana, Judge at the Appellate Court Rajbiraj.

Meanwhile, His Majesty the King has, in accordance with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990 and on the recommendation of the Judicial Council, appointed Judge at the Jhapa District Court Tanka Bahadur Moktan as the Additional Judge of the Appellate Court, Hetauda for two year term and also installed him to the post.

This is stated in a notice issued today by the Press Secretariat of His Majesty the King.

SC orders NSP-A leader’s release

Kathmandu March 24 - The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday ordered the government authorities to release Hridayesh Tripathi, general secretary of Nepal Sadhbhawana Party-Anandidevi (NSP-A).

The order was issued by a special bench of Justices Gauri Dhakal and Rajendra Koirala saying that the authorities did not have valid evidences for his detention.

Tripathi had been kept in police custody over the past two months.

Court remands sacked cop Bagale

Kathmandu, March 24 - The District Court Kathmandu has remanded recently dismissed sub-inspector of police Hom Bahadur Bagale into 10 days of judicial custody, police said. He was arrested from the Kantipur Complex onTuesday.

Kesh Bahadur Shahi, superintendent of police at Kathmandu District Police Office (KDPO), said Thursday that Bagale was undergoing investigation under the Public Offence Act for using "abusive language" against the police organization.

Meanwhile, police produced a barber from Handsome Hair Dresser, who claimed that he had shaved Bagale's head for Rs 10 before the latter went to Police Headquarters. However, Bagale, who was also presented, challenged the claim saying that he was abused at Police HQ and half his head forcibly shaved. Fourteen human rights organizations have condemned KDPO's refusal of their request to meet Bagale, saying it was a breach of their right to investigate rights abuses. Issuing a joint press statement today, they demanded an independent probe into the affair and a meeting with the detainee.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

SC Upholds Terrorist Tag on Maoists

Kathmandu, March 23-The Supreme Court today upheld the government’s two-and-a-half-year-old decision to tag CPN-Maoist as a terrorist organisation and ban them. A three-member full bench of the Supreme Court judges Khil Raj Regmi, Badri Kumar Basnet and Gauri Dhakal pronounced the judgment stating that the writ petitioner who moved the SC could not produce sufficient evidence to prove that the CPN-Maoist was a political organization enjoying constitutional recognition.

Meanwhile, a separate three-member full bench of judges Khil Raj Regmi, Bal Ram KC and Gauri Dhakal upheld the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Ordinance 2005. Section 9 of the DATO authorises the government to put anyone in preventive detention up to a year. However, judge KC issued dissenting opinion. He said that section 9 contradicts with the 1990 Constitution.

Judicial Council Secretary Dahal retires

Kathmandu, Mar 23- Secretary at the Judicial Council Kashiraj Dahal has been given retirement from his post as his five-year-term ends Thursday. Dahal, who served in the public service for the last 25 years, had been working as the secretary of the Council since 2057 B S.

There are several issues to be reformed in the judicial sector, including the appointment of judges to maintain dignity of the independent judiciary, Dahal said in a press statement issued during his farewell Wednesday.

The rights of the citizens would be curtailed and institutional progress would be halted if the process of appointing judges was neglected, but there always exists the possibility of correction in the field of politics when it takes a wrong path, he said.

The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, settlement of the cases, simplification of the judicial procedures ands management of the pleading and prosecuting system were some of the issues to be reformed in the field of judiciary, he said.

SAFTA fully into force as formalities get complete

Kathmandu, March 23- The SAARC Secretariat on wednesday issued a notification announcing the formal enforcement of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) Agreement with effect from January 1, 2006, says a press release issued by the SAARC Secretariat today. The Agreement on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) was signed at Islamabad during the 12th SAARC Summit on January 6, 2004. As required under the SAFTA Agreement, the SAARC Secretariat has to issue a formal notification regarding its coming into force bycertifying that all formalities including ratification have been completed by the member states.

All the member states have since completed the formalities including depositing of their Instruments of Ratification with the Secretariat. The entry into force of the Agreement thus launches the South Asian Free Trade Area, which would be completed by January 1, 2016. The first round of customs duty reduction would take place as agreed by the member states in July/August 2006.

The press release further states that the twelfth meeting of the Committee of Experts (CoE) on SAFTA held at the SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu on November 20 to December 1, 2005, successfully concluded the negotiations on the issues like Sensitive lists, Rules of Origin, Mechanism for Compensation of Revenue Loss for LDC member states like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal, in the event of revenue loss resulting from lowering of customs tariffs in terms of the Agreement and technical assistance to the LDC member states.

It is said that the sensitive lists of products that would be temporarily exempt from reduction in customs tariffs to be applied across the board for all other products. And Rules of Origin specifying the conditions that would have to be met by products to qualify for application of reduced customs tariffs on export to another SAARC member state. Under the Article 7, Trade Liberalisation Programme (TLP) in the first phase, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka would bring down their customs tariff to 20 per cent by January 01, 2008. As far as the LDC member states (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal) are concerned, they would reduce their customs tariff to 30 per cent. It has also been agreed by the CoE that the first tariff reduction would be effected on July01, 2006 by all member states with the exception of Nepal which would do so on August 01, 2006. It is said that India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka would bring their customs tariff down to the level of 0-5 per cent for the export products of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal by January 01, 2009.

However, Bangladesh Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal are required to do so by January 01, 2016.With the enforcement of the Agreement, the SAFTA Ministerial Council (SMC) and the SAFTA Committees of Experts (CoE) have also been established under Article X of the Agreement. The SMC is the highest decision making body and is responsible for implementation of Agreement. It consists of Commerce/Trade Ministers of the member states and is required to meet at least once annually or more often as and when considered necessary. The CoE consisting of one nominee from each member state at the level of senior economic official is to support the SMC and monitor, review and facilitate implementation of the Agreement.

The CoE is to meet once in every six months or more often as necessary. The meeting of the SMC is scheduled to be held in Dhaka on April 20, 2006 preceded by the first CoE meeting on April 18-19, according to the press release.

SC show cause in KTV case

Kathmandu, March 23 - The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the government to furnish a written reply why it continues to deny permission to Kantipur Television Network (KTV) to use satellite link between the broadcaster's station in Kathmandu and eight regional relay stations.

The apex court also ordered the court administration to give priority to the KTV case and has fixed May 1 as the date for the final hearing.

Justice Rajendra Kumar Bhandari issued the order in response to a writ petition filed by KTV's managing director Ganesh Agrawal. Legal advisor for KTV Ram Krishna Nirala and advocate Madhav Kumar Basnet pleaded on behalf of Kantipur Television.

Agrawal moved the court after the government cancelled permission KTV had already received to use Television Receive Only (TVRO) equipment to link its Master Control Room in Kathmandu to the regional relay station in Dhankuta (Bhedetar). At the time of cancellation, KTV had already installed all needed equipment with due permission received from the government before February 1, 2005.
Human rights of widows launched

Kathmandu, March 23-Women for Human Rights (WHR) on Wednesday launched a south-Asian network to uphold the human rights of widows.

South Asian Network for Widows’ Empowerment in Development (SANWED) with its secretariat in Kathmandu is set to encourage consortiums of widow’s groups to be set up in the other regions of the world where widows face problems.

“SANWED is a Network for Widows’ we have initiated which we believe should include all the countries of the world,” said Lily Thapa, Chairperson of WHR and Convener of SANWED.

With a mission to enable widows to become collective agents of change in the South Asian region by bringing together different National Chapters of SANWED, the programme brought together representatives of lone women groups from around south Asia.

On the occasion, various speakers spoke on the dramatic increase of widows in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East over the last decade and called for a world where all widows enjoy their full human rights and live with dignity.

“Widows are wrongly considered to be feeble and week, there is a lot they can do when they unite and are conscious about their status and rights,” Margaret Owen of the Widows for Peace through Democracy said.

Owen also highlighted on the difficulties faced by the widows and on the importance of this movement to take care of various conflicts raised by the ill treatment received by the widows around the world.

Mainwhile ,Violence Against Women (VAW) is the human rights issue, which needs to be addressed through legislation and overcoming the deep-seated attitude towards VAW, said speakers at the talk programme on ‘Women and Conflict’ organised by Amnesty International (AI) .

Speaking at the programme Purna Sen, director of Asia-Pacific Programme, AI International Secretariat, said: “Apart from usual concerns of killings during the conflict, the issues of sexual violence should also be addressed.”

Sexual violence during the war and armed conflict is not a new phenomenon, she said. “The AI launched a global campaign in 2004 against VAW. Long-term plans are needed to change, challenge and stop violence against women. Change in attitude, social transformation and change in law is also required,” she said.

Kate Allen, director of the AI UK Section, said: “VAW is not something that is happening only in Nepal.”

“The AI, which will soon come up with a report on the situation of women in Nepal, will help find the way to tackle the issue,” she said, adding that women, who have been fighting the battle against VAW for many years, need the support of men.

Dr Shanta Thapaliya, president of the Legal Aid and Consultancy Centre, said: “Though the constitution guarantees the right to equality, and laws provides security to women, women still do not have access to justice.”

Lawyers meet Home Minister

Kathmandu, March 23- The government will continue to provide funds to the judiciary even if it does not support the government, a lawyer quoted Home Minister Kamal Thapa as saying on wednesday.

“Though the government had refused to allocate funds demanded by the Supreme Court for the purpose of celebrating the golden jubilee of the apex court, we have recently told the officials that we will ‘review’ our decision. We are ready to provide a certain amount for the purpose,” advocate Basu Sharma quoted Thapa as saying.

Thapa was talking to some lawyers considered loyal to the royal palace in his office in Singhadurbar.

The lawyers, including Bishnu Bhattarai, Laxman Karki, Rajiv Banstola, Dharma Raj Regmi, Ravi Hada, Dev Raj Katuwal, Raj Kumar Thapa, Basudev Sharma, called on the government to appoint them as judges and legal advisers in government-owned corporations. Thapa also talked with them on the verdict, which disbanded the controversial Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC).

“We first refused to provide funds for the golden jubilee celebrations because they had demanded a huge sum for the purpose. Later, we said we are ready to provide certain amount for the purpose,” Sharma quoted Thapa as saying.

During the meeting, we told Thapa that the government shying away from supporting the judiciary will mean that the King, as the head of the cabinet, is not helping the courts,” said another lawyer Laxman Karki.

“We also suggested him not to give any impression that the government is not cooperating with the court,” Karki said.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Writ on women's property right

Kathmandu, March 22-A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court on tuesday seeking its order to scrap a provision in the Civil Code of 1963 relating to women’s property right.

Advocate Meera Dhungana filed the PIL representing the Forum for Women, Law and Development. In the petition, she has claimed that Section 7 of the Women’s Property Chapter is unconstitutional and bars women from using their property as per their wish. The petitioner claimed that this is against the principle of equality.

The section bars a woman from giving her property to the persons of her choice and to marry with the same person later. If she does so, her property is returned to her concerned relatives.

The Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet, the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Upper House of Parliament and Law Reform Commission have been made defendants in the petition. The petitioner sought the apex court order to the authorities not to bar women from using their property as per their wish.

AG's new strategy to strengthen govt cases

Kathmandu, March 22- Now on, no government authority will execute any work related to any court of law without the consent of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). The recently prepared strategy to defend government authorities is expected to make their cases stronger.“Now on, no government authority can submit any reply in court without consulting us,” Attorney General Laxmi Bahadur Nirala told the himalaya times reports.

Previously these authorities used to submit their clarifications in courts and ask OAG lawyers to defend the cases.

“The government authorities were working in a wrong manner,” Nirala said, adding: “Now consultation with the OAG will be compulsory before they submit replies to any court of law.”

Nirala said he has discussed the matter with ministers and secretaries and the government authorities concerned have agreed to strictly implement the new strategy.

“Any reply by any government authority to any court of law would be forwarded only after the consent of government lawyers,” he said.Nirala said this was the first time the OAG had devised such a strategy to strengthen the government’s cases in the courts. Currently, the government is “losing about 80 per cent of the cases.” “This happens because we cannot defend the government properly,” he said.

“We are the defenders of the government in the court and why should any reply on behalf of the government to any court not be furnished as per our wish,” he added.

“We want this arrangement to be strictly followed because we are the final authority to decide whether or not to prosecute any case and how to defend the government,” he added.

“If a client can immediately consult a lawyer after a case is filed against him, why can’t we, as the consulting lawyers of the government, get the information regarding any complaint filed against any government authority at any court?” Nirala asked.

He also urged the government to promulgate a separate Act to make the government lawyers’ service more effective and different from other civil servants.

“The service condition should be separated from the government service and government attorneys should be provided with more incentives,” Nirala added. “I have already held discussions with government authorities regarding promulgation of a law in this regard and also talked with the chairman and members of the Public Service Commission in this regard,” he added.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

SC order Govt to Follow Consumer Protection Act

Kathmandu, March 21- The Supreme Court on Monday issued a mandamus order to the government to strictly follow the Consumer Protection Act, 1998 while taking action against anyone even if he/she is involved in illegal activities.

"Legal provisions must be followed while taking action against anyone. Prosecute anyone after taking advice from the government attorney," a division bench of Justices Khil Raj Regmi and Gauri Dhakal ordered the government authorities. The bench was acting on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Jyoti Baniya against the government authorities two years ago.

The apex court ordered the authorities to produce any case to a concerned district court if anyone violates the Act but not decide any case like a court of law.

The petitioner moved the apex court seeking its order to the Prime Minister's Office and Cabinet, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Department of Commerce (DoC) claiming that the DoC had illegally taken action against hundreds of businessmen violating the Act.

He said the DoC had taken action against 2184 businessmen in 2002 and more than 2000 in 2003 without producing them before any court of law. According to the petitioner, the DoC had imposed up to Rs 75,000 fine on each of them accusing them of violating the Act. The petitioner accused the authorities of taking action against hundreds of businessmen accusing them of their irregularities in business.

Clean chit to ex-NOC GM

Kathmandu, March 21-The Supreme Court on monday gave clean chit to former General Manager of the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), Madan Raj Sharma, and some former members of the corporation’s board of directors and businessmen.

Following a hearing on a nine-year-old corruption case, a division bench of Justices Anup Raj Sharma and Rajendra Prasad Koirala issued the clean chits to former member of the board of directors, Dilip Kumar Singh, Bishwo Nath Prasad Shah, Nilam KC, Rajendra Gupta, and businessmen Bishnu Prasad Bhetwal, Bhisma Bimali, Jagat Bahadur Karki, Lokmaya Karki and advocate Rama Prasad Singh.

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed the corruption case against them accusing them of being involved in corruption while purchasing a peace of land for the NOC’s Jhapa branch. The CIAA accused them of amassing Rs 1.6 million.
The CIAA had appealed at the Supreme Court after the Patan Appellate Court issued clean chits to them seven years ago.

Mainwhile The Special Court on Monday sent former assistant manager of the Rastriya Banijya Bank in Doti, Kailash Prasad Shrestha, to jail for proceeding a corruption case against him.

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has accused him of amassing Rs 4.4 million. He allegedly withdrew thousands of rupees from customers' accounts. Government joint attorney Yuba Raj Subedi said he confessed his crime to the CIAA but while recording his statement in the Special Court he denied his involvement in corruption.

Monday, March 20, 2006

SC to invite King for Golden Jubilee Celebration

Kathmandu, March 20:The Supreme Court Golden Jubilee Celebrations committee today decided to invite King Gyanendra to participate in the concluding session of the three-day fete on May 20-22.

“We have decided to invite the King to grace the reception on the concluding day but we will reschedule programme if the King is interested to address the session,” a member of the Committee Dhruba Nath Pant said.

“We cannot decide whether the King is ready to address the session, an important function in the history of the Supreme Court, so we will wait for a response from the King,” Pant, also the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, said.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Police to summon CIAA chief

Kathmandu, March 19 - The Kathmandu District Police Office (KDPO) has issued a letter to the chief of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Surya Nath Upadhyay relating to a citizenship scandal.

Four days after receiving orders from the government Attorney's Office to record Upadhyay's statement as per the Citizenship Act, the KDPO issued the letter on Friday.

Upadhyay was implicated in a forgery scandal when it was revealed that he had recommended a citizenship certificate for Lok Bahadur Bohara of Ramechhap district, who had produced false details in 1985, when Upadhyay was acting secretary at the Ministry of Water Resources.

Meanwhile, Bohara and Bed Bahadur Karki, who had allegedly helped produce fraudulent documents to get the citizenship, were released on Friday.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

King sacks three judges

Kathmandu , March 19 - King Gyanendra on Friday sacked three district judges on charges of "incompetence." The three are Ganesh Panjiyar, Chitra Dev Joshi and Kedar Pyakurel. According to sources, the king took the action against the judges as per the recommendation of the Judicial Council (JC). JC sources said that they were found incompetent while passing verdicts in different cases. But a source told that Judge Joshi was removed from his post for a "political speech" publicly criticizing the king's rule last year.

Writ filed to criminalise 'torture'

Kathmandu, March 18-A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the SC on friday seeking its order to government authorities to declare torture as a crime and make it punishable.

Advocates Rajendra Ghimire and Kedar Prasad Dahal filed the PIL seeking the court order to the PMO and Cabinet, the Ministry of Law to amend the Compensation Act 1997 to include torture as a crime.

Citing that Nepal is a signatory party to international laws, including UN Declaration on Human Rights 1948, International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights 1966 and Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1984, they sought endorsement of the provisions.

In the context that UN special rapporteur, Prof Manfred Nowak, reported that security forces have been involved in torturing people, the two asked why such cruelties have not been declared illegal.

“Torture, a serious crime, should be prohibited and perpetrators punished by endorsing rights conventions in our domestic Act,” the petitioners added.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Government issuing competition law

Kathmandu March 17-The government is issuing an ordinance on competition to create ‘fair and healthy’ competition in the economy.

Speaking at a programme in the capital on Thursday, commerce secretary Bharat Bahadur Thapa disclosed that the government is issuing the ordinance as the status of competition was poor in the country, according to reports.

“The draft of the ordinance is being finalized and the government is mulling to bring it into effect as soon as possible,” he said.

Thapa said that in the context of increased importance of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and market economy, a competition law would be an effective instrument to boost ‘free and fair’ business and economic activities.

Speaking at the same programme, Dr Posh Raj Pandey, president of South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), stressed on the need of a competition law to bring the private sector on the right track and discourage distortions in the market. Dr Pandey hoped that the competition law would promote competitive culture in the economy and consumers will benefit to a great extend.

Chandi Raj Dhakal, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), said that there is an increasing need for a competition law in Nepal at a time when there are already laws and acts related to securities, secure transactions and insolvency, following Nepal’s accession to the WTO.

“The competition law currently being finalized, among others, must also encourage restructuring of industries and incorporate provisions that enable them to gain an competitive edge and to take benefits of global market access,” Dhakal added.

Advocate Tika Ram Bhattarai, executive member of Nepal Bar Association (NBA) informed that about 100 countries already have competition laws. Even India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have formulated competition laws.

”The competition law is needed for a free market and healthy competition, to develop competitive culture and ensure rights of consumers for consumption of goods they prefer,” Bhattarai added.

Writ against FENAJ

Kathmandu March 17- A writ petition was produced in the Supreme Court on Thursday, seeking its order to declare invalid the recently-concluded convention of the Federation of National Journalists (FENAJ), but the SC administration said it will decide whether or not to register the petition on Friday.
Members of the FENAJ, Shreeram Singh and Ramchandra Basnet, had filed the petition, seeking the apex court order to the Ministry of Information, Election Committee and newly-elected leadership under Nirodh Raj Pandey to declare the election to the body invalid.

Mainwhile ,The Supreme Courton thrusday said it would issue a verdict on March 23 on whether the government’s two-year-old decision to label the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist a terrorist organisation was a constitutional move.

A three-member full bench of Justices Khil Raj Regmi, Badri Kumar Basnet and Gauri Dhakal today scheduled the date to issue the verdict following today’s final hearing on the petition filed by one Taranath Ghimere, seeking the apex court’s order to scrap the decision.

A single bench of the Supreme Court had earlier responded on the peition saying the issue was related with Article 113 of the Constitution that guaranteed existence of political party and that there was a need to interpret the Constitution on the context of the government’s decision of tagging Maoists as a terrorists’ organisation.

Since then the case is being examined by the three-member justices.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

SC order makes two NC-D leaders released

Kathmandu March 16-The authorities released two Nepali Congress-Democratic (NC-D) leaders following the Supreme Court (SC)’s order on Thursday.

Acting upon a writ petition filed at the SC, a division bench of Justices Paramananda Jha and Pawan Kumar Ojha ordered for the release of Pradeep Giri and Bimilandra Nidhi terming their detention as illegal, according to reports.

They were detained at the Royal Nepalese Army’s Kharipati Barrack in Bhaktapur since January 19, one day before the proposed mass meeting of the seven political parties.

Talking to journalists upon their release, the leaders said that there is no other alternative than to intensify the peaceful agitation of the seven political parties to restore democracy in the country.

Government attorney directs to initiate investigation against CIAA chief

Kathmandu March 16-The government attorney on Wednesday directed the police to initiate investigation against the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) chief Surya Nath Upadhyay on the citizenship scandal.

The attorney office has asked the police to record Upadhyay’s statement on the case. A directive to this effect was issued after it received the file from the police without any action being taken. Prior to this, police had to compulsorily interrogate those who recommended forgery cases before submitting the files in the court.

Upadhyay was implicated in the forgery scandal when it was revealed that he had recommended the citizenship for Ramechhap dweller Lok Bahadur Bohara who had submitted false details in 1993. He was then a water resource secretary and not a legal person to recommend.

"We knew this was going to happen. How can the government attorney begin the hearing when the defaulter is not made the opposition in court?" asked an official at the Kathmandu District Police office.

"The petition came mysteriously, more time was given and the file was submitted without investigation," the official added.

Meanwhile, police have misplaced the original application submitted to the Kathmandu District Administration Office (DAO) by victim Tirtha Bahadur Bohara.

The latter had requested the DAO to cancel the citizenship. Police mentioned in the file submitted today to the government attorney that the original application was missing due to some error.

The government attorney office has directed the police to investigate lapses and punish the culprits responsible for misplacing the original documents.

In the name of investigation, police had taken 23 days and detained two persons after seeking order from the government attorney.

Related News

Laws are Instruments of Democracy: Russian CJ

Kathmandu, March 16: The visiting Russian Chief Justice V M Lebedev on Wednesday urged Supreme Court justices to use laws as instruments of democracy."He said international laws should get due importance in the national context as the world has became a global village," SC officiating registrar Dr Ram Krishna Timalsena said following a meeting of Lebedev with the justices of the Supreme Court.

Lebedev held talks with Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and justices Kedar Prasad Giri and Min Bahadur Rayamajhi. Later, he held a collective meeting with all the justices of the Supreme Court where he delivered a lecture on the use the laws for democratic process. The second meet was open to government media but the private media was kept out of it.

Earlier today, His Majesty King Gyanendra gave an audience to visiting Chief Justice of the Russian Federation, V.M. Lebedev, in Pokhara on Wednesday.

The King gave audience to Lebedev at Ratna Mandir, Pokhara, where he, along with Queen Komal, has been staying for the last couple of weeks as part of his informal visit to the Western Region.

Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel was also present during the royal audience, reports said.

Lebedev arrived in Kathmandu on Tuesday on a four-day friendly tour. He is the first Chief Justice of any European nation to visit Nepal, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After his return from Pokhara, Lebedev paid a study visit to the Supreme Court.

Timalsena quoted the Russian Chief Justice as saying that Russia gives priority to implement international laws if they ever contradicted with the domestic laws.

In his meeting with Lebedev, CJ poudel is learnt to have told the visiting official that the Supreme Court has played a vital role in protecting the rights of the citizens.

Lebedev said his visit to Nepal has set a new trend in the judicial relations between Russia and Nepal. "Russian judiciary has got a new experience and we will invite Nepal's Chief Justice to Russia to share our legal practice," Timalsena quoted Lebedev as saying.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

MoF approves SC's demand of golden jubilee celebration fund

Kathmandu March 15-The Ministry of Finance (MoF) gave a positive node to the Supreme Court (SC) to allocate Rs 8 million for celebrating the golden jubilee of the establishment of the apex court.

Earlier the Ministry had rejected the Supreme Court’s demand to allocate the money citing financial crunch.

According to reports, the ministry told the apex court recently that it would ‘review’ its previous decision and was ready to allocate a part of the desired amount for the purpose.

“The officials told us that the ministry would review its previous decision,” The Himalayan Times daily quoted officiating registrar of the SC, Dr Ram Krishna Timalsena, as saying. “It wants us to forward our demand in writing again,” he added.

The paper quoted another source of the Supreme Court as saying that the ministry had told the SC to use Rs 4 million from its own budget as ‘contingency amount’ and seek Rs 2 million from the ministry in writing again.

“The ministry has allowed us to use our contingency budget saying it would clear the amount later,” the source added.

The source said after the ministry rejected the apex court’s demand, the SC had cancelled its plan to invite Chief Justices of SAARC countries for the occasion.

Related news

Hosting Russian CJ may cost a milllion

Kathmandu, March 15- Consider this itinerary: Day one Arrival and visit to Swoyambhunath Stupa. Day two - visit to Bhaktapur Nagarkot and Hanuman Dhoka, Day three: Visit to Lalitpur District Court and Patan Appellate Court, Patan Durbar Square and the Supreme Court and visit to the Royal Palace for royal audience. Day four : Meeting with Speaker Tara Nath Ranabhat and finally departure.
The itinerary appears more that of a tourist than of any important state guest. But that's actually the complete itinerary of visiting Russian Chief Justice Vyacheslav M Lebedev and his team of four. This is the first time that a chief justice of any friendly country has come to Nepal on an "official courtesy visit". It should be an occassion for people in the judiciary. Instead, many of them are asking: what is the substance or symbolism of the visit that will cost Nepali taxpayers about a million rupees? kathmandu post writes.

Interestingly, the itinerary does not include any meeting with office-bearers of Nepal Bar Association, though such a body is part of the judicial system in any country.

"How can we term the visit as aimed at understanding our judicial system when the Russian delegation is not even meeting with NBA officials? Without meeting NBA officials, how can the delegates understand our judiciary?" commented NBA general secretary Madhav Banskota about the visit.

"We should not spend money to host a delegation whose purpose is no different from that of tourists. We should not spend money from the state exchequer to host tourists."

Sources also said that the government has released only Rs 600,000 for the visit in view of its "purposeless" nature. The SC had initially demanded Rs 900,000 from the government to host the "Russian guests" for four days. The SC has been told to use its own resources to meet the full expenses.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Nembang demands compensation: SC orders to bring Detainees before Court

Kathmandu15-Former minister and advocate Subhash Chandra Nembang filed a petition at the Kathmandu District Court against the Home Ministry and the Kathmandu District Administration Office for ‘misusing’ the Public Peace and Security Act, 1989, while detaining leaders and human rights activists.

In a petition, Nembang also sought the court’s order to the government to provide him at least Rs 100,000 in damages as he was ‘illegally’ detained for 28 days.

He claimed that the government has been misusing a provision of the Act while taking persons in preventive detention even after the Supreme Court’s strictures against detaining anyone illegally.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday ordered the government to produce three leaders of Nepali Congress (NC) before the Court on March 16.

Acting upon a habeas corpus writ petition, a single bench of Justice Khil Raj Regmi ordered the government to produce NC leaders Bimalendra Nidhi, Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat and Pradeep Firi before the SC.

The bench also directed the Home Ministry, the Bhaktapur District Administration Office and the Royal Nepalese Army's Guheshowari Barrack at Duwakot to furnish written explanation on the trio's detention.

The government released NC leader Dr. Mahat on Monday from the premises of Kathmandu District Court.

Special Court imposes fines, jail terms on officials

Kathmandu, March 14- The Special Court on monday announced a jail sentence and imposed fines on several officials on charges of taking bribe and presenting fake academic certificates while acquiring their jobs.

The court slapped a one-month sentence and Rs 5,000 fine on Ganesh Prasad Upadhayay, an official of the Land Reform Office in Saptari. He was caught red-handed taking Rs 5,000 from a person to issue a decision in a land related case in his favour. The bench also announced 10 days’ imprisonment and Rs 1,000 fine for Bijaya Kumar Das, an official of the Nepal Telecom branch in Birtamod. Das was caught red-handed while taking bribe from a telephone user for transfering his telephone line.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 2,500 on Narendra Bahdur Shrestha, senior assistant of Nepal Bank Limited, Rs 2,500 fine on Bindilal Chaudhary, senior builder of Udayapur Cement Factory, Rs 2,000 fine Mohammad Usman Haluwai, on Supervisor of Nepal Drinking Water Corporation for posing fake certificates to get jobs.

The court also imposed Rs 2,000 fine on Barsha Basnet, computer operator of BP Koirala Health and Science Institute, Rs 2,000 on Babi Sharma, assistant of Rastriya Banijya Bank and Rs 2,500 on Ghanashyam Paudel, a chief assistant of the Karmachari Sanchaya for using fake certificates while getting job.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Hearing on RPP case postponed

Kathmandu, March 13- The Supreme Court deferred the hearing of the case on the controversy over Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP).

A division bench of Justices postponed the hearing on Sunday as per the written request of a lawyer representing the RPP faction led by Home Minister Kamal Thapa.

This is the third time the case has been deferred.

RPP faction led by Pashupati Shumser JB Rana moved to the Apex Court against the decision of the RPP faction led by Home Minister Kamal Thapa to oust the party president Rana from the party’s top post holding a special general convention.
SC asks govt to bare all

Kathmandu, March 13- The Supreme Court on sunday directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to submit each and every decision of governments from 1975 while sending Royal Nepalese Army personnel in peacekeeping missions abroad.

Following a hearing, a division bench of Justices Ram Nagina Singh and Rajendra Prasad Bhandari pronounced the order.

The bench also told the Ministry to produce each and every agreement between the United Nations and the government while sending army personnel for peace missions.

Citing insufficient written explanations submitted by the Ministry, the bench told the authorities to produce each and every decision regarding each and every peacekeeping mission.

The bench found contradictory written explanations submitted by the Ministry and the RNA Headquarters on the issue.The bench observed that the Ministry is yet to implement the SC’s one-and-a-half-year-old order demanding agreements between the UN and the government.

The RNA, in its explanation, had said that there are separate government decisions regarding each and every peacekeeping missions and different agreements between the government and the United Nations while sending battalions, but the Ministry had only sent the agreement signed between the UN and the government on 2004 regarding the army personnel’s deployment in the Burundi mission.

During sunday's hearing, government attorney Surendra Thapa told the bench that the Auditor General’s audit report on the RNA’s Welfare Fund has already been submitted to the bench. However, when the judges said they did not get the report and neither was the report attached in the case-file and tried to write an order to the Office of the Auditor General, Thapa said the audit report may have been sent in a “secret manner” and claimed if the report is not with the apex court he will produce it within five minutes. “There is no need for a second order; I will produce the report within five minutes,” Thapa told the bench. Assuring the bench, he left for his office but did not return within the given time frame. Ultimately, the bench again passed the order to the Office of the Auditor General to produce the report.

Pleading on behalf of chairman of the Ex-armies’ Independent Council of Nepal, Ambar Bahadur Thapa Magar, Advocate Subhas Chandra Nembang sought the SC’s order to the authorities to produce all decisions regarding the issue.

Ambar Bahadur Thapa Magar had filed the petition four years ago seeking allowances as per the agreement between the UN and the government and to make public all expenditures of the RNA Welfare Fund.

Writ filed

Kathmandu, March 13-A writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court on sunday seeking its order to scrap provisions in several Acts that authorise courts to confiscate property of convicts who are sentenced with life term following their conviction.

The petition was filed seeking the apex court’s order to scrap such provisions claiming that such provisions are contradictory with international rights laws.

Advocate Achyut Prasad Kharel produced the petition before the apex court seeking its order to scrap provisions in Terrorist and Disruptive Act Control and Punishment Ordinance (TADO) 2005, Heir to the Crown Act 1987, Military Act 1959, Transportation Management Act 1991 and civil code 1963. Though the petition was produced before the SC, the court is yet to decide whether to register it or not.

The petitioner made the Office of the Prime Ministerand the Cabinet (PMO) as defendant in the case. The petitioner claimed the provicions contyradicted with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 which has already been adopted by Nepal. He said life term punishment is sufficient so that the provision of property confiscation should be scrapped.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

CIAA chief did Abuse of Authority

Kathmandu, March 12 - Chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Surya Nath Upadhyay has been found responsible for his role in providing citizenship to a Ramechhap dweller on false details while he was water resources secretary in 1993 .

ekantipur reports According to police sources, Lok Bahadur Bohara of Ramechhap district had succeeded in obtaining citizenship from Kathmandu District Administration Office on the recommendation of Upadhyay. As per existing legal provisions, one can get citizenship on the recommendation of a special class bureaucrat.

Upadhyay had recommended that he knew Lok Bahadur as the son of Tirtha Bahadur Bohara and citizenship be awarded to him. After 13 years it was revealed that Tirtha Bahadur is not the father of Lok Bahadur as recommended by Upadhyay but an uncle.

The facts remained buried for about 13 years and came to light only after Tirtha Bahadur lodged a complaint with the Kathmandu District Administration and subsequent arrest of Lok Bahadur. Lok Bahadur is now in detention at Kathmandu Police Office.

For 13 years, even Tirtha Bahadur did not know Lok Bahadur had became his "son". To the surprise of Tirtha, Lok Bahadur as a "son" began to claim a share of his property.

According to investigations of the Kathmandu District Administration Office, the citizenship is a fake one and has recommended the Home Ministry to nullify the citizenship. But the Ministry had maintained that it could nullify the citizenship only after actions are taken against the recommenders. The ministry has now forwarded the case to the Kathmandu District Police for further investigation and action against the recommender.

If the charges are proved, CIAA chief will face five years imprisonment as per existing legal provisions.

It may be recalled that Upadhyay as the chief of the constitutional anti-graft body had taken action against a government lawyer in Kapilbastu on charge of not taking legal action against officials involved in fake citizenship scams. Similar action was taken against former Chief District Officer of Chitwan Khem Raj Nepal for awarding citizenship on false details. Khem Raj Nepal later, quit his job as chief of Guthi Sansthan following the action of the CIAA headed by Upadhyay.

On his part, Upadhyay, when contacted Saturday night over phone, said, "I have to go through the documents first before commenting."

Saturday, March 11, 2006

CIAA wins 350 of 540 cases filed

Kathmandu, March 11- The Commission of Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has been successful in 350 of the total of 540 cases that it filed at the Special Court, Kathmandu and the Appellate Court, Lalitpur as of now.Of the filed cases, 47 became unsuccessful for lack of necessary evidences, it is said.
About 30,000 complaints have been lodged at the commission in connection with the submission of fake educational certificates in obtaining new jobs and getting promotions.The commission is to recover a total of Rs. 75 million from different persons and organisations on the conviction of committing irregularities during the last six years, said joint secretary at the commission Ratna Kaji Bajracharya .
Meanwhile, Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has filed a case at the Special Court against Krishna Bahadur Kunwar, a godown security guard at Nepal Bank Limited (NBL), Siddharthanagar branch for committing corruption by presenting a fake certificate of academic qualification for the purpose of job promotion.The CIAA has charged Kunwar of presenting a fake certificate of the Intermediate level that he had acquired from the Secondary Education Council, Uttar Pradesh, India for getting promotion.
Similarly, the CIAA has filed a case against senior assistant cashier at the NBL Dang branch Kumbha Singh Pun at the Special Court for committing corruption by presenting a fake certificate of academic qualification for getting promotion.
The CIAA charged Pun of presenting a certificate of Intermediate level academic qualification that he acquired from the Secondary Education Council, Uttar Pradesh, India for getting promotion.The anti-corruption body has claimed that Pun committed corruption under the Corruption Control Act 2017 BS and 2059 BS by presenting the fake certificate of academic qualification and demanded punishment as stipulated in the same Acts.
Likewise, CIAA filed a case at the Special Court against Hem Kumari Bhattarai, a primary level school teacher at the Mangalmaya Secondary School, Lakhanpur, Jhapa on the charge of presenting a fake certificate of secondary education qualification that she acquired from the Bihar School Examination Council for appointment purposes.

Writ petition quashed

Kathmandu, March 11- The Supreme Court on firday quashed a writ petition that sought its order to the government and the police not to treat accused or undertrials unfairly unless convicted and not to proclaim such persons as criminals unless proved guilty.

A division bench of Supreme Court Justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Sharada Prasad Pundit declined to issue the order to the Home Ministry and the police headquarters. The bench said that if anyone is ill-treated he or she can move the court for compensation. The judges added there was no need for any order in this regard.

Advocate Madhav Kumar Basnet had filed the petition citing examples of accused persons treated as already convicted right after arrest. He also claimed the police had no right to post their names or photos on television even if the said persons had been arrested for alleged theft, robbery or drug-smugglings.The petitioner had also claimed the police has been proclaiming accused person criminals on television and in newspapers in a wrong manner. “Any person might be arrested on any charge but he should not be treated as a criminal unless proved guilty by a court of law and such a person should not be proclaimed a criminal,” he added.

Main while Two days after his attendance before the Supreme Court, a division bench of Justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Sharda Pundit today allowed Local Development Minister Tanka Dhakal not to compulsorily attend in the contempt of court case against him.

The Minister had filed a petition before the court seeking its permission not to attend the court compulsorily to face the proceedings. Submitting a written explanation in the case, he claimed that he had always respected the apex court order

Lawyers condemn Dr Giri's remarks

Kathmandu, March 11- Legal experts flayed remarks made by the first vice-chairman of the Council of Ministers, Dr Tulsi Giri, against the judiciary. They said Dr Giri has no respect for the Supreme Court verdict that scrapped the Royal Commission for Corruption Control.

“This is a serious attack on the independence of judiciary,” Nepal Bar Association’s General Secretary Madhav Banskota said .According to him, Dr Giri had no right to comment on any verdict of the SC as he has been facing contempt of court cases. “Moreover, he is an unconstitutional vice-chairman of an unconstitutional government. He also has no authority to interpret the constitution,” he said.

“The NBA condemns such an attack by anyone on the independent judiciary,” Banskota said, adding: “This is a question of contempt of court since the Constitution has made the judiciary independent and a person like Dr Giri has no authority even to talk about its accountability.”

A Supreme Court Justice said on condition of anonymity that Dr Giri’s remark was contemptuous.Senior advocate Bishwo Kanta Mainali said Dr Giri spoke his frustration out.“Since he is frustrated by politics as the government’s road map has failed, he has started delivering speeches while in a state of delirium,” he said.

Inaugurating the first national conference of the Federation of National Journalists yesterday, Dr Giri had said there will be judicial anarchy in the absence of parliament. He had also said that Article 127 of the Constitution can be interpreted by the parliament and not by the Supreme Court.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Article 127 can be interpreted only by parliament: Giri

Kathmandu, March 10 - Vice-Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Dr Tulsi Giri while speaking at the fist general convention of the Federation of National Journalists, a pro-government organisation of journalists on Thursday said that the constitutionality of the use of Article 127 of the Constitution could be interpreted by the parliament only.

Giri also opposed the Supreme Court’s recent verdict that scrapped the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC).

The apex court had scrapped the royal anti-graft body three weeks ago saying that the commission was formed unconstitutionally.

Giri also said that the justices were “turning out to be unruly in the absence of parliament in the country.”

"This is the proof of the rule of law in the nation," he said. Giri, turning the pages of the constitution of the country opined the Supreme Court can check the monarch but in the absence of the parliament there is no body to check judicial anarchy.Claiming that the monarch has not violated any provision of the constitution, Dr Giri said, "I challenge anyone who can produce proof of any act of the government that is autocratic."

In other hand , Human Rights activists have said Agenda 9 could be slapped on Nepal in the upcoming 62nd session of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva if the government did not express clear commitment towards protection and promotion of human rights.

Speaking at an interaction in the capital on Thursday, rights activist Dr Gopal Siwakoti said Nepal is heading towards Agenda 9 due to the increasing instances of rights violation.

The 61st session of the UN-OHCHR last year imposed Agenda 19 against Nepal, and Nepal expressed commitment to improve rights situation in the country.

The government agreed and set up the office of UN-OHCHR in Nepal under Agenda 19 to monitor incidents of rights violations during the 61st session, last year.However rights activists claim that there has been no improvement in the rights situation.

Enforcement of Agenda 9 refers to a very critical situation of human rights in the country.

Dr Siwakoti further said that there were no improvement in the rights situation since the last session and the government did not fulfill its commitment for the protection and promotion of human rights so item 9 was a strong possibility in the upcoming session if the government did not express clear commitment in this regard.

He informed that the indicators for the enforcement of any item are illegal detention or disappearances, situation of rule of law in the country, restriction on free movement of people and independence of the National Human Rights Commission. He stated all the indicators are in a negative direction so the government should defend it in the upcoming session to be safe from imposition of Agenda 9.

Main while, The Unites States has said the human rights situation in Nepal has worsened over the last few years and that both the Maoist rebels and security forces have committed numerous grave human rights abuses in 2005.

Its 'Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2005' released by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington on March 8 said, "the government's poor human rights record worsened and the government continued to commit many serious abuses, both during and after the state of emergency that suspended all fundamental rights except for habeas corpus."