Monday, March 06, 2006

Govt deny SC demand for jubilee costs

Kathmandu, March 6- The government has rejected the Supreme Court’s demand for Rs 8 million to celebrate the golden jubilee of the establishment of the apex court the himalaya times reports .

A high-ranking official of the Supreme Court told on condition of anonymity that the government recently informed the court that it would not be able to provide the amount demanded due to financial constraints.

The SC is preparing to mark its golden jubilee celebration in May and had demanded the amount from the government. “We are planning to publish a souvenir issue to celebrate the golden jubilee, issue currency with the picture of the Supreme Court and issue tickets,” said the official. “Citing poor financial condition, the ministry told us that it cannot provide the amount,” the official said. He added that the SC judges are taking this matter seriously. “We did not demand an exorbitant sum of money. So, if the government does not want to provide the amount, this could also be a threat to the independence of the judiciary,” a SC judge said. “The issue will become the issue of a Full Court meeting of judges if the ministry refuses,” said the justice.

“While rejecting our demand the government told us to spend from the SC’s own budget, but we do not have extra funds for that purpose,” the SC official said. The SC has been planning to invite Chief Justices of the SAARC region, organise functions in all district and appellate courts and provide awards to court officials who have been serving in courts for a long time. “But we cannot invite the SAARC region CJs if the government does not provide the amount,” said.

According to the SC official, it was a ministry level decision taken by the state Minister of Finance, Dr Roop Jyoti. For that purpose the SC had organised several rounds of talks with Dr Jyoti, Secretary of the Finance Ministry, Bhanu Prasad Acharya and other officials of the Ministry since the last two months. “Initially they said they would consider our demand but now we are surprised at their rejection of our demand,” he said.

Jyoti, however, said what the SC has said was wrong. “I cannot tell you all things as I am compelled not to disclose the secrecy of the Ministry,” he said.

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