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.

No comments: