Friday, June 30, 2006

HoR panel to test legality of 8-pt pact

A meeting of the Law, Justice and Parliamentary Committee of the House of Representatives (HoR) decided to examine the constitutionality and legality of the eight-point agreement reached between the seven-party alliance (SPA) and the Maoists on June 16.

The 8-point agreement has agreed, among others, to dissolve the revived HoR after finding an appropriate alternative to it. The committee is also scheduled to examine the constitutionality of the declaration and political commitments made by the HoR.A statement issued by the committee expressed satisfaction over the understandings and agreements reached between the alliance and the Maoists at different stages.

“We have decided to examine the constitutionality and legality of the eight-point agreement between the SPA and the Maoists in light of the 1990’s constitution and the HoR declaration of May 18,” said Puskar Nath Ojha, a member of the Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.

Sources within the committee said that the panel members thought of examining the agreement after they found problems in it.The agreement was signed, among others, by Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist chairman Prachanda at the PM’s residence at BaluwatarOjha said they decided to scrutinise the 8-point agreement as per the committee’s jurisdiction that allows examining the government’s decisions.

The committee is also authorised to issue directives to the government and submit reports to the HoR in all constitutional and legal issues. He said that the committee would start examining the agreement from July 4.“If the agreement is deemed unconstitutional or inappropriate from the point of view of the 1990’s constitution and the HoR declaration, the committee will issue directives to make corrections on it,” he said.

He, however, said that the committee has not officially received a copy of the agreement so far
SC refused the case

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to take up a contempt of court case against Lieutenant Colonel of the Bhairavnath Battalion, Rajendra Jung Khatri and chief of the legal unit of Nepal Army, BA Kumar Sharma.
A single bench of Justice Ram Nagina Singh dismissed the petition saying that the petitioner could not provide enough ground to test the army officials’ actions.
The bench also dismissed another case filed a month ago by one Ranju Darnal against army officials accusing them of producing false details in the SC on the detention of Maoist suspects.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

SC's no smoking zones

The Supreme Court Wednesday defined nine places as no smoking zones however, fifteen days had past since it ordered the government to prohibit smoking in public places.

According to the full text of the verdict on tobacco consumption at public places, the no smoking zones are offices that provide public service, educational institutions, public vehicles, bus parks, ticket counters, public entertainment places and places/ buildings of public gathering.

Besides, the court has given one year deadline for the government to ban smoking in public places and enforce anti-tobacco laws. Justices Anup Raj Sharma and Rajendra Prasad Koirala prepared the verdict. As per the verdict, the government is also required to prohibit publication of advertisements of tobacco in print media as soon as possible.
Rayamajhi panel summons Satchit, others

The High-Level Investigation Commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi today summoned four ‘royalists’ on the charge of suppressing people during the Jana Andolan.

According to member of the commission Harihar Birahi, the commission summoned former Chief of Army Staffs (CoAS) Satchit SJB Rana, former minister of the royal cabinet Niranjan Thapa, Nepal Police’s Deputy Inspector General Krishna Basnet and Additional Inspector General of Armed Police Force Ravi Raj Thapa to attend before the commission on Friday at 11 am.

The commission alleged that former CoAS Rana and former Minister Thapa had played a “key role” to “provoke the King” against democracy and the two former police officials had “suppressed people” by directly using force during the movement. Basnet and Thapa were suspended by the government following the revival of the House of epresentatives. “Former CoAS Rana and former Minister Thapa were among the members of the watch list of the commission as we have already recommended the government not to allow them to go outside the country,” said another member.

Thapa was the former minister of law, justice and parliamentary affairs and had played a “main role” in the unconstitutional establishment of the dismissed Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC). “The King’s regime had used the RCCC as a tool to take revenge against political leaders and Thapa had appointed royalists in the judiciary to support the royal move,” the member added. The commission also said it has summoned the suspended security officials as the Rayamajhi commission will decide about their cases.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

SC stay order on MBBS mess

Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an interim order asking the government to stall the nominating and sending of new names to the Bangladeshi government for MBBS studies, until the fate of 11 students rejected by the Bangladeshi government is settled.
According to lawyer Tanka Dulal, the court issued an order to this effect acting on a writ petition filed by the students on Sunday.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rayamajhi Panel Grills Dr Giri, Rana, Mandal
Senior vice-chairman of the King's erstwhile cabinet, Dr Tulsi Giri, was today grilled by the high-level investigation commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Krishna Jung Rayamajhi over his role in suppressing the April democratic movement in which at least 23 people lost their lives and hundreds suffered injuries, torture and threatening.

Giri reached the commission office at around 10:50 am. Before entering the commission office, Dr Giri said he decided to present himself before the commission as he believed in rule of law.

Similarly, a minister in the royal government, Nichchhe SJB Rana was also grilled by the commission. Rana reached the commission at around 11 am. Likewise, former royal government minister Badri Prasad Mandal also gave his statement.

The commission had summoned the three in connection with the probe into use of excessive force to suppress the democratic movement when they were in power.

Earlier, The High Level Probe Commission has summoned Dr. Tulsi Giri, Vice Chairman of the Royal government and two other ministers Badri Mandal and Nikshya Shumsher Rana to be present at the commission at 11 a.m. on Tuesday for explanation. Letters regarding summon were handed over at their residences on Sunday, said the commission.
After they furnish their explanations, explanation will be sought from others in the initial list, security personnel and civil servants, who were suspended after the formation of the SPA government.
Those suspended were IGPs of Nepal Police and Armed Police Force Shyam Bhakta Thapa and Sahabir Thapa, chief of the National Investigation Council Devi Ram Sharma, nine high police officials of the police including Madhav Thapa, Durja Kumar Rai and Chief Secretary Lokman Singh Karki.
The commission had, in a letter on Thursday, instructed the government to keep close watch on Dr. Giri and ministers Mandal, Rana, Kamal Thapa, Tanka Dhakal, Niranjan Thapa, Salim Miya Ansari, Jagat Gauchan, Senate Shrestha and advisers to the Royal Palace Sharatchandra Shah, Satchit Shumsher Rana and Bharat Keshari Simha.
After the first round of explanation, the commission will proceed to seek explanation from those in the second list. The commission said that those already sought explanation could be recalled if needed.
while receiving the summon letter from the commission, Dr Giri had reportedly said he would attend before the commission as ordered and that there was no need to use force for the same.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Interim Constitution Drafting Committee starts work

The Interim Constitution Drafting Committee began its informal work from Monday after a meeting between the government and Maoist talks teams on Sunday decided to give full shape to the committee.

The committee members went to their office at the Peace Secretariat at the Singha Durbar and began their work. The meeting of talks teams of the government and the Maoists had yesterday decided to induct one woman and another member in the committee headed by former Justice Laxman Prasad Aryal.

Even as the two members were supposed be nominated Sunday itself no appointment was made till 6:15 p.m. today.

The drafting committee, which has been given 15 days timeframe to draft the interim constitution, has president of Nepal Bar Association (NBA) Shambhu Thapa, senior advocates Sindhunath Pyakurel and Harihar Dahal, former attorney general Mahadev Yadav and advocate Khim Lal Devkota.

Friday, June 23, 2006

SC orders govt to furnish commission's recommendation against army chief

The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the government to produce the recommendation report by the high-level judicial probe commission led by former SC justice Krishna Jung Raymajhi to take action against Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Pyar Jung Thapa ekantipur reports .

A single bench of SC Justice Kalyan Shrestha issued the order Friday afternoon following a hearing on a case filed at the Apex Court demanding the suspension of CoAS Thapa, Acting Armed Police Force (APF) IGP Basudev Oli and DIG Dilip Kumar Shrestha.

Last Tuesday, four lawyers representing the Human Rights Organisation Nepal had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) at the SC seeking a court order to the government to suspend army chief Thapa, acting APF chief Oli and DIG Shrestha.

In the PIL writ, the lawyers have argued that though the government (following the Rayamajhi Commission's recommendation) suspended the then Nepal Police and APF IGPs, it didn't take any action against Thapa, Oli and Shrestha.

The lawyers claimed that Thapa, Oli and Shrestha, too, were responsible for suppressing the recent popular movement and were guilty of human rights violations.

"If they are not suspended immediately, they may tamper with the evidence needed by the High-level Probe Commission. Therefore, the court should order the government to suspend them," the lawyers argued in the petition.

Soon after its formation, the Raymajhi Commission had recommended the government to suspend all security chiefs, including army chief Thapa. Following the commission's recommendation, the government had suspended the then Nepal Police IGP, Shyam Bhakta Thapa and then APF IGP Sahabir Thapa but no action was taken against the army chief.
High level commission asks government to keep 13 people under surveillance
The High Level Commission headed by Krishna Jung Rayamajhi to probe the atrocities committed to suppress the popular movement of the country has asked the government to put 13 individuals, including few members of the former government, under surveillance. The commission said that their interrogation is scheduled to begin very soon in the case of their involvement in suppressing the popular movement.
“Cases have been filed against those individuals and the commission needs to question them. The government should ensure that they are available for interrogation,” reports quoted a member of the commission requesting anonymity as saying.According to the commission, the 13 individuals are, Dr Tulsi Giri, former vice-chairman of the government led by the King, Kamal Thapa, former home minister; Niranjan Thapa, former minister for law, justice and parliamentary affairs; Badri Mandal, former minister for land reform and management, Tanka Dhakal, former minister for information and communication, Salim Miya Ansari, former minister for forest and soil conservation, Shrish SJB Rana, former minister of state for information and communications; Senate Shrestha, former minister of state for education and sports, Jagat Gauchan, former minister of state for for education and sports, Nikshya SJB Rana, former minister of state for Health and Population, Sacchit SJB Rana, former member of the Raj Parishad Standing Committee, Bharat Keshar Simha, honorary ADC of the King, and Sharad Chandra Shah, the key advisor to the King.According to reports, the first phase of interrogation is likely to begin on Monday.
The commission is also planning to interrogate nine suspended security officials, including then security chiefs Shyam Bhakta Thapa, Sahabir Thapa and Devi Ram Sharma on Tuesday.
The government suspended them on the recommendation of the commission on May 12.
Meanwhile reports said that Sharad Chandra Shah, who was a key advisor to the King, left for Bangkok on Wednesday.
SC asks government to follow its verdict

Following the government's apathy to implement its verdict, the Supreme Court expressed dissatisfaction over the manner in which government authorities were ignoring court rulings.

The court on Thursday ordered the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to issue circulars to all line agencies and offices asking them to strictly follow the court rulings and cooperate with the courts in delivering justice.

A division bench of Justices Anup Raj Sharma and Kalyan Shrestha further warned that it would initiate legal action against any office or department found ignoring the court orders.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

CIAA takes over excise waiver case

Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has commenced investigation into Inland Revenue Department's (IRD's) decision to pledge excise waiver to four liquor companies against Financial Regulations ekantipr reports.

The commission, informing Ministry of Finance (MoF) of its investigation, on Sunday took over the case, which involved financial irregularity of over Rs 90 million.

"CIAA has already acquired duplicate copies of the decision and other documents related to the case," said a highly placed source. He informed the Post that the MoF has, however, sought additional time to hand over original set of documents, as it is internally investigating the case through a committee.

"We forwarded the copies of the documents on Sunday. If CIAA deems necessary, we can hand over original copies as well. But since internal team of the ministry is studying the case, we have requested the commission for a few days to hand over all the original papers," said the official. The MoF last week constituted a three-member committee under the coordination of Surendra Mani Tripathy to probe the case. The committee is required to submit its report by Sunday.

The case of illegal excise waiver had come to the anti-corruption watchdog's notice after the Post ran a story on it last week. Director General of IRD Rana Bahadur Shrestha and the then acting Secretary of MoF Pramod Karki had decided to pledge special concessions to four liquor companies - Nepal Liquor, Sumi, Highland and McDowells Nepal - on the last day of the king's direct rule.

The decision was against governing laws, as according to Financial Regulations only the Cabinet has authority to decide on cases of duty waiver. Even the Finance Minister cannot take and implement waiver decisions, unless it is incorporated in the Financial Regulation.

Meanwhile, the MoF's three-member probe committee has already started investigation into the case. According to a source, the team is currently studying the proposal forwarded by the IRD and decision of the Ministry on it.

He further said that the team members and senior ministry officials also are raising questions over the relevance of keeping intact the decision taken at a level beyond its authority. They have strongly voiced that the decision be made 'null and void'.

"The committee is studying whether acting Secretary can decide on excise waiver when that is not mentioned in the Financial Ordinance," said the source.

The committee is also assessing if IRD has discretionary authority to step on the Supreme Court's verdict, issued in favor of a single company - Sharad Distillery, to pledge concessions to just the four other companies, excluding 30 others from the facility.

Case filed against army chief

Ram Maya Nakarmi, wife of Padam Narayan Nakarmi who is among 49 people allegedly disappeared by the state from the Nepali Army's Bhairabnath Battalion at Maharajgung, filed a case of murder against army chief General Pyar Jung Thapa and four other army officers, at Kathmandu District Police Office, Monday.

In the case ,Nakarmi has accused the army chief, then commander of the battalion Lieutenant Colonel Raju Basnet, Major Bibek Bista, Captain Indibar Rana and chief of the Directorate of Military Intelligence Dilip Rayamajhi, of murdering Padam Narayan.

There is states that army personnel in civvies took Padam Narayan from his house at Lalitpur sub-metropolis Ward No. 3 on September 22, 2003, stating that they had a few questions to ask him.

"When I asked them who they were and why they were taking my husband away, they replied that they were army personnel and even produced their identity cards," Nakarmi has written in her complaint.

UNHCR unhappy with Nepal

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has expressed dissatisfaction with Nepal for turning a deaf ear to its repeated appeals for third country resettlement of Bhutanese refugees, who have been sheltering under the protection of UNHCR since 1990.

The UNHCR Global Report 2005, published on the occasion of World Refugee Day that falls on June 20, said the possibility of resettlement to a third country was another encouraging sign, besides the active engagement of both the governments of Nepal and Bhutan in finding solutions for refugees in Nepal. "However, Nepal insists that repatriation to Bhutan must begin before other solutions are considered. For this reason, despite UNHCR's repeated appeals, Nepal has not yet approved re-registration nor permitted the departure of refugees with special needs for resettlement," the report said.

However, Acting Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pradip Khatiwada, said, "Nepal has no headache for such proposal if any foreign country wants to take our burden of over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees with certain policy and time frame."

On Friday, Resident Representative of UNHCR, Abraham Abraham, said that approximately 10,000 to 12,000 physically and mentally sound refugees, could be resettled in a third country annually if there was no possibility of repatriation or local integration.

Regarding the request for re-registration of refugees, another government official said that the new government could resume that process after modifying certain provisions.

The UNHCR has also criticized the government for not issuing birth certificates to refugee children and slow pace in providing identification documents to other immigrants, including nearly 20,000 Tibetans who arrived before 1990.

A Home Ministry official said that there was no legal provision of providing birth certificates to foreigners. "However, Local Development Ministry has recently sent a positive proposal to home and law ministries to take necessary decision in this regard," he informed.

Regarding the identification documents of Tibetans, he said that the report was baseless. The government had provided identification documents for those Tibetans, who arrived in Nepal before December 1989. Since 1990, the government decided to stop this as it was a never-ending process, he added.

The UNHCR has also said the government decision on suspending exit permits and other travel documents since October 2005, led to an increase in number of Tibetans transiting through Nepal and prolonged stay at the Tibetan reception center. The government resumed issuing travel documents and exit permits for Tibetans last month. According to the report, the UNHCR has been providing necessary support for the Bhutanese refugees, over 4,000 newly-arrived Tibetans and 280 urban refugees and asylum seekers from various countries. There are about 200 Pakistani refugees in Nepal, according to the UNHCR report.

Committee did not needs govt letters: AG

After one day of seeking governtment letter by The recently formed Constitution Drafting Committe, Attorney General Yagyamurti Banjade has said. that committee have need not to wait for letters from the government to start its job.

“Their help was asked by the political parties and as such, there was no need of any formal letter from the government for the commission to start work,” Banjade said, adding, “The members of the committee can start work. The government can provide staff, office and other infrastructure if they need.”

Banjade said the political parties should provide support if they want. Banjade also argued that there was no question of the committee members taking oath of office as the committee is not a government body.

The Attorney General added that the committee members being legal experts, the parities sought their help to prepare the draft but the draft they prepare will not be the final document. “The political parties would make the draft final and would send it to the government to declare that as the interim Constitution,” he said. He added there is confusion over who will announce the Constitution.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Interim Constitution Drafting Committee yet to get formal Letter

Interim Constitution Drafting Committee headed by former Justice of the Supreme Court Laxman Prasad Aryal are yet to receive formal letters.

Officials of the committee said that they had started their work informally even though they are yet to receive formal letters. The committee has told the government that it will formally begin its job only after meeting the talks team of both the government and the Maoists.

On Sunday, the committee members discussed what kind of help and support they should take from the government staff and whether the statute-making process should be kept secret.
“Even if we want to make the process secret, we will provide information to the people through our spokesperson,” said Sambhu Thapa, one of the members of the committee.

“We will start our formal job only after the government provides letters to us,” another member Harihar Dahal said.

The committee members discussed adopting the achievement of the 1990 movement and the best provisions of the 1990 Constitution along with the fundamental rights as the sources of the new constitution.

The government and the Maoists formed the committee on Friday during the summit talks between the ruling seven party alliance and the Maoists with the mandate of preparing the interim constitution within 15 days.

Mainwhile Convenor of the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee, Laxman Prasad Aryal has said that mainly topics like His Majesty the King's April 24 proclamation, the House of Representatives Declaration of May 18, the Government-Maoist cease-fire of May 26 and the seven parties-Maoists agreement of June 16 would be taken into consideration while making the Interim Constitution.He was Talking to RSS.
Convenor Aryal made it clear that the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990 would be abrogated after the Interim Constitution is made.Stating that an interim Government would be formed and elections to the Constituent Assembly held after the promulgation of the Interim Constitution, he said since the Constituent Assembly alone would be deciding the place of the monarchy, the king would have place in the Interim Constitution.
Convenor Aryal also said that an arrangement to work as the legislature would be made in the Interim Constitution after discussing the matter with the seven political parties and the Maoists.He said, "The draft of the Interim Constitution would be short.
The time is short. Still, efforts would be made to hold discussions with and take suggestions from the civic society?.Stating that informal discussions are being held although they have not received formal letter from the Government, he expressed the hope that the issue of the letter that they would be getting and the Committee's office would be finalized by tomorrow.According to Convenor Aryal, the terms of reference and the limitation of the Committee would be as stated in the letter.
In reply to a query, he said those eligible for getting the citizenship should get it. He expressed the view that topics like the local bodies and the National Human Rights Commission should be included in the Interim Constitution in principle.A six-member Interim Constitution Drafting Committee was formed under the convenorship of former judge at the Supreme Mr. Aryal on June 16 for preparing a draft of the Interim Constitution as per the spirit of the code of conduct agreed to by the Government and the Maoists.
Aryal is one of the architects of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1990.The members of the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee are former president duo of Nepal Bar Association Harihar Dahal and Sindhunath Pyakurel, the incumbent president of the Association Shambhu Thapa, former Attorney General Mahadev Yadav and advocate Khim Lal Devkota.
The Government-Maoist Talks Team that met after the talks held between the top leaders of the seven political parties on June 16 had decided to give 15 days to the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee to prepare the draft of the Interim Constitution and presenting the same before the Talks Team.
The Team will present the draft of the Interim Constitution to the Government-Maoist Summit talks as per the instructions of the Government-Maoist Summit Talks.

Rayamajhi vows to push on with probe

Krishna Jung Rayamajhi, chairman of the High Level Probe Commission, on Sunday said he was aware that the investigations being carried out by the commission could face hurdles.

"We are not too sure if we can carry out our tasks unhindered," he said during a face-to-face program with district level party leaders and persons injured during people's movement II in Butwal. "Since our probe has a broader periphery, obstacles might be created at any point." However, he warned those hindering the commission's probe would not be spared.

The former Supreme Court justice also said that the commission would go to people if there was any obstacles during its assigned tasks. "It will be our weakness if we are unable to complete the duty given to us by the people," he said.

He also assured that no one, including those meddling in the people's movement, inciting people and giving directions to thwart the movement. and human rights abusers, would be spared by the commission.

Belbari probe team questions locals

A team formed by parliament to probe the Belbari killings reached the incident site Sunday and interrogated locals and security personnel. On April 26, army personnel shot dead six locals who were protesting in front of Belbari base camp against the alleged rape and murder of a local woman by soldiders.

Parliament subsequently formed a probe team headed by parliamentarian Pari Thapa. According to Chief District Officer Modnath Dotel, the16-member team consulted Sunday morning about the incident with representatives of the seven parties in the district and rights workers. The locals were protesting against the alleged rape and killing the previous night of Sapana Gurung, 22, a local, when the army personnel opened fire at them. Over two dozen were injured in the incident.

Advocate Chudamani Acharya said that action against the culprits should be initiated in public.
Govt working on new company act

The government is working out the regulations as per the new Company Act, which was introduced to make the companies more competitive and transparent, said Bharat Bahadur Thapa, secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies recently.Speaking at the closing ceremony of 'Training Progrmame for Company Secretaries,' organised by Corporate Financial Governance Project.
Thapa said the Nepalese companies should prepare themselves to face international competition and they should also maintain good corporate governance.He said that the companies needed to gain goodwill of the people to sustain in the market in the present context.
"The competent company secretaries can work in this regard,"he added.President of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) Chandi Raj Dhakal said the Nepalese companies needed to be competitive, as Nepal had already opened its market for international competition.
He said the companies needed to recruit competent secretaries.He also stressed the need for equitable distribution of goods and services to the people from the companies while stressing the need to respect the voices for inclusive democracy and economy.The company secretaries who received training were distributed certificates during the programme.

Former minister Khadka got clean chit

The Special Court, Kathmandu, on Sunday has given clean chit to former Water Resources Minister and Nepali Congress leader, Khum Bahadur Khadka, and other officials on charge of alleged corruption in the Bakraha irrigation project case.

A special bench of the court comprising chairman of the court, Bhupdhoj Adhikari and Judges Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana and Komal Nath Sharma held that they did not find adequate evidence to prove that there had been corruption in the said project.

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed separate cases against former minister Khadka, then Secretary Water Resources Biswonath Sapkota and two other officials nearly four years ago alleging them of indulging in corruption worth over Rs 40 million in the project based in eastern district of Morang.

All of them had pleaded innocence in the case.

SC Orders Release of Ex-Ministers Thapa, Dhakal

The Supreme Court ordered the release of two former minister of the King's Cabinet Home Minister Kamal Thapa and Local Development Minister Tanka Dhakal.

The apex court released them responding to two separate habeas corpus petitions filed at it on June 6 by advocate Namaraj Karki. SC justices Sharada Prasad Pandit and Badri Kumar Basnet issued the order.

The government had taken the duo in preventive detention on May 12 accusing them of hatching conspiracies against the sovereignty of the people.

Mainwhile ,The government released two ministers of the royal cabinet following the Supreme Court (SC)’s order on Sunday.

They were released from the premises of Kathmandu District Court.

The government had arrested five ministers of the royal government in the charge of conspiring against the pro-democracy movement of the country.

Thapa and Dhakal filed habeas corpus writ petitions at the SC on June 5th alleging that the government detained them illegally.

Then home minister Thapa and local development minister Dhakal were arrested on May 12 along with three other former ministers of the King’s cabinet, Ramesh Nath Pandey, Sirish Shumsher Rana and Nikshay Shumsher Rana and were sent to 90-day detention.

Three ministers were released on June 4th. A full bench of the SC comprising of Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel and Justices Min Bahadur Raymajhi, Ram Nagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma and Khil Raj Regmi gave the release order.
SC Calls AG's Office on Shobraj Case

The Supreme Court today asked the Office of the Attorney General to defend Nepal Government in a case on international serpent killer Charles Shobraj.

A division bench of SC justices Ram Prasad Shrestha and Rajendra Prasad Koirala called the Attorney General's office saying that the lower court’s verdict on Shobraj’s case may be different. The bench said some of the evidences used against Shobraj were confusing and that they needed to be testified.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Former Justice Aryal to head the interim constitution drafting committee

The government and Maoist rebels have agreed to form a six-member committee led by former Justice of the Supreme Court, Laxman Prasad Aryal, to draft an interim constitution.

A joint statement signed by coordinator of the government negotiating team and Home Minister Krishna P. Sitaula and coordinator of the Maoist negotiating team, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, said the six-member drafting committee has been asked to present its draft to the negotiating team within 15 days.

Other members of the drafting committee include senior advocates Sindhunath Pyakurel and Mahadev Yadav, president of Nepal Bar Association Shambhu Thapa, and advocates Harihar Dahal and Khim Lal Devkota. Pyakurel and Devkota are believed to be close to the CPN (Maoist) while Dahal and Yadav are said to be close to Nepali Congress and Nepali Congress (Democratic) respectively.

The drafting committee will present its draft based on people's rights secured by the people's movement, 12-point understanding between the SPA and the Maoists, and code of conduct signed by the Nepal government and the Maoist rebels, the statement said.
Writ on Equal Wages For Women

Demanding that women labourers be paid daily wages on a par with men, the District Women Advocacy Forum, Kailali, on Thursday filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court.
"Though women labourers work as hard as men, they are paid less," said Saraswati Chaudhary, a labourer from Kailali.

Despite the legal provision of equal wages for men and women, women labourers are paid Rs 20 to Rs 65 less than men. As women labourers are considered less capable than men, they are being discriminated at work, Chaudhary said.

"We have been advocating for equal wages at village development committees and municipalities for four years, but nobody has taken our demand seriously.

We have come to the capital to make our voice heard in the implementing and policy-making level," said Goma Acharya of the DWAF, Kailali.

Meanwhile, women labourers from Kailali, Bardia, Surkhet, Kapilbastu and Chitwan staged a protest rally and 10-minute chakka jam at Maiti Ghar in the afternoon.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Acts related to Army being revised

The government is revising all Acts and Regulations related to the Nepalese Army to make them relevant to the declaration of the House of Representatives, 2006. For this purpose, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has begun the drafting process of new laws as well as amending the "provisions with autocratic and outdated language" in the existing Acts and Regulations of the Army.
“We are studying the provisions in the four Acts and 25 Regulations related to the Army to revise them as per the changed context,” said Bhupendra Poudel, the spokesperson at MoD. The Military Act, 1959, which was amended for the fourth time in 2000, may be amended one more time, while 25 different Regulations will be extensively revised.
The Military Act, 1959, was first amended in 1963, expanding its jurisdiction; it was amended for the second time in 1966 for technical purposes and the third amendment of the Act in 1983 had changed the name of Army from Royal Army to Royal Nepalese Army. The declaration of the House now has renamed the Royal Nepalese Army as Nepalese Army; scrapped the provision of King as a Supreme Commader In Chief of the Army and also brought the Army under parliament.
“This has created a necessity to amend some provisions, language and certain terminologies in the Acts and Regulations of the Army,” say MoD officials.Apart from the Military Act, 1959, Act related to the Duty, Rights and Service of the Chief of the Army Staff (CoAS), 1969, National Cadet Corps 1970 and the Army and Delegation of the Authority Act, 1958, are being studied by the officials at the MoD. The revision will also address some of the current provisions which are inconsistent with each other in those Acts and Regulations. For instance, a provision in the Act related to CoAS has stipulated the tenure of Army Chief as only four years; but a General, whose tenure is five years according to the Act related to the appointment and promotion of a soldier, is appointed as the Army Chief.
The government, through these revisions, will also make sure that that the Army would not be allowed to publish the books of Acts even for its internal purposes. “The Army used to print and also distribute such books of Acts for its internal purposes, which will have to stop,” said the MoD officials.The revision will also see the changes in the organisational structure as per the international standard. Currently, there are 19 levels from followers to the General, while the position of Field Marshal is also being scrapped soon.
“The Army will be consulted for technical provisions while other experts will also be consulted in the process of drafting those laws,” said Poudel, the spokesperson at the Ministry. So far the government has not allocated any budget, neither formed any special committee to revise these laws. “Soon we will have such a team,” the ministry officials said.
Govt. reply SC in former minister detain case

The authorities, including the Prime Minister's Office and Cabinet and the Ministry of Home Affairs, replied before the Supreme Court that they have sufficient evidence and grounds to detain former Home Minister Kamal Thapa and Local Development Minister Tanka Dhakal.“They have been detained on the basis of sufficient evidence and grounds as they are guilty of acting against the sovereignty vested with the people and the people’s movement,” read the written reply submitted before the SC by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Office of the PM and Cabinet, Ministry of Home Affairs, Police Paharagan and Police Academy have told the apex court likewise. They also argued that it was fallacious to say that the former ministers’ fundamental rights, guaranteed by the 1990 Constitution, were violated as they have been detained under sub-clause 3 of Clause 3(1) of the Public Peace and Security Act 1989.
The government, at the recommendation of a high level commission headed by ex SC justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi, arrested them along with three other former ministers on charges of posing a threat to the sovereignty of the people as well as peace in the country. The commission had advised the government to take necessary action against ministers as they used excessive force and misused the state treasury to suppress the people during the royal regime.
The SC a few days ago released three former ministers Ramesh Nath Pandey, Shrish Sumsher Rana and Nikshya Sumsher Ranaciting the reason that they had been detained “without sufficient reason and evidence”.
SC issued show cause notice
The Supreme Court issued show cause notices to the government authorities seeking their explanation on their stance whether to promulgate a law to compensate kith and kin of those killed by the security forces.
A single bench of Justice Top Bahadur Magar, responding to a writ petition, issued the notices. The petition was filed seeking compensation from the government for the deaths of 17 road construction workers at the hands of the army.
The bench also said the SC would hear the case along with a similar case filed to seek compensation for the killing of a UML activist Umesh Chandra Thapa who has been named by the government as a martyr.
Justice Balram KC had already issued show cause notices to the government authorities to explain whether there is a need to promulgate a law to compensate such persons’ families

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Nepalese lawyer louds UN role
Advocate Dinesh Tripathi on the Convention "Nepal Today." organised in United Nations Association said that King force to step-down under the historic, courageous movement of Nepali people. Nepali people have shown tremendous courage and brevity against ruthless, authoritarian and military regime of the king. April revolution of Nepal is set an example in the contemporary world. April evolution of Nepal established the example that people are ultimate master of their own fate and bold and courageous step of people could transform the society and topple down even well organized military regime. Historic changes are taking place in Nepal currently. But Nepal’s journey toward full and complete democracy is not the free of risk and challenges. There is whole lot of risk and challenges are ahead.
He told futher that Nepal’s democratization process is full of risk and obstacle. King is down but he is not out. Military is still not under civilian control. No credible peace process is started yet. Nation has long way to go to establish full and genuine democracy and ensure a socio economic justice for vast majority of people. Nepal has to chart a new course of the history to implement the mandate and aspiration of April Revolution. People are aspiring a polity based on human rights, rule of law and democratic republication. People want be full sovereign and want to make new Constitution by themselves and for themselves.
World community must give its active support to democratization process of Nepal. UN System has bigger role to play in this context. UN should actively and creatively engage in the Nepal ‘s democracy building and peace process. UN should facilitate credible peace process and provide its expertise and resources to build sustainable peace and democratic institution in Nepal. UN ‘s role could be important in this context. UN has resources and credibility. Under the UN charter member states are agreed to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms. At this point Nepal needs huge humanitarian operation too.
Nepal must immediately ratified Rome statute of International Criminal court. ICC could be the most effective tool to end impunity and conduct free and impartial trial. Perpetrator must be held accountable and must be punished for their misdeeds. Un should also exert pressure to the Nepali government to ratify to ICC convention otherwise it should consider creating a special tribunal for Nepal to conduct fair trial. Now both the party should abide by the norms of international human rights and Geneva Convention. UN should closely monitor the behavior of both parties. No one should allow violating the code of conduct and disrupting the peace process. This is the defining moment in our history but our democratization process is still very weak and fragile. Failure of successful management of peace and democratic transition in Nepal will lead toward the total disaster. It will also create a huge problem of regional peace and security. It will have a big regional implication. So stakes are very high and world community should creatively and actively engage in the Nepal ‘s democratic peace building process and extend helping hand.
SC orders smoking ban in public places

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered the government to ban smoking in all public places.

A division bench of justices Anup Raj Sharma and Rajendra Prasad Koirala passed the order this afternoon.

The apex court also ordered the government to ban the advertisements of cigarettes and tobacco products in the print media.

Ordering the government to create public awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco use, the SC also asked the government to formulate an appropriate law on smoking.

A non-governmental organization had filed a public interest litigation at the SC asking for the ban a year ago.

The court order will have serious effects on advertising in the print media.
Indian court three year sentence to Gajurel
An Indian court on Monday has handed down a three-year-sentence to a senior Maoist leader, C. P. Gajurel, who is currently being held in India on charge of passport forgery.

According to BBC, Gajurel is likely to be freed in a few weeks time as he has already spent 34 months in Indian prison. Details were not immediately available.

Indian police in Chennai had arrested Gajurel in August 2003 on charge of attempting to board a flight to London on a forged passport and booked him under the National Security Act.

Upon his return from Delhi on Friday, Prime Minister G P Koirala said Indian authorities were positive towards releasing Maoist leaders and cadres currently being held in India. According to the CPN (M), nearly 140 Maoist leaders and cadres including senior leader Mohan Baidya are still behind bars in India on various charges.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Govt. scraps TADO

The government has scraped the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Ordinance (TADO) with effect from Monday.

The meting of the council of ministers held Monday morning at the prime minister's residence at Baluwatar took the decision, a minister told Nepalnews. The government has also withdrawn the charges imposed on Maoist activists under the ordinance.

The TADO allowed security forces to detain persons accused of terrorism for a year without taking them to court. The ordinance had permitted such detention for 90 days when it was first promulgated in 2002.

The cabinet also took decision to form a Media Council under the chairmanship of the member of the National Assembly and senior advocate Radheshyam Adhikari. Members of the council will include president of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ), coordinator of Save the Independent Radio Movement (SIRM), and presidents of Nepal Press Union, Press Chautari Nepal and Sancharika Samuha. The director general of the Information Department is member secretary of the council. The council will hand over its first report after two months.

The government also decided to appoint Kul Chanda Wagle, former president of Nepal Press Union, as the advisor at the Ministry of Information and Communication.Similarly, the cabinet meeting finalized regulations regarding functioning of the council of ministers, radio reports said. It is expected to be tabled at today's session of the parliament, after which the parliament will be in recess
Criminal suspects arrested

Police on Sunday arrested 20 suspects involved in different sorts of crime. Among those arrested are the criminals, who allegedly shot at Dr. Hemang Dixit and Dr. Bir Bahan Rana of Kathmandu Medical College.The suspects were presented before the press at the district police office in Hanuman Dhokha.According to police, one, who called himself as Sandeep Pathak, has been arrested for attempted murder of the two doctors for not giving millions in 'donations'.

Police said he had repeatedly demanded for the money and had given death threats if the doctors decline to yield to his demand.Pathak had shot at Dr. Rana in front of the college at about 10:00 a.m. on Poush 4, 2062 BS, but he survived. Dr. Dixit was shot at Baneshwore Height at about 8:50 am on Baishak 21, 2063 B.S. and was severely wounded. He also survived.Police said Sandeep was part of a gang of criminals involved in demanding extortion money from different medical colleges, organisations and manpower companies.Police have arrested five of the gang who were involved in attempted murder.

They are: Ramchandra Khanal, 39, of Deurali VDC, Man Bahadur Karki, 25, of Majhuwa VDC; Jhalak Basnet, 32, of Namjung VDC all of them from Gorkha district; Prakash Chhetri, 27 of Ratnanagar and Ganesh Jung Ghimire, 37, of Panchakanya of Chitwan district.

Police also arrested four who were involved in extortion. They were arrested while they were forcibly collecting money. They are: Hom Bahadur Khatri, 30, of Gamnang VDC; Jit Bahadur Khatri, 25, who was the younger son of Hom Bahadur, Ganesh Karki, 25, of Tulashi VDC of Dhanusha district, Santosh Khadka, 29, of Gaurigaunj VDC of Jhapa district.

While, Milan Lama who called himself as Sandip Pathak,31, of Kamalamai municipality, Akash K.C, 26, of Hatapatte VDC and Kedar Shrestha of about 27 years of age are still at large. They are all from Sindhuli district.Arrested gang used to call them a group of 'international spider group' whenever they were forcibly collecting money.

Lama was currently living in India, said the police. Police have suspected that Lama had a link with a criminal gang in India.Police have found cash Rs. 50,000 from Hom Bahadur Khatri, motorcycle with plate no. Ba.1 Pa 1157 and a mobile set. Likewise police seized one motorcycle with plate no. Ba. 9 Pa 2912 and cash Rs. 50,000 from Milan Lama while it recovered one set of knife, mobile and a motorcycle with plate No. Ba. 11 Pa 2549 from Santosh Khadka.

Likewise, four of the thieves who robbed the house of Rekh Bahadur Karki at Pepsi Cola have been arrested. They had robbed the house of Karki on June 4.The arrested criminals are: Tek Bahadur Bohara, 19, of Laxmipur VDC of Salyan district, Ajay Lama of Deurali VDC, who is currently living in a rented room at Samakhusi, Rajan Lama, 20, of Sawari VDC of Nuwakot and Ganesh Lama,20, of Deurali VDC of Nuwakot.

Police have recovered Rs. 1,50,000 and one motorcycle with plate no. Ba. 15 Pa 5832 from the thieves. They looted cash Rs. 4,00000 from the house of Karki.Similarly, five pick-pocketers were also arrested from different places of the Kathmandu Valley.Those arrested are: Bijaya Lama,26, of Barhabishe VDC of Sindhupalchowk district, Dilip Lama, 27, of Lisankhu VDC, Bijaya Lama, 21, Lisankhu VDC Ajaya Lama, 23, of Amuledanda VDC and Anil Lama,19, of Atarpul VDC.Police have also seized cash Rs. 10,000 from those arrested.

Likewise, two persons were arrested on charges of stealing a motorcycle. Those arrested are Nima Lama, 20, of Okhaldhunga district and and Tek Bahadur Magar, 20, of Tilpung of Ramechhap district. Magar was living at Balaju in a rented room.

Supreme Court vacated order

The Supreme Court on Sunday vacated its 10-day-old stay order against the government's order to the Moondrops Overseas not to send workers to South Korea.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and Tahir Ali Ansari issued the order to vacate previous SC stay order, issued on June 1 by a single bench of Judge Pawan Kumar Ojha, that had allowed the company to send workers to South Korea.The court on Sunday said there is no need to continue the stay order issued by the single bench on June 1 because the issue is to be settled by the court while delivering a final decision on the case.
The government, as per the Clause 20 of the Foreign Employment Act 1992, had simply ordered the manpower agency not to send workers to South Korea and therefore the issue would be decided in final decision of the case, the bench said.

Sunday's decision prevents the Moondrops Overseas Company to send 695 trainee workers selected recently and the 167 workers who were selected in 2004 to South Korea.

The government had ordered the company not to send the workers to South Korea after it refused to follow the government direction to send 10 per cent workers selected by the government.

Law on real estate business soon

The government is set to introduce an Act on Real Estate business to control haphazard urbanisation through regulations that allow the transaction of only the plotted lands."In the absence of relevant laws on Real Estate business, the people have adopted the practice of purchasing small land, especially in areas having farms to make houses,"said Purna Kadariya, director general at the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DoUDBC).
"We have made all preparation to send the draft of the Act to the parliament to pass it,"he said. "The rampant urbanisation will be stopped after its enactment, he added.He said that the Act would make provisions requiring the people willing to run the Real Estate business to register their firms in the government offices including the Company Registrar's Office and Tax office."They should also ensure that that the land was well plotted and had no legal problems,"Kadariya said.
The Real Estate dealers are not registered with any government office and the government has been unable to collect any tax from them against their income.Highlighting the feature of the drafted Act, he said if anybody wanted to develop a plot for more than 50 families and he or she didn't get the way to reach the plot, the government would encroach the land to construct the road there.
"The government can help the plot developer to develop the land by not compromising the size of the land even if there is sewerage as per the provision of the draft Act,"he said."The Act will benefit the state to develop planned urbanisation, collect tax through which people are assured of good plot,"Kadariya said. "The businessmen get benefit of bank loan easily and they need not conduct their work secretly,"he added.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

HoR Regulations provision to be amended

The provision in the proposed House of Representatives (HoR) Regulations that requires the Supreme Court (SC) justices to swear in before a Special Committee of the House will be changed before the endorsement of the Regulations, an SC source said.

A meeting between the full court of SC justices and a team of parliamentarians led by Law Minister Anand Dhungana Friday afternoon agreed to amend the provision.

All justices of the Apex Court including Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and general secretary of the Parliament Secretariat, Surya Kiran Gurung and secretary of Nepali Congress Parliamentary Party Benup Raj Prasai were present in the meeting.

The proposed HoR Regulations require the SC justices including the Chief Justice to swear in before a Special Committee of the HoR.

"As per the agreement between the two sides, the Chief Justice will swear in the justices," the source said, adding, "In case of the Chief Justice, the meeting proposed that he take the oath of office and secrecy in presence of other justices or through any other provision as taking oath from the king was out of question in the changed situation."

Minister Dhungana and other MPs went to the Apex Court in the afternoon to "discuss and resolve the issue" after an emergency meeting of the full court of SC justices this morning decided not to swear in before House.

The SC justices decided not to take the oath of office and secrecy before the Special Committee of the HoR saying it would be against the principle of independence of the judiciary.

It may be recalled that the judiciary and the legislative were at loggerheads some years back as parliament prepared an anti-corruption bill that proposed to authorize the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to take action against corrupt judges. The move was later aborted.

Friday, June 09, 2006

SC Judges Not to Take Oath Before House

Emergency meeting of the full Supreme Court today decided that the judges will not go to the House of Representatives to take their oath of office and secrecy.The decision was taken after the Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel called an emergency meeting of the full Supreme Court this morning. The meeting was called to discuss the proposed House of Representatives Regulations that make it mandatory for apex court justices to take their oath of office and secrecy before a special committee of parliament.
"We take a decision not to go to parliament to take oath since it would be against the principle of independence of the judiciary. Taking the oath before parliament means, the judiciary should be obliged to parliament," Justice Anupraj Sharma told reporters after the meeting.
SC emergency meet to discuss House regulations
Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel has called an emergency meeting of the full Supreme Court for Friday morning to discuss the proposed House of Representatives Regulations that make it mandatory for apex court justices to take their oath of office and secrecy before a special committee of parliament. According to Supreme Court justices, the full court, the apex policy making body of the judiciary, is likely to take an unanimous decision not to take oath as per the new provision proposed by the House.
The emergency meeting of the full court has been called two days before parliament is likely to pass the new House of Representatives Regulations. The regulations have already been tabled in parliament for discussion and are likely to be passed on Saturday.Chief Justice Poudel called the meeting after an informal discussion with colleagues during tea time at his office. The meeting discussed the proposed regulations Thursday as well.
It may be recalled that the judiciary and the legislative branch were at loggerheads some years back as parliament prepared an anti-corruption bill that proposed to authorize the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to take action against corrupt judges. The move was later aborted.
SC issued directive order

The Supreme Court Thursday issued a directive order to submit report on minimising the use of tear gas during mass demonstration by forming a committee of experts from health, environment, science and education sectors.
A special bench comprising SC justices Balram K.C., Khil Raj Regmi and Gauri Dhakal issued the order in response to a writ petition filed by Dhanjaya Khanal claiming that the provision to use tear gas contravenes with Article 12 (1) of the Constitution of 1990.
SC judges dissatisfied with proposed HoR regulations

Two Supreme Court judges have expressed dissatisfaction over a provision of the House of Representatives (HoR) regulation tabled before the House which stated Chief Justice and other Justices of the SC require taking oath of office once again before a parliament committee.Speaking at a programme in the capital on Thursday Justice Anup Raj Sharma said honest judges would prefer to step down rather than surrender their conscience before the House. "This is the beginning of another form of anarchy soon after one form anarchy was toppled," Sharma said.Saying it as a serious issue on part of an independent judiciary, another Justice Min Bahadur Rajamajhi has been quoted by The Himalayan Times as saying that, "The House wants to bring the judiciary under it forcibly.
This is against the independence of the judiciary, the separation of powers and the principle of checks and balances."The judges said declaration is neither a part of the constitution nor an interim statute since the 1990 constitution is still functioning.Clause 238 of the proposed HoR regulations mentions that the CJ, other Justices of the SC and judges of all courts will have to take the oath before a Special Committee of the House or they will be dismissed.It has been learnt that Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel had held informal discussions with the apex court judges on the issue on Thursday. The formal meeting is scheduled for Friday to discuss the matter.
President of Nepal Bar Association (NBA), Shambhu Thapa, urged the member of the parliaments not to attack on the independence of the judiciary."If the MPs think they know everything, they can take the charges of the judges, but they should not attack the judiciary and the rule of law," Thapa said. "Stop every action against the morale of the judges," he said, adding "There is no need for the judges to take the oath of office before the House."He also accused the House of coming up with a regulation that 'attacked' the judiciary even though the Speaker of the House, Subhas Chandra Nemwang, held discussions with the Justices and the NBA before preparing the same."There is no need for the judges to take the oath of office before the House. They can, however, take it in the name of the people," he said.
Thapa was speaking at a programme organised to launch a book, Sambidhan, Sambidhanbad, Sambidhan Shabha ani Rajyako Punarsamrachana, written by Advocate Chandra Kanta Gyawali. The book was launched by SC Justice Anup Raj Sharma. Thapa also urged the MPs to impeach 'worthless' judges and not threaten 'honest' ones.
While Attorney General Yagyamurti Banjade said the rule of law and the independence of judiciary still exist in the country, Gyawali urged everybody to respect the rule of law and the judiciary's independence.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Interim constitution needed : Legal Experts

Legal experts stressed the need for an interim constitution to legalise the recent achievements of the movement and the declaration of the House of Representatives (HoR). Speaking at an interaction in the capital on Friday Constitutional law expert Purna Man Shakya urged the government to promulgate a new constitution to give legal validity to yesterday's declaration and to make arrangements to prevent constitutional vacuum.
He said there are enough experts in the country to draft an interim constitution, if the politicians needed.Shakya said political decisions would not always be applicable unless they are transformed into laws and no one can question yesterday's House declaration if it is given shape of a legal document. Former Supreme Court Judge, Laxman Prasad Aryal, said the process to promulgate a new constitution has already started with the declaration. "
Since the House passed a resolution to promulgate a new constitution, the 1990 constitution is no more in force," he added. Advocate Bhimarjun Acharya seriously questioned the supremacy of the House as declared on Thursday. Acharya also said it is not good to make the Supreme Court under the Parliament by strapping the apex court of its power of judicial review. "The declaration intends to escape from an election to a constituent assembly," said advocate Mukti Pradhan.
HoR regulations tabled

The much awaited draft regulations that seeks to further curtail the king’s privileges and ensure sweeping power to the parliament was tabled at the House of Representatives (HoR) Wednesday.Nepal Peasants and Workers Party (NWPP) chairman Narayan Man Bijukchhe, who headed a 13-member drafting committee, tabled the HoR regulations.The draft proposes to do away with the concept of “king in parliament” adopted by the constitution of the 1990.
If ratified, which is certain, the King will no more be a part of the parliament and the provision to send legislatures passed by the HoR to the Royal Palace for royal seal will become void.As per the proposal, bills passed by the House will become law after certification by the speaker. Similarly, instead of the King, the Prime Minister will be presenting the policies and programs to the parliament while parliament sessions will be called by the speaker at the recommendation of the Prime Minister and the speaker can also end the session.
The proposal states that provisions regarding the appointment of heir to the throne will be as per separate laws to be formulated by the House.
A 19-member Special Security Committee will take decisions regarding the mobilization of the Nepali Army on the proposal of the Prime Minister, the proposal states. Earlier, matters related to the army’s mobilisation will be looked after by the Security Council.
Likewise, the appointment of heads of constitutional bodies and diplomatic missions will be made by the government with approval from an all-party parliamentary committee. Earlier, approval of the King was mandatory for such appointments.The special committee will comprise of the Prime Minister, speaker, deputy speaker, defence minister, finance minister, foreign affairs minister, law and parliamentary affairs minister, leader of the main opposition party and representatives of various political parties representing in the House.
Presenting the regulations at the House, NWPP leader Bijukchhe said the proposal aims to establish parliamentary supremacy in line with the people’s movement and the parliamentary declaration of May 18
Mainwhile Members of Parliament (MPs) on Wednesday accused the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) of implicating Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala in amassing property disproportionate to his income without any ground. They also said that the anti-graft body gave Koirala a clean chit without divulging the details.The MPs were speaking in a programme 'Ratification of UN Convention Against Corruption' organised by REMAC, Nepal, in the capital."The CIAA should make it clear on what ground it accused our leader and why it is not giving details about its so-called clean chit," MP Ram Nath Adhikary said. He also accused the anti-graft body of being a weapon of the King during his direct rule and implicating other political leaders in corruption.
Adhikary also demanded the CIAA take action against ministers of the royal cabinet, including Dr Tulsi Giri and Kamal Thapa, who "misused" the state treasury.MPs Govinda Bahadur Shah and Shiv Basnet also accused the CIAA of implicating leaders in corruption during the King's rule without strong evidence. They further said the CIAA did not do much to check corruption during the King's rule.MP Bharat Kumar Shah said the CIAA should make public the reasons for launching investigations against political leaders. He also demanded an appropriate mechanism to take action against corrupt officials of the judiciary, army and the police.MP NP Saud called upon the CIAA to prove whether its action against the leaders was just.MPs Raghuji Pant and Chitra Bahadur KC said political commitment and tough laws are needed to curb corruption.
Chief Commissioner of the CIAA, Surya Nath Upadhayay, however, said the CIAA commissioners are ready to face the State Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives on the issue. "We have prepared a report on the investigations and we are ready to submit it if it wants," he said.Upadhayay also said the CIAA had investigated high-ranking politicians following recommendation from the high-level judicial probe commission. He added that the CIAA had faced difficulties during the King's direct rule. He said the CIAA should not be condemned as as it is an autonomous body.
SC refuses to take up case against HoR Declaration

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to test the constitutionality of the Declaration of the House of Representatives.Advocate Achyut Prasad Kharel had filed the petition a few days ago stating that since almost all the provisions of the Declaration contradicted the 1990 Constitution, the apex court should test its constitutionality.
He also claimed that as the declaration was not a constitution and as it did not amend the 1990 statute, it cannot be taken as superior to the existing Constitution.He also claimed that the Declaration passed by the House on May 18 cannot be legal as it is only a political document.Registrar of the SC Dr Ram Krishna Timalsena formally rejected a writ petition challenging the proclamation.“
Since Clause 9 of the Declaration states that the provisions of the 1990 Constitution and existing laws would be automatically nullified if they contradicted the House proclamation, there is no need to test the constitutionality of the Declaration,” the rejection directive passed by Timalsena said. The petition was rejected as per Rule 27(2) (3) of the Supreme Court Regulation, 1992.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Army refutes report

In a reply to the Supreme Court, Nepalese Army (NA) has expressed ignorance about the arrest and detention of a suspected Maoist, said to have been arrested on August 21, 2003. The army's reply is contradictory to reports of national and international rights organizations.

On May 29 this year, chief of the Bhairabnath Battalion Rajendra Jung Khatri told the court in writing that the battalion had never arrested nor detained Chetnath Dhungana alias C N Dhungana. Khatri also expressed ignorance on the whereabouts of Dhungana.

However, separate reports prepared by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) said Dhungana was arrested and detained by the battalion in 2003.

According to the NHRC report submitted to the court, Dhungana was last seen in the battalion on December 20, 2003. "On that day he was taken away in a truck to an unknown destination," said the NHRC report.

Similarly, according to the OHCHR report released recently, Dhungana's name figures in the list of 49 suspected Maoists made to disappear from the battalion in 2003. All the 49 are feared killed.

In its reply to the court, the army has questioned the authenticity of the NHRC report. "The report is not based on facts. So the habeas corpus petition of Dhungana be quashed," NA told the court.
Interim statute a must: Ex justice

Two of the drafters of the existing constitution Former Supreme Court Justice Laxman Aryal and former minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari said the government and Maoist negotiators should agree to promulgate an interim statute to govern the transitional situation during their next dialogue."It should not be made an issue of debate during the talks," said Aryal, speaking at an interaction organized by the new faction of People's Front Nepal led by Chitra Bahadur KC.
"Even the interim statute that we are talking about should be promulgated through the sovereign House," Aryal said."All contentious issues will be automatically settled once the transitional legislative body is set up and an interim executive is formed through it," Aryal added. Adhikari who is also a senior leader of the ruling seven-party alliances said an interim statute was felt urgent for smooth progress in the talks. "
The declaration of the House of Representatives is not sufficient to govern the situation ahead.'Both the speakers, however, suggested that present House of Representatives should not be dissolved until another sovereign institution is set up.

Show cause notices issued

Supreme Court has issued show cause notices to government authorities on the detention of former Home Minister Kamal Thapa and former Local Development Minister Tanka Dhakal.

The apex court ordered the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Kathmandu District Administration Office, the Police Paharagan and the Police Academy to furnish reasons for putting the duo in preventive detention within three days.Following today’s hearing, a single bench of justice Tahir Ali Ansari issued the notices to the authorities in response to separate habeas corpus petitions filed by advocate Namaraj Karki.
The bench also sought explanations from Thapa and Dhakal whether they have been allowed to meet their relatives, as the petitioner claimed that the authorities have not been providing facilities to the detained former ministers.

The former ministers have been in 90-day preventive detention since May 12. The state has accused them of posing a threat to people’s sovereignty and the rights achieved through the people’s movement.

Contempt of court case against army officials
A contempt of court case was filed today in the Supreme Court seeking action against the Chief of the Legal Department of the Nepal Army, BA Kumar Sharma and chief of the Rajdalgan barracks, Pradeep Kumar Adhikary.

The duo has been accused of misleading the court on the detention of three people. Filing the case, Ranju Darnal, a relative of the three persons Ranjit Darnal, Amrit Darnal and Rajendra chaurel claimed that the army officials misled the apex court while submittingexplanations on the trio’s detention.

“They misled the court by saying that the army did not detain them though they have been detained at the Rajdalgan barracks,” the petitioner claimed.

She said the army had arrested them three years ago on charges of being Maoist sympathisers.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Case related detianed will be preference : CJ

Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel has said the Supreme Court will give preference to cases relating to persons detained in various jails, who have been waiting for court decisions.

CJ Poudel said this during a meeting with a delegation of members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Tuesday.

“Chief Justice Poudel said the court will show interest in cases of persons who have been kept in detention for a long time while the court procedure is underway and that legal procedure will start as early as possible,” a statement issued by the NHRC said.

The NHRC team had also apprised the CJ about the facts obtained by the NHRC following its monitoring of jails around the country. The delegation comprised of commission members Sushila Singh Silu, Sudeep Pathak and Gokul Pokhrel.

Mainwhile Inmates of the Nakhu Jail on Tuesday took their Jailer under control, demanding a general amnesty.

They have demanded the release of all prisoners along with the prisoners of conscience asking Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula to carry out dialogue with the prisoners.

The inmates of the Nakhu Jail have threatened to keep Jailer Ram Prasad Bhattarai under their control until their demands are met.

There are about 300 inmates at Nakhu Jail along with the Maoist prisoners.

Although the government ordered the release of all Maoist prisoners recently, some of them are still in detention due to legal procedures.
Ex-ministers Thapa, Dhakal move SC for release

A day after the Supreme Court (SC) ordered the release of three ministers of the erstwhile royal regime, two other detained former ministers filed habeas corpus writ petitions at the SC Monday.
Former ministers Kamal Thapa and Tanka Dhakal filed the writ petition through their attorney, Nam Raj Karki, challenging the legality of their detention under the Public Security Act (PSA).
Then home minister Thapa and local development minister Dhakal were arrested on May 12 along with three other former ministers of the King’s cabinet, Ramesh Nath Pandey, Shris Shumsher Rana and Nikshay Shumsher Rana and were sent to 90-day detention. Pandey and Rana-duo were released after an order by a full court of the SC Sunday.
Announcing its release order, the apex court said there were no legal grounds to keep them under detention.
The SC is, however, yet to set the date for hearing on their case

Monday, June 05, 2006

Nepal decleared untouchability, discrimination free country
A meeting of the House of Representatives (HoR) on Sunday declared Nepal as an untouchability-and-discrimination-free country.

The historic declaration came after a discussion on a proposal of urgent public importance tabled by CPN-UML lawmaker Parashuram Meghi Gurung. The declaration is expected to act as an important breakthrough in creating an equitable society by bringing together dalits and backward groups into the national mainstream.

The proposal, passed unanimously by the HoR, will ensure a fair representation of dalits, comprising almost 22 percent of the population, in the process of forming the constituent assembly and a new constitution.

The proposal was seconded by Hari Acharya of People's Front Nepal (PFN), Ram Hari Dhungel of Nepali Congress (NC), Tanka Prasad Rai of NC-D and Govinda Bikram Shah of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) while MPs Lila Mani Pokharel, Tara Meyangbo, Janak Raj Giri, Yadav Bahadur Rayamajhi and Bhakta Bahadur Balayar participated in the discussion supporting the proposal.

"The practice of untouchability will now onwards be considered as a social crime and the government will enact laws in such a way that the inhuman and discriminatory practice is more punishable," Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bikram Nembang told the House prior to tabling of the proposal for decision. He also assured the House that a new Bill will soon be introduced in this regard.

He also assured that the government would make special arrangements for dalits in education and employment sectors, besides the ongoing provision of scholarships for dalit students in schools and reservations in higher studies.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Release three former ministers:SC
The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the government to release three ministers of the erstwhile royal cabinet, Ramesh Nath Pandey, Shris Shumshere Rana and Nikshya Shumshere Rana.
Terming their detention as unconstitutional, a full bench of the SC comprising Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and justices Min Bahadur Raymajhi, Ram Nagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma and Khil Raj Regmi issued the order.
The case was presented before the full court after a division bench of Justices Kedar Prasad Giri and Tapa Bahadur Magar failed to decide it, citing legal complexities.
After hearings on habaes corpus petitions filed by former minister Ramesh Nath Pandey, former minister of state Shrish Shumsher Rana and former assistant minister Nikshya Shumsher Rana, a full bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel ordered the government to immediately release the three former ministers saying that the court found that "they were being held without adequate basis and reasons."
Advocate Tika Ram Adhikary had filed a habeas corpus petition two weeks ago, seeking release of the former ministers claiming that the government had detained them illegally.The seven-party alliance (SPA) government formed after the reinstatement of the House of Representatives had detained five former ministers in the erstwhile royal cabinet.
Former home minister Kamal Thapa, former foreign minister Ramesh Nath Pandey and former state minister for information and communication Shris Shumshere Rana were arrested on May 12 following a government decision.
Two other ministers in the royal cabinet, Tanka Dhakal and Nikshhya Shumshere Rana were also detained.Pandey, Shris Shumshere and Nikshya Shumshere had filed separate habeas corpus writ petition at the Apex Court following their arrest. Thapa and Dhakal did not seek any legal remedy against their detention.
All the arrested ministers had been handed a 90-day detention letter.
The ministers were arrested for "trying to suppress the recent pro-democracy movement" following immense public pressure and apparently a recommendation by the high-level judicial commission formed under the chairmanship of former SC justice Krishna Jung Raymajhi to probe the "excessive use of force" by the royal regime to suppress the prodemocracy movement.

Friday, June 02, 2006

No constitutional question anymore : AG

Attorney General Yagyamurti Banjade told the Supreme Court, that the government does not have to abide by the 1990 Constitution.

“Since the political regime has already changed, the 1990 Constitution may not be followed in the changed context,” Banjade said. “The House itself declared that it is the supreme body of the nation and the provisions of the existing Constitution and laws cannot apply if they contradicted with the declaration. So there is no question of going by the existing Constitution,” he said.

Banjade was arguing in the case testing the legality of the detention of former ministers Ramesh Nath Pandey, Shrish Sumsher Rana and Nikshya Sumsher Rana before a full bench comprising Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and Justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Ram Nagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma and Khil Raj Regmi. The Chief Justice put Justice Regmi on the bench after Justice Kedar Prasad Giri declined to be a member of the bench hearing the case. Banjade also claimed that King Gyanendra had transferred the state authority to the people and reinstated the House and as such there is no ground to test the government’s action.

He added that the former ministers were taken into preventive detention because they had started hatching conspiracies against the achievement of the Jana Andolan and they had suppressed the people’s movement by misusing power. Deputy AG Dorna Raj Regmi said there was no need to follow the SC’s precedents in the changed context.

Pleading on behalf of the former ministers, senior advocate Ganesh Raj Sharma argued that since the former ministers had advised the King to reinstate the House and to transfer power to the people, it was illogical to detain them. “The former ministers had contributed inestablishing Loktantra and as such it is wrong to detain them,” Sharma added.

He sought their release as it was illegal to detain them without any valid ground. “There is a need to tell the government in judicial language that there is nobody above the Constitution and the rule of law,” he added.

Advocates Bishnu Bhattarai and Balkrishna Neupane also termed the detention illegal and urged the court to release the former ministers.
The case has been deferred till next Sunday.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

SC full court starts hearing on ex-ministers case

The full court of the Supreme Court started hearing on the habeas corpus writ petition filed by three ministers of the erstwhile royal regime on Thursday.

The full court comprising Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel and justices Kedar Prasad Giri, Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Ram Nagina Singh and Anup Raj Sharma heard the case filed by detained former ministers Ramesh Nath Pandey, Shrish Shumsher Rana and Nikshya Shumsher Rana.

Senior advocate Ganesh Raj Sharma and advocate Bal Krishna Neupane presented arguments from the petitioners’ side while defense attorneys are scheduled to debate in the next hearing.
The case was presented before the full court on Tuesday after a division bench of Justices Kedar Prasad Giri and Tapa Bahadur Magar failed to decide it, citing legal complexities.

The full court had deferred hearing on the case on Tuesday after the bench was divided as to whether Justice Giri could be part of it.

Former ministers Pandey and Rana-duo were arrested and sent to preventive detention on May 12 along with two other key ministers of the royal regime – Kamal Thapa and Tanka Dhakal. They had filed a habeas corpus writ on May 16, challenging the government’s decision to detain them.

The five former ministers have been handed three-month detention warrants under the Public Security Act