Monday, July 31, 2006

Lt General Katuwal follows in Army Chief's footsteps, defies HLPC summon

Lieutenant General Rukmangat Katuwal, did not attend the High Level Probe Commission's (HLPC) summon to record his statement over his alleged role in suppressing the April movement on Monday.

Katuwal, who had been asked by the HLPC to be present at its office by 11 today, did not turn up at the commission's office.

A letter sent to the HLPC yesterday by the defense ministry stated that Katuwal would not be able to attend the HLPC office to record his statement, said HLPC spokesperson Dilli Raman Acharya.

The letter also stated that Katuwal and other army officials summoned by the HLPC would record their statements only after Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Thapa does so.

Major Generals Kiran Shumshere Thapa, Kul Bahadur Khadka, Gajendra Limbu and Colonel Suresh Kumar Karki were also scheduled to appear before the commission on Tuesday to record their statements for their alleged roles in suppressing the April uprising.

Yesterday, CoAS Thapa had refused to appear before the HLPC saying he had to go to Pokhara "as scheduled in advance."

Soon after coming into power, the Seven Party Alliance government had formed the HLPC under the coordination of former Supreme Court justice Krishna Jung Raymajhi to investigate the atrocities committed by the security forces, administrators and officials of the erstwhile royal regime to suppress the 19-day April movement which ended King Gyanendra's direct rule.

Meanwhile, HLPC Coordinator Raymajhi has accused the government of not supporting it in its investigation.

Raymajhi made the allegations answering to journalists a day after CoAS Thapa snubbed the commission on Sunday.

Raymajhi also made clear that though there were some differences of opinion between the government and the commission, the commission had chosen to keep mum "sensing some untoward results."

Saying that he was always dissatisfied by the government's attitude, Raymajhi claimed he would go to the public if any major hindrances are created in the commission's interrogation process.

Raymajhi said that if the flouting of interrogation summons are repeated, "the commission would get hold of them and would record their statements." He claimed that the commission had the authority to do so.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

No Reason To Suspend COAS: SC

The Supreme Court today ruled that there were no reasons to suspend the Chief of Army Staff General Pyar Jung Thapa in a case filed by HURON demanding SC order to suspend Thapa for accusing him of playing a role in the killing and suppression of people during the people’s movement, disappearance of citizens and extra-judicial killing of commoners and Maoists.

The court gave the verdict responding to a petition filed on behalf of HURON, a human rights organization, demanding Thapa’s suspension. Advocates Baburam Giri, Ashik Ram Karki and Borna Bahadur Karki had appealed to the Supreme Court to suspend Thapa. They had moved the court after the government did not suspend Thapa, unlike the chiefs of other security bodies, following the success of the movement.

CoAS Thapa defers summon of Rayamajhi commission

The Chief of the Army Staff (CoAS) General Pyar Jung Thapa deferred summon of the high-level judicial probe commission formed to investigate the atrocities committed to suppress pro-democracy movement of the country.

Sending a letter to the Commission, CoAS informed that he could not attend the commission to file statement at the Commission, as he has to go Pokhara for some important work.

The commission is yet to decide on re-summoning Thapa.

The commission led by former Justice of Supreme Court Krishna Jung Rayamajhi had summoned chief of the Nepali Army, General Pyar Jung Thapa, his deputy, Lt General Rukmangad Katuwal, and a former Major General in connection with their alleged role in suppressing the people’s movement-II on Thursday.

The commission asked CoAS Thapa and Lt General Katuwal to appear before the commission on July 30 and July 31 respectively to record their statement regarding the use of excessive force against the pro-democracy agitators by the security agencies under the command of the Nepali Army, commission officials said.

Likewise, the commission summoned retired Major General and then head of the Valley Pritana (division), Deepak Bikram Rana, for interrogation on July 31.

The Nepali Army led the Unified Command, which was dissolved by the government recently, during the people’s movement.

Thapa faces accusations of aiding the king in his autocratic rule by distorting the reports received from different security bodies.

Soon after its formation, Rayamajhi commissionhad recommended the government to suspend the heads of all the four security bodies but the government played lenient in the case of Thapa.

A few days ago, the Supreme Court too had issued a "show cause" notice to the government for not suspending Thapa.

Deadline Ends, Panel Fails To Finalise Draft Statute

The Interim Constitution Drafting Committee (ICDC) on Saturday failed to submit the draft of the interim constitution to the seven-party alliance even after the expiry of the 25-day time given to it.

The committee headed by Laxman Aryal could not complete the drafting of the document owing to delay on the part of the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML in submitting their respective suggestions.

While CPN-UML is expected to submit its suggestion on Sunday, there is no word when the NC or NC (D) would submit their views since the discussion is still going on in the parties. The team is likely to be given an extension any time. Draft Committee (ICDC) were busy in Dhulikhel giving a final touch to the draft.

"We will complete the job in a week after the parties give their suggestions. CPN-Maoist has already given its suggestion," said Sindhunath Pyakurel, a member of the panel.

A joint meeting of the government and the CPN (Maoist) on June 16 had formed a six-member Committee headed by former Supreme Court justice Laxman Prasad Aryal.

After receiving heavy criticism by the Committee for not being inclusive, the Committee on July 15 decided to induct three more members to make it a nine-member committee, giving it a complete shape.

The constitution to be drafted by the committee would presage the future constitution to be drawn up by constituent assembly.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

SC seeks govt answer on Gen Thapa issue

Responding to a writ petition filed by pro-Maoist student leaders, the Supreme Court issued show cause notices to government authorities seeking clarification on the government’s stand on taking action against the Chief of Army Staff General Pyar Jung Thapa and some other high-ranking army officials.

A single bench of Justice Damodar Prasad Sharma issued the order following today’s hearing. The bench has given a 15-day time frame to the government authorities the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defence to reply.

The writ petitioners have demanded action against the chief of the Nepali Army Thapa and senior officers Raju Basnet, Bibek Bista, Indibur Rana and Dilip Rayamajhi, alleging that they tortured and killed Maoists detainees in army detention centres. The petitioners claimed that the army officials are responsible for the disappearance of 49 Maoists detainees from army barracks. The whereabouts of the 49 detainees are still unknown.

President of the Maoists student wing, ANNISU-R, Lekhnath Neupane, and other student leaders Krishna KC, Himal Sharma and Bina Magar jointly filed the petition yesterday alleging that these army officials tortured them and several other Maoists detainees. The bench also demanded clarifications from the Chief of Army Staff Thapa and the Chief of Nepal Police, Human Rights Cell of the Nepali Army, Bhairav Nath Barracks, NHRC and Kathmandu District Administration Office in this regard. The bench has put the issue on the priority list.

Rights Violations On: NHRC

The central office of the National Human Human Rights Commission (NHRC) received 43 complaints of human rights violations between June 27 and July 28 from the central region alone, said Yagya Adhikari, chief of the protection division of the NHRC.

Citing its data, the NHRC said killing of two individuals by the Maoists and one by security forces had been reported to the commission during the ceasefire period.

Pointing at the complaints about rights violations by the government and the Maoists even during the ceasefire period, the commission urged the government and the Maoists to immediately put an end to rights violations and bring the guilty to the book.

Out of 43 complaints, six are cases of disappearance while six are cases of abduction by the Maoists. The commission also received four complaints about the internally displaced people.

"The government and the Maoists should be accountable to human rights violations during the ceasefire and they should bring the guilty to the book," said Adhikari

Friday, July 28, 2006

2 yrs jail for caste discrimination

With a view to eliminate all discriminatory provisions and discourage the widespread practice of untouchability, the government has proposed up to two years jail term and Rs 10,000 in fine for culprits.

Through amendment to Clause 10 of the Conversion Chapter in the Civil Code, the government has proposed the jail term and fine for those preventing so-called low caste people from going to public places and facilities (such as religious sites, water taps, wells etc).

The law, however, will not be application to such places lying within private property.

The bill has also proposed a new clause in the Code, making any allegations, expulsions, social boycotts and all sorts of harassment of witches a punishable crime. One year jail term and Rs 5,000 fine will be slapped against those committing such crimes.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rayamajhi commission summons army chief, two others

The high-level judicial probe commission summoned chief of the Nepali Army, General Pyar Jung Thapa, his deputy, Lt General Rukmangad Katuwal, and a former Major General in connection with their alleged role in suppressing the people’s movement-II on Thursday.

The commission asked CoAS Thapa and Lt General Katuwal to appear before the commission on July 30 and July 31 respectively to record their statement regarding the use of excessive force against the pro-democracy agitators by the security agencies under the command of the Nepali Army, commission officials said.

Likewise, the commission summoned retired Major General and then head of the Valley Pritana (division), Deepak Bikram Rana, for interrogation on July 31.

This is for the first time the probe commission has summoned the top-ranking army officials for interrogation. The commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice has already interrogated former and incumbent chiefs of the Armed Police Force and the Nepal Police and over four dozen others regarding the atrocities committed during the movement in April this year.

The Nepali Army led the Unified Command, which was dissolved by the government recently, during the people’s movement. There were reports that then Home Minister Kamal Thapa used to give directions to security officials from the army headquarters to suppress the movement.

At least 21 people lost their lives and over 4,000 others were injured during the 19-day long movement that brought down King Gyanendra’s direct rule

Pakistan nationals released on bail

The Kathmandu District Court on Thursday released two Pakistani nationals who were arrested on charges of possessing explosives on Rs. 50,000 bail.

Nepal Police had arrested Gulam Hussein Chima of Lahore and Atta Muhaddin Siddhiqui of Karachi from Everest Hotel in Naya Baneshwor earlier this month in connection with possessing RDX back in 2001.

Nepal Police had seized 16 Kilograms of RDX from their room in Kathmandu on April 11, five years ago.

Siddhiqui and Hussein had arrived in Kathmandu from Pakistan on July 8, according to the police.

Two other Pak nationals were also arrested on the same day from a hotel in Jyatha but they were released later after preliminary investigation.
House Calls For Giving King's Powers To SC

To make existing laws compatible with the May 18 declaration of the House of Representatives, the government has put up a bill at the Parliament Secretariat to transfer the King's authority to the Supreme Court under judicial administration.

The government has proposed to amend the Judicial Administration Act 1991 to determine the number of Appellate Courts by the Supreme Court, with the consent of the Council of Ministers. Earlier, this power was exercised by the King, at the recommendation of the Council of Ministers and the Judicial Council as per Article 35(2) of the Constitution of 1990. The King also exercised the authority to fix the location of the Appellate Courts and District Courts, with the consent of the Council of Ministers.

The government has also proposed to amend Clause 3(2) of the 1991 Act. Minister for law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Narendra Bikram Nemwang proposed the bill to amend other several Acts to strip the powers of the King. The government also proposed to amend the Judicial Council Act 1990, stripping the King of the exclusive power to appoint the Secretary of the Judicial Commission headed by the Chief Justice.

The bill also proposed to amend provisions of existing laws wherein annual reports of constitutional bodies ought to be presented to the Prime Minister. Earlier, these reports used to be presented to the King.

The government has also proposed to amend the Pashupati Area Development Trust Act 1989, Trust Corporation Act 1976, Lumbini Development Trust 1985 and acts relating to several universities for declaring the Prime Minister as their patron, replacing the King, Queen and the Crown Prince as patrons of these bodies.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Rayamajhi commission grills eight royal administrators

The high-level judicial investigation commission interrogated eight former zonal administrators in connection with their alleged role in suppressing the people’s movement-II on Wednesday.

Former zonal administrators Dr Shayam Kishor Singh, Ramji Bista, Janak Jungali, Kumar Bahadur Karki, Rana Bahadur Chand, Lalit Bahadur Thapa Magar, Min Bahadur Pal and Mahendra Man Byathit recorded their statements at the commission’s office at Harihar Bhawan, Lalitpur.

While rest of the former zonal administrators denied any role in the brutal clampdown on the pro-democracy movement in the April movement, Singh said he was ready to take moral responsibility for the suppression.

He further said the then cabinet should also be responsible for the incidents during the movement. He was the zonal administrator of Mechi at that time.

The new government formed after the successful people’s movement had scrapped the zonal and regional administration offices and dismissed the administrators appointed by the royal regime.

The commission had issued summon notices to them on Monday.

The probe commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi has already interrogated over four dozen functionaries of the royal regime including former Chief Justice Hari Prasad Sharma, former speaker of the House of Representatives Tara Nath Ranabhat and the vice chairmen-duo of the royal cabinet – Dr Tulsi Giri and Kirti Nidhi Bista - for their alleged role against the people’s movement in April this year. At least 21 agitators were killed and over 4000 others injured during the movement.
House directs govt to ratify ICC Statute

The House of Representatives (HoR) Tuesday unanimously directed the Government for the immediate ratification of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Addressing house session Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs K P Oli committed on behalf of the government to take necessary steps for the ratification of the international humanitarian law.

The decision of the HoR to ratify the ICC Statute was an important commitment made by the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) during the popular movement in favour of human rights and humanity, Speaker Subash Nembang told The Rising Nepal.

The decision of the House has uplifted the dignity of nation in the international arena, as human rights activists and organisations have continuously raised the issue of ratification, Nembang added.

It would be another viable means to end state of impunity, after the ratification of the ICC Statute, he said.

Meanwhile, human rights activist have welcomed Tuesday's direction of HoR to ratify the ICC, but they simultaneously demanded that the government take necessary steps to be a signatory to the international statute.

More than hundred nations around the world have already ratified the ICC Statute.

Nepal has already ratified more than 16 international humanitarian laws.

New Foreign Employment Law On Anvil

With a view to streamline the foreign employment sector, the government is all set to bring a new Foreign Employment Law in the parliament soon.

"A draft Bill has already been prepared and once the Foreign Employment Advisory Board at the ministry of labour and transport management endorses it, we will table it in the House," disclosed Ramesh Lekhak, state minister for labour and transport management, on Tuesday.

According to him, the new law has proposed structural and institutional overhauling of the labour and foreign employment sectors, dismantling the existing department of labour and employment promotion into two separate entities department of foreign employment and department of labour.

"A separate department has been envisaged to ensure prompt and efficient delivery of services for both domestic labour and foreign employment issues," Lekhak added, "The government has felt the need for timely and relevant legal and institutional framework to promote employment more effectively."

To check increased cases of cheatings and charging of exorbitant amounts from aspirant job seekers, he said, the new law proposes to set up an independent tribunal, which will be authorised to deal with all cases related to cheating, fake documents and legal issues involved with foreign employment.

Lekhak further said that the proposed law will annul all restrictive provisions of the existing Foreign Employment Act 2042, making it open and free to all. "A high level Foreign Employment Promotion Board has been envisaged in order to make foreign employment sector more transparent, competitive and broad," he informed.

The board will comprise of senior government officials from line ministries, experts, private entrepreneurs and other concerned stakeholders and will work as a think-tank as well as policy advisor of the government.

The law will be gender friendly and all the discriminatory measures will be scrapped, ensuring equal opportunities for both men and women. While doing so, priorities will be given to Dalits, marginalised community and women, Lekhak said.

He further said that the new law would be promotional rather than traditional and restrictive, while measures will be taken to make manpower agencies more accountable, responsible and transparent.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

SC Scraps EC Verdict That Freezed RPP’s Election Symbol

The Supreme Court quashed the decision of the Election Commission (EC) to freeze the election symbol of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) led by Pashupati Shumsher Rana on Tuesday.

A division bench of Justices Anup Raj Sharma and Ram Kumar Prasad Shah in its verdict said that the decision of the EC be nullified as the election symbol ‘Plough’ belonged to the Rana-led RPP.

Rana had moved the apex court in January 2006, challenging the EC’s decision to freeze the election symbol after the RPP and its breakaway faction led by Kamal Thapa registered their claims over the ‘Plough’. Rana’s party had been accusing the EC of acting on the pressure of Thapa who was the Home Minister and a key functionary of the royal regime at that time.

Backed by some RPP members, Thapa went on to form his own party after he joined the royal government in 2005 claiming that his party to be the genuine RPP

Lawyers for clipping King’s wings in interim statute
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) today urged the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Laxman Prasad Aryal, not to provide any authority to the King in the interim statute.
In a meeting with the statute drafting panel members, the office bearers of the SCBA sought curtailing of King’s all powers provided by the 1990 Constitution. All the office bearers including President Prakash Raut attended the meeting .
Raut said they demanded provision for formation of an interim government and interim constitution with 411 members including the Maoists and the civil society members.The SCBA also suggested provisions which would discourage frequent issuance of Ordinances. The lawyers’ body also sought provision for formation of a 175-member Constituent Assembly formed through proportional representation on the basis of population and geographical situation.
It also sought provision for fixing a two-year’s time framefor the constituent assembly to promulgate a new constitution.
The SCBA also demanded at least five per cent national budget for the judiciary and to adopt practice to appoint judges from the professional lawyers, law professors and law researchers. It also sought formation of a constitutional court to settle constitutional issues related with the Constituent Assembly and independent constitutional bodies
More case agianst NA accused of extra-judicial killing
BANKE, Purna Bahadur Chaudhary, 59, of Neulapur-4 of Bardiya Monday lodged a case against Thakurdwara Company of Nepali Army alleging the latter of killing his son Bhauna Chaudhary, 21. NA men shot dead Bhauna on 30 May 2002, according to his father Purna Bahadur.
The Advocacy Forum, an NGO, and other human rights activists supported Chaudhary to lodge the case of extra-judicial killing.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Rayamajhi commission grills four including ex-CJ, ex-Speaker

The high-level judicial investigation committee interrogated four persons including former Chief Justice Hari Prasad Sharama and former Speaker Taranath Ranabhat in connection with their alleged role against people’s movement-II on Monday.

Emerging out of the interrogation at the commission’s office at Harihar Bhawan, Lalitpur, former CJ Sharma said he didn’t have any role in suppressing the people’s movement and accused the media of dragging him into controversy. “Is a Chief Justice a gun-carrying person who could suppress the movement? Why journalists don’t understand this?”

During the King’s direct rule, political parties and the Nepal Bar Association (NBA) had protested Sharma’s role in favour of a number of decisions of the then government.

This is perhaps the first time in Nepalese history that a former Chief Justice has been interrogated by a probe commission.

Likewise, Ranabhat said he did not support the active rule of the King and said that the King and the cabinet chaired by him should take responsibility for whatever happened during the people’s movement.

“I am somebody who turned down the offer of prime minister’s post. I had been advocating for return of the King’s power to the people and I never supported the February 1 move,” he said.

Former regional administrators Mrigendra Singh Yadav and Ganesh Sherchan also recorded their statement at the commission.

Sherchan denied any role against the people’s movement but said he was ready to face sentence if found guilty by the commission. Yadav refused to talks to the media.

Meanwhile, the commission has summoned eight former zonal administrators - Ramji Bista, Dr Shayam Kishor Singh, Janak Jungali, Kumar Bahadur Karki, Rana Bahadur Chand, Lalit Bahadur Thapa Magar, Min Bahadur Pal and Mahendra Man Byathit – for interrogation on Wednesday.

The probe commission, which is headed former Supreme Court Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi, has already interrogated over four dozen functionaries of the royal regime for their alleged role in brutal clampdown on the pro-democracy movement in April this year in which at least 21 agitators were killed and over 4000 others injured.

SC seeks clarification from government for not suspending security chief

The Supreme Court on Sunday ordered the government to present clarification for not taking action against the Chief of the Army Staff (CoAS), Gen. Pyar Jung Thapa, acting Inspector General of the Armed Police Force (APF) Bashu Dev Oli and APF DIG Dilip Shrestha for their role during the Jana Andolan (people’s movement) II.

Acting upon a writ petition, a single bench of justice Badri Kumar Basnet issued the orders.
The Court, which accorded top priority to the case, asked the government to furnish replies within 15 days.

Passing the orders, Justice Basnet also said that the court would hold a discussion on July 30 on whether Gen. Thapa, Oli and Shrestha should be suspended or allowed to stay in office in the context of suspension of other security officials facing charges of playing a role in the suppression of the April movement.

Acting upon a recommendation of the High level Commission formed to probe the atrocities committed during the pro-democracy movement of the country, the government had suspended nine security officials, including chiefs of the civil police, armed police and National Investigation Department.

Ensure NRN's right to vote in elections of the CA: Lawyers

With non-resident Nepalis (NRN) demanding voting rights in the proposed election of the constituent assembly (CA), legal practitioners have also suggested the interim constitution drafting committee to ensure voting rights of the NRN.

Speaking at a programme in the capital on Sunday, Supreme Court Justice Anup Raj Sharma said that though the House of Representatives is legitimate as it is exercising the people's power, it should be dissolved once an interim constitution is drafted.

"The House's life should come to an end along with the formation of an interim constitution and an interim parliament," Sharma said.He was speaking at a programme, 'Inner Parts of the Interim Constitution,' organised by the Constitutional Lawyers' Forum.

He also said that there should be a constitutional court to resolve disputes related with elections to a Constituent Assembly."The House was reinstated through a political decision and not under the doctrine of necessity," Sharma said.

He added that the interim constitution should reflect the agreements between the seven-party alliance and the Maoists, as the document is basically a political one.

He further urged that the judiciary be made independent to protect the rights of the people.
"The 1990 Constitution had adopted the concepts of King in parliament and the constitutional monarch, but now the new constitution should come clear in this regard," he said.

He also urged the incorporation of the re-appointment process of judges and officials in the statute and termination of the jobs of those who have no faith in the democratic norms and values. "A judge who has no faith in democracy and the rights of the people has not right to remain in office," he said.

Constitutional lawyers have said that there should be a provision in the interim constitution that enables even Nepalis living abroad to enjoy rights to vote in the election of the constituent assembly.Constitutional expert Dr Surya Dhungel said the Maoists could be included in the interim parliament by either appointing them in the Upper House or appointing their Representatives from the all districts.

He said an interim parliament is needed alongside the interim constitution to make the peace process a success.

Presenting a working paper on the programme, general secretary of Constitutional Lawyers' Forum, Raju Prasad Chapagain, stressed the need of making some constitutional infrastructure to go for the election of the constituent assembly.

He said that the fate of monarchy should be determined before the election of the constituent assembly.

Presenting another paper, advocate Lalit Bahadur Basnet asked the interim constitution drafting committee to ensure independence of the judiciary in the interim constitution.

Similarly, central committee member of Nepal Bar Association, Tika Ram Bhattrai, stressed on forming an interim parliament incorporating Maoists to give continuity to the parliament to exercise people's sovereignty

Few know about constituent assembly

An opinion poll, the findings of which were made public today, revealed that as many as 71 per cent of the illiterate respondents from among 1860 were not aware what constituent assembly election meant.

Ditto in the case of respondents from ethnic groups, with 64 per cent of them demonstrating lack of knowledge about constituent assembly elections. Only 4 percent from among Badis, Magars, Tharus and Pariyar communities were aware of what it is all about. Consider this: 31 per cent of the respondents from among farmers, 32 per cent from among members of ethnic groups and 46 of illiterate respondents were found equally ignorant on its technical aspects.

Some 19 per cent of the respondents said it was all about re-writing a constitution. Some 29 per cent of the respondents felt that such an election should ensure representation cutting across religious beliefs, caste, language and geographical divide. Another 25 per cent said it could be based on proportional representation.

Similarly 60 per cent felt that a constituent assembly could bring peace while 31 per cent felt it could herald total democracy. Some 6 per cent felt the election could see Maoists forming a government. Fifty-two per cent felt that the election to constituent assembly be held within six months while another 28 per cent said it could be held in the next 12 months. However, a majority of the respondents from political and professional brackets said an election be held within 6 months.

Then there are 46 per cent of respondents who preferred to issue a call for settlement of Maoist arms before the elections. A large number of respondents felt that democracy can be sustained only if corruption is controlled. The poll, conducted by the Nepal International Electoral Forum, had divided respondents from among political, professional, students, farmers, ethnic and illiterate groups. It was conducted between May 20- June 6 in 31 municipalities in Kathamndu, Pokhara, Nepalgunj, Palpa and Dipayal, among others.

MPs pick on Chief Justice

Members of Parliament demanded the Speaker of the House of Representative Subas Nembang to investigate the recent appointment of district court judges as a complaint has already been lodged against Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and the members of the Judicial Council.“It should be investigated by the parliament as the Chief Justice appointed the judges when the Interim Constitution is going to be drafted,” said NC MP Dilli Raj Sharma.

Speaking at a special hour in the House, Sharma accused the Chief Justice of appointing the judges violating the House declaration passed on May 18 and the 1990 Constitution. Government attorney Medini Prasad Paudel had lodged the complaint at the Parliamentary Secretariat accusing the Chief Justice Paudel and the members of the Judicial Council.

UML MP Jagannath Khatiwoda accused the Chief Justice of violating the House declaration by reporting to the Palace immediately after the appointment of the judges “The House did not delegate any power on him for any appointment thus the issue should be taken seriously,” he added.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Case filed against army for killing

BAGLUNG, Saraswoti, widow of then "people's government chief" of Baglung municipality Dilli Prasad Sapkota, Friday lodged a case against a Nepal Army officer and a police inspector on the charges of killing her "unarmed" husband after arrest.

The case has been filed against Major Shiva Poudel of Khadkadal Company and Inspector Binod Ghimire. Security personnel had arrested Sapkota from Pala VDC-9 on February 8, 2005. "Security personnel shot him after brutally torturing him," claimed Saraswoti, who hails from Hadepakha, Baglung municipality-2.

Meanwhile in Banke, political parties have demanded stern action against two NA officers - then Major Ajit Thapa and Captain Ramesh Swanr of Chisapani barracks, for their alleged role in making civilians in the district disappear.

Issuing a statement Friday, representatives of SPA and Maoists insisted that the whereabouts of the disappeared be made public.

At least 81 persons have been disappeared by the government in the district, according to rights activists. Thapa has now been promoted to colonel.

Rayamajhi panel summons ex-CJ

The High-Level Investigation Commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi is all set to interrogate former Chief Justice Hari Prasad Sharma and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tara Nath Ranabhat, for their alleged role in suppressing the mass movement.

A highly-placed source of the commission also said that it will interrogate Chief of Army Staff Pyar Jung Thapa this week.
The Commission today asked Sharma and Ranabhat to appear before it on Monday.

“Sharma spoke against the rights of the people in Australia when he was taking part in the Chief Justices’ world conference and Ranabhat had publicly favoured the royal takeover,” the source said. “Ranabhat had publicly said that the House cannot be reinstated and suggested the political parties to support the King.”

Ranabhat today said he was surprised at the commission’s decision to summon him. “I had always favoured people’s rights as I am a democrat,” he said. While the panel also summoned ministers of the royal cabinet Ganesh Sherchan and Mrigedra Singh Yadav on Monday, former state ministers Ram Narayan Singh, Durga Shrestha, Yangkila Sherpa, Mani Lama, Durga Pokhrel and Rabindra Khanal have been asked to appear before it on Sunday. Meanwhile, former ministers Madhukar SJB Rana and Krishna Lal Thakali today told the panel that they had no hand in suppressing the mass movement.

Friday, July 21, 2006

CIAA investigating distribution of state fund to journalists: Upadhaya

The commission for the investigation of the Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has said that it has started probing the case of journalists taking money from the state coffers during the royal regime.

Speaking at a meeting of the State Affairs Committee of the parliament, Chief Commissioner of the CIAA, Surya Nath Upadhaya said the commission has received the files of 14 journalists from communication ministry and was working on them.

Stating that the CIAA had been shadowed by setting up the Royal Commission for Corruption Control during the previous regime, Upadhaya said that the Commission was compelled to be inactive during those days.

The State Affairs Committee also requested the Upadhyaya to make available a report prepared by the CIAA on the cooperation extended by regional and international bodies in various projects

The names of the journalists/media organizations who received money from the royal government are: (source :ekantipur)

1. Jasodha Pradhan (National Federation of Nepalese Journalists) Rs. 126,000
2. Jasodha Pradhan (National Federation of Nepalese Journalists) Rs 495,000

3. Nirodh Raj Pandey(national Federation of Nepalese Journalists)Rs 1,000,000

4. Hari Sharan Lamichhane (Nepal Cable TV Association) Rs 200,000

5. Yagya Dhakal (National Federation of Nepalese Journalists, Kathmandu) Rs 20,000

6. Rishi Dhamala (Reporters' Club Nepal) Rs 20,000

7. Devendra Gautam (Editors and Publishers' Society) Rs 180,000

8. Radhe Shyam Lekali (Literary Journalists' Association) Rs 200,000

9. Ramesh Budhathoki (Nepal Film Artists' Association) Rs 300,000

10. Ram Krishna Karmacharya (National Press Club Nepal) Rs 20,000

11. Ojaswi Gautam (Communication for

Economic and Social Awareness) Rs 30,000

12. Department of Information Rs 125,000

13. RSS Rs 600,000

14. Devendra Gautam (Editors and Publishers' Society) Rs 180,000

15. Shree Krishna Poudel (Nepal Intellectuals' Contact Forum) Rs 60,000

16. Jayanta KC (Janakpur) Rs 10,000

From the personal secretary Minister of State for Information and Communications

17. Manoj Singh (Jaleshwor) Rs 10,000
18 Ram Kisun Yadav (Rajbiraj) Rs 10,000

19. Suman Karki (Itahari) Rs. 10,000

20. Bishnu Kumar Das Rs. 10,000

21. Shambhu Dahal (Ramkot Kathmandu) Rs. 10,000

22. Mahendra Thapa (Bhojpur) Rs. 13,000

23. Mohan Shrestha (Gorkha) Rs 17,000

Those journalists who received money for dissemination of information contributing to peace

24. Khagendra Raj Sitaula (Yugsambad Weekly) Rs 6,000

25. Anar Singh Karki, Kathmandu Rs. 10,000

26. Suresh Sharma Image Channel TV Rs. 6,000

27. Gokarna Dev Pandey senior journalist Rs 10,000

28. KB Marattha (Janabhawana Weekly) Rs 6,000

29. Youbraj Bidrohi (FNJ, Kathmandu) Rs 10,000

30. Tirtha Koirala Kantipur TV Rs 8,000

31. Sarad Chandra Osti Rs 8,000

32. Narendra Upadhyay The Telegraph Rs 8,000

33. Mohan Dahal, Independent Rs 7,000

34. Jivram Bhandari Rajdhani Rs 10,000

35 Ram Hari Chaulagain, Media Group Rs 10,000

36. Surya Khadka, Nawa Pratipakshya Rs. 5,000

37. Madan Kumar Shrestha, Madhyanha Rs. 5,000

38. Shambhu Shrestha, Dristhi Weekly Rs 50,000

39. Pralhad Rijal, Sanjhako Samachar Rs 5,000

40. Ghana Shyam Adhikari, International Forum Rs. 4,000

41. Sudarshan Acharya, Ruprekha Rs. 5,000

42. Yadav Devkota, Yugsambad Weekly Rs 5,000

43. Purna Karki, Janabhawana Rs. 5,000

44. Kumar Yatru, Rajdhani Rs 5000

45. Youbraj Gautam, Gorkhapatra Rs. 15000

46. Kedar Acharya, Independent Rs 5,000

47 Ram Chandra Neupane, Janasatta Rs 7,000

48. Nirodh Raj Pandey, Janabhawana Rs 10,000

49. Som Nath Ghimire, Yugsambad Rs 10,000

50. Prajjwol Ghimire, Independent Rs 3,000

51. Dipak Pathak, Margadarshan Khabar Rs 6,000

52. Devendra Chudal, Baneshwor Rs 5,000

53. Remesh Raj Poudel, Ghatana ra Bichar Rs 3,000

54. Lekha Nath Koirala, Kathmandu Rs 5,000

55. Sudrashan Raj Pandey, Utthan Weekly, Parsa Rs 5,000

56. Bhadra Nath Adhikari, Gramin Samachar, Parsa Rs 5,000

57. Gobinda Pokharel, Independent Rs 5,000

58. Narendra Bilash Pandey, Kathmandu 8,000

59. Karna Prakhar Dhital, Ghatana ra Bichar Rs 3,000

60. Basu Dev Dahal, Ghatna Ra Bichar Rs. 3000

61. Santosh Neupane, Image Channel TV Rs. 4000

62. Bishwaraj Khanal, Annapurna Post Rs. 4,000

63. Bhagwan Tripathi, Kathamndu Rs 5,000

64. .......... Jha, Rs 4000

65. Hari Lamsal, Kathmandu Rs 5000

66. Dilli Ram Nirvik, Kathmandu Rs. 5000

67. Rajesh Misra, Jee News Rs. 7,000

68. Yadav Thapaliya, Nepal Aawaj Rs. 5000

69. Mukunda Dahal, Nepal 1 TV Rs. 5000

70. Bal Kumar Nepal, Annapurna Post Rs. 4000

71. Dev Raj Aryal, Yugsambad Rs. 4000

72. Gyan Hari Adhikari, Yugsambad Rs. 4000

73. Arjun Khadka, Kantipur TV Rs. 4000

74. Jasoda Pradhan, People's Review Rs 5000

75. Purna Lal Chuke, Banke Rs 5000

76. Rewati Raman Subedi, Working Journalist Rs 5000

77. Nakul Kaji, Bibechana Rs. 5000

78. Jagadish Sharma, Pratik Dainik Rs 5000

79. Keshav Poudel, Kathmandu Rs4000

80. Mahesh Chandra Gautam, Simana Weekly Rs 5000

81. Anil Kumar Anal, Rajbiraj Rs. 5000

82. Shishu Prasad Devkota, Rajbiraj Rs. 5000

83. Hari Mandal, Mahottari Rs 5000

84. Babita Basnet, Ghatana Ra Bichar Weekly Rs 5000

85. Krishna Jung Pandey, Independent Rs 7000

86. Uddhav Silwal, Rajdhani Rs 3000

87. Dipak Pudasaini, Janasatta Rs.5000

88. Bikal Shrestha, Nepal News Rs 5,000

89. Krishna Khoju, Bhaktapur Rs 3000

90. Jaya Prasad Dahal, Kathmandu Rs 5000

91. Pawan Thapa, Hindu Weekly Rs 5000

92. Ramesh Khadka, Dharhara Times Rs 5000

93. Mohan Dhungel, Ghatanara Bichar Rs 4000

94. Narayan Neupane, Kathmandu Rs 4000

95. Mohan Shrestha, Ghatanara Bichar Rs 5000

96. Yagya Dhakal, Saptahik Aawaj Rs. 5000

97. Ishwor Khanal, Himalaya Times Rs.4000

98. Purna Bahadur Thapa, Independent Rs. 3500

99. Keshav Aryal, Nepalipatra Rs 4000

Govt Set To Amend Military Act

The government is all set to amend the Military Act 1959 along with 24 other Acts to make their provisions compatible with the House of Representatives Declaration. It would also scrap 16 laws as per the July 17 Cabinet decision soon.

The Acting Chief Secretary, Mukunda Sharma Paudel, on Thursday told a meeting of the House Declaration Implementation Special Committee chaired by Speaker Subas Nembang that the government would produce the Military Act amendment bill in a couple of days.
According to him, the Nepal Law Reform Commission and the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs have almost completed the draft of the Acts. The same would be presented to the Council of Ministers for its approval in a few days.

Paudel, the secretary of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Dr Kul Ratna Bhurtel, Defence Secretary Bishnu Dutta Uprety and Secretary of Nepal Law Reform Commission, Hari Prasad Neupane, briefed the committee on their homework.

Paudel said the government has formed a committee under the secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to look into the issue of the Palace Secretariat officials. "The committee would submit its report within 30 days. We will make appropriate arrangements for the officials. They, however, will not be included in the civil service," he said. He said the government could come up with a voluntary retirement programme for them.

Paudel further said the reform commission and the law ministry are set to resolve the issue of citizenship rights. He said the Muluki Ain and Investiture Act are being amended for the same.

Paudel also said that the Act related to the succession of the throne has already been endorsed by the Council of Ministers and that a draft of it would be produced in the House very soon.

Uprety told the meeting that the Nepal Army is already inclusive. According to him, the Chhetris have 49 per cent representation in the army while the Bramhins form 9 per cent of the total force. Rais have 5 per cent representation, Jirels 0.54 per cent and the Damais 3 per cent. He, however, said the Sharkis have zero per cent share in the 92,308 strong army.

According to him, the Thamis, Ghartis and Badis have one per cent representation in the army, while the Naus, Kushles, Limbus, Rajputs, Rajbhojs, Darais, Chepangs, Dhobis and Kasais have less than one per cent representation.

He also said there are several barracks where the personnel are from only one caste. He said there are 1,000 female officers and 25,00 non-gazetted women employees in the army. He added that people from all the 75 districts are serving the army.

Heads of constitutional bodies take oath before parliamentary body

Heads of the constitutional bodies and Chief of the Nepali Army General Pyar Jung Thapa took oath of office and secrecy on Thursday at the Parliament Secretariat as per the House of Representatives (HoR) Regulations introduced last month.

Speaker Subash Nemwang, who is also the chairman of the HoR Declaration Implementation Monitoring Committee, administered the oath of office and secrecy to Thapa, Attorney General Yegya Murti Banjade, chief of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Surya Nath Upadhaya, Auditor General Gehendra Nath Adhikari and Chief of Public Service Commission Tirtha Man Shakya taking oath of office and secrecy.

The heads of the constitutional bodies also administered oath of office and secrecy to the members of their respective offices.

This is for the first time the army chief and heads of constiutional bodies have taken oath before the Speaker. The HoR Regulations followed by a historic HoR proclamation in May has made it mandatory for the army chief and heads of constitutional bodies to take oath before a Special House Committee.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

CIAA directs ministry on panel report

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has directed the Finance Ministry to implement the report prepared and submitted by the task force constituted to make recommendations in connection with the vehicles, machinery and other goods imported for various projects in the country.

The task force was constituted under the Convenorship of the Director of the Department of Customs and had representatives from various Ministries.

In its report, the task force had suggested to update the record and document of such goods, delegate the authority to auction such goods to the Ministry concerned, allow the use of machinery of one project for another project and permit export of old machinery.

Recommendation was also made to ensure that the transfer of ownership renewal was made only on the recommendation of the Department of Customs, investigate if the renewal was not held for a long-time and to provide detail information about the final date of the return of such goods.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Court extends judicial custody of Pakistani nationals

The Kathmandu District Court extended the judicial custody of two Pakistani nationals, who were arrested last week in connection with a five-year old RDX case, by one week Wednesday.

The district court remanded them to 7-day judicial custody when their earlier 5-day custody expired today. Police had appealed to the court to extend the custody of Ghulam Hussain Cheema and Aftab Mohinuddin Siddiqui, who were arrested from five-star Everest Hotel at New Baneshwor, Kathmandu, on July 12.

Cheema, 53 and Siddiqui, 57 had escaped arrest in April 2001 when the police raided their room in Kathmandu and seized 16kg RDX. Since then, the police had been looking for the two who at that time had been staying in Kathmandu as employees of a Pakistani construction company, Sachel Engineering Works, which was involved in road construction in the Nepal.

They were arrested a day after series of blasts in the Indian city of Mumbai in which about 200 people were killed.

Police officials have said investigation is underway to find out if the two Pakistanis were linked with the Mumbai blasts.

Issuing a statement on Saturday, the Foreign Office of Pakistan quoted the employers of two persons as saying that the two men had nothing to do with the 2001 case and claimed that they had visited Nepal several times for recovery of outstanding payments to the company by the Department of Roads, Nepal.

"The spokesperson stated that the Pakistani Mission in Kathmandu was instructed to immediately get in touch with the Nepal's Foreign Office to ascertain the facts," the statement said, adding, "Our Mission was later contacted by the Nepal Police authorities who confirmed that the arrest of two Pakistanis was in connection with an old case dating back to 2001 and that no linkage had been established with the Mumbai blasts,” the statement read.

The Foreign Office also urged the Nepalese Charge d' Affaires to make a demarche asking for consular access and release of the persons
Rayamajhi Panel Grills Former Administrators, Others

The high-level probe commission led by former justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi on Wednesday summoned four more royalists for questioning for their alleged role in the suppression of people's movement and abuse of authority during the King’s direct rule.

According to spokesperson of the commission Dilli Raman Acharya, commission grilled former Regional Administrators Jagadish Khadka and Rabindra Chakravarti. Khadka was the Regional Administrator of Eastern Region and Chakravarti was the Regional Administrator of Central Region during the King's direct rule.

Former Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Raja Ram Shrestha and former chairman of Kathmandu District Development Committee Bikram Bahadur Thapa will be questioned by the panel at 2 pm, Acharya said.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Rayamajhi Commission Grills APF Chief Oli, Others
The High-Level Investigation Commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi today interrogated Armed Police Force (APF) Acting IGP Bansudev Oli and former Bagmati Zone Administrator Dr Sekher Gurung for their alleged involvement in the suppression of the Jana Andolan II.
Oli and Gurung reached the commission office this afternoon to record their statements. They denied talking to the reporters while entering the commission's office.
Similarly, former Assistant Minister for Education and Sports, Bhuwan Pathak and former Central Region Administrator Rabindra Chakrawarti were also summoned by the panel.
Need to add many things in interim constitution: Experts

As the country is moving towards forming an interim constitution, experts have suggested that provisions should be made of at least three new constitutional bodies in the interim constitution nepalnews reports .

Constitutional lawyer Bhimarjun Acharya suggested that three more constitutional bodies including National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Media Commission and Constitutional Court be included and recognized as constitutional bodies in the new constitution of Nepal .

The constitution of Nepal 1990, formed after the success of the popular movement of the country has a provision of five constitutional bodies namely the Election Commission, Public Service Commission, Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Auditor General, and Attorney General. Part 12 to part 16 of the constitution deal with these bodies.

The constitution has formulated these bodies in such a way that they remain (in principle) free of interference from the executive. They need to present their annual report to parliament.

According to the constitution, chief of the constitutional bodies are appointed by the King upon the recommendation of the Constitutional Council. The proclamation of the reinstated House of Representatives in May this year deprived the King even from this customary right.

Advocate Acharya argued that there was the need to add three more constitutional bodies in the new constitution keeping in view of the international practice and realizing the gravity of these sectors.

“NHRC as a constitutional body should be made organ of the state, not the government, so that it would be able to investigate into cases of rights violations committed even by the state in a free and fair manner,” he said, adding, “The NHRC formed under general law could not work effectively, so it should be included as a constitutional body.”

The NHRC should be empowered to investigate the incidences of rights violation by the state parties and make the culprit accountable, he added.

Rayamajhi Commission grills two former ministers

The High-Level Probe Commission to investigate into the atrocities of the erstwhile royal government on Monday interrogated two former ministers.

The commission interrogated former minister for Science and Technology, Prakash Koirala and former Minister for Agriculture, Keshar Badhadur Bista.

Koirala and Bista like others, reiterated that they didn’t have any role in suppressing and killings of people during the April uprising.

Bista said that he is responsible only for the death of chickens due to Bird Flu for he was minister for Agriculture in the royal government. He expressed his ignorance on the suppression and killings of people during Jana Andolan, hence iterated that he could not take any responsibility for that.

The commission also interrogated chairman of the outlawed Rajparishad Standing Committee, Parshu Narayan Chaudhary and former DIG of Armed Forced, Dilip Kumar Singh.

Chaudhary claimed not to have played any role in suppressing Jana Andolan II while he was quizzed by the journalists. After two-hours of grilling, Chaudhary emphasized on unprejudiced interrogation.

Earlier Chaudhary had shown his inability to turn up for the statement for his frail health.

Singh who was interrogated for four hours said that since he was in the policy making level, there certainly lies the responsibility on him.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Cabinet Meet Decides To Amend 23 Laws
cabinet meeting held at PM GP Koirala’s residence at Baluwatar decided to amend 23 laws and scrape 16 others that contradict with the House of Representatives declaration on May 18.

Emerging from the meeting, Minister of State for Information and Communication Dilendra Prasad Badu, who is also the government spokesperson, told the media that the meeting approved the resignations tendered by the National Human Rights Commission chairman, NHRC’s other members, the chief election commissioner and the members of the Election Commission. The meeting also gave its policy-level approval for the amendments of some laws.
The meet appointed Bidur Prasad Poudel as the chairman of the Bagmati Sewerage Improvement Committee.
Deputy Prime Minister Amik Sherchan said that out of 80 agenda presented 40 had been decided.Badu said that the cabinet meet would reconvene at 3 pm. He also said that appointments had been made in some government bodies and corporations. But he did not reveal names of the appointed persons.

Sacked me if I am incapable : SC judge

A new system of appointing judges and terminating incompetent judges should be brought into effect, said Supreme Court judge Anup Raj Sharma on Sunday. An interim constitution, according to him, is a necessity which should incorporate the concept of a free and fair judicial system.

"The new system should appoint new judges and incompetent judges should be terminated. I should be sacked if I am incapable," he said, pointing out that there are still some judges who have been serving since the Panchayat days. The interim constitution is necessary and discussions concerning its relevance are totally uncalled for, he said.

Political leaders, however, expressed concern that the drafting of the interim constitution was being done in haste without much discussion. "Ideally, it is not the peace talk teams' job to decide on an interim constitution without it being discussed in the Parliament," said MP Narayan Prasad Saud of Nepali Congress (Democratic). "We should go in for a new Constitution once the political problems are resolved," he said at a programme titled "Interim Constitution and Judiciary" and organised by the Appellate Court Bar Association, Patan here. The new constitution should also specify the monarchy's role, he added.

Rayamajhi commission grills two ex-ministers

The high-level judicial commission formed to investigate into the atrocities committed by the erstwhile royal regime during the people’s movement-II interrogated two former ministers on Sunday.

Commission members interrogated Khadga Bahadur G.C, the local development minister in the royal cabinet, and then minister of state for finance, Dr Roop Jyoti, at the commission’s office in Hahihar Bhawan in connection with their alleged role in the brutal clampdown on the people’s movement in April.

G.C, told reporters after the interrogation that he had no role in suppressing the movement as his ministry had nothing to do with security matters. He argued that those who dealt with the security agencies should take responsibility for the atrocities.

The former minister arrived at the commission’s office by a taxi at around 13:50 p.m.

Then state minister Jyoti, who is accused of introducing tax policies suitable to his business, refused to talk to the media. He is a member of the National Assembly appointed by the King.

Meanwhile, the commission summoned four other functionaries of the royal regime for interrogation on Monday. Those summoned are – chairman of the dissolved Raj Parishad, Parasu Narayan Choudhary, then ministers Prakash Koirala and Keshar Bahadur Bista, acting Inspector General of Nepal Police Basudev Oli, former assistant minister for education and sports, Bhuwan Pathak, then zonal administration of Bagmati, Prof Shekhar Gurung, then administrator of central region, Jagadish Khadka, and DIG of Armed Police Force Dilip Shrestha.

The probe commission headed by former Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi has already interrogated 30 key functionaries of royal regime including then cabinet vice-chairman-duo, Dr. Tulsi Giri and Kriti Nidhi Bista, in connection with suppression in the people’s movement. At least 21 persons were killed and over 4000 injured during the 19-day long agitation

Writ Against Company Ordinance Filed

A writ petition was filed at the Supreme Court challenging the Company Ordinance 2062 BS which is in operation even when the Parliament session is going on.

Ramesh Jung Rayamajhi, representing the Panas Group Company, filed the petition claiming that no ordinance can function without being approved by the sitting parliament.

Article 72 of the Constitution has provision that any ordinance should either be approved by the parliament within 60 days after sessions starts or be terminated automatically. The petitioner also claimed that the ordinance crossed 60 days on July 14 but the government is still implementing the law.

The Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Ministry of Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, the Ministry of Industries, the Office of Company Registrar and the Parliament Secretariat are the defendants of the petition.

Bill becomes Act with Speaker's assent

The Advance Expenditure Bill turned into an Advance Expenditure Act, 2006, on Sunday after the Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR), Subhash Chandra Nembwang, approved it.

This is the first time after the reinstatement of HoR that a bill has turned into an Act by the approval of Speaker as per Rule 135 of the new regulations of HoR. Earlier, the King used to put the royal seal on bills passed by the HoR.

The HoR unanimously passed the Advance Expenditure Bill, 2006, after the Minister of Finance Dr Ram Sharan Mahat proposed the House do so. The House also unanimously passed the proposal coming from Dr Mahat for a discussion on the Appropriation Bill, 2006. It will be discussed throughout 21-27 July in HoR.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Ten members added into the interim constitution draft committee

An informal meeting of the government and Maoist negotiating teams on Saturday has agreed to add ten more members to the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee raising the total number to 16.

The newly added members of the committee include advocate Agni Karel, Advocate Pushpa Bhushal, Advocate Sushila Karki, Chhatra Kumari Gurung, Shanta Rai, Sunil Prajapati, Parshu Ram Jha, Chandeshwor Shrestha and Kumar Yonjan Tamang. The negotiating teams said they have agreed to add one more person, preferably an advocate, from the Dalit community.

A six-member draft committee was formed under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court Justice Laxman Prasad Aryal on June 16. Other members of the committee included president of Nepal Bar Association Shambhu Thapa, Harihar Dahal, Mahadev Yadav, Sindhu Nath Pyakurel and Khimlal Devkota.

During their meeting held at the Peace Secretariat within Singha Durbar, both the sides also extend the duration of the draft committee until the end of July. Formed on June 16, the committee had started its working formally on July 5. Indigenous communities, dalits and women had criticized its formation and demanded equitable representation of all sectors in the committee.

The talks held on Saturday was also attended by members of peace talks monitoring team namely Dr Devendra Raj Panday, Padma Ratna Tuladhar, Daman Nath Dhungana and Dr Mathura Prasad Shrestha.

On Friday, senior leaders of Nepali Congress, CPN (UML) and CPN (Maoist) agreed to hold second round of “summit level talks” on July 21 to sort out differences that have cropped up in the implementation of eight-point agreement reached between the two sides last month

Friday, July 14, 2006

Two Pakistanis Remanded To Judicial Custody

Kathmandu District Court today remanded two Pakistani nationals to a 5-day judicial custody on charge of possessing explosives back in Kathmandu.

Pakistani nationals Ghulam Hussain Chima and Aftab Mohiuddin Siddiqui, who were arrested from Everest Hotel at New Baneshwor on Wednesday, were presented before the court today.

Special police team from the KDPO had arrested the two Pak nationals from room 403 of the Everest Hotel on charges of possessing explosives (RDX) back in 2001. The duo had reportedly fled the country after police recovered 16 kg of RDX from their room in New Baneshwor, Kathmandu, on April 11, 2001.

District Court Judge Mohan Raman Bhattarai issued the order. Police demanded the court to remand them in judicial custody for 25 days.

The explosive was seized from their room in Kathmandu in April 2001, but both the suspects had fled arrest at that time.

It is not clear whether they were liked with the serial blasts in the Indian city of Mumbai.

Testifying before the court today, Siddhiqui said that he was the manager of the Pokhara-Marsyangdi Road Construction Project while Shina said he was the accountant of the same project. Claiming that they had nothing to do with the recovered RDX, both said they had come to Nepal to settle some pending cash transactions.

The arrest of the two Pak nationals, who allegedly deal in RDX, on the night of the serial bomb blasts in commuter trains in the Indian Metropolitan city of Mumbai may not be just a coincidence, security sources say. Police are investigating whether the arrested Pak nationals have any link with the Indian terrorist outfit, Lashkar-e-Toiba, which reportedly carried out the blasts in Mumbai.

On the same night, police had also arrested two residents of the Pak-administered Kashmir, Wasim Ali and Waled Mohammad from a hotel in Jyatha. Both were released on Wednesday morning after found innocent, police officials said.

Meanwhile, a team of security officials from India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrived in Kathmandu today to seek information about the arrested Pak nationals. The CBI team and Nepal Police officials will jointly interrogate the arrested Pak nationals, sources said.

SC Issued directive order
The Supreme Court directed the government authorities including the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to control child marriage.

Responding to a Public Interest Litigation, a special bench of justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Sharada Prasad Pundit and Badri Kumar Basnet issued the order. The bench ordered the Office of the Prime Minster and Cabinet, Ministry of Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare to stop child marriage.

Advocate Mira Dhungana had filed a petition claiming that child marriages are still in practices despite sufficient legal provisions to prohibit the social ill.

Meanwhile, the same bench issued a directive order to the government to maintain consistencies in two laws Marriage Registration Act 2028 and Civil Code 2020 where the age bar for marriage is different. According to Civil Code, male and female should cross the age 22 and 18 respectively while the Marriage Registration Act has put the minimum age for marriage at 20 and 18 respectively.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Rayamaji Panel May Record King's Statement

Chairman of the High Level Investigation Commission Krishna Jung Rayamajhi on Wednesday indicated that the commission may not summon King Gyanendra, but will investigate his role in the suppression of the people.

"The King is under our scanner but we are yet to decide whether to summon him or to record his statement meeting him at the royal palace," Rayamajhi said.

Rayamajhi said the commission might take his statement but currently he cannot reveal how.

"Definitely, we will investigate his role in suppressing the people as he was the chairman of the council of ministers during his direct rule, but I cannot reveal the whole process of the investigation."

Rayamajhi added that the King is still the head of the state and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala was sworn in by the King and that makes it difficult for a commission to summon the King. "It is not suitable to summon the King like other ministers and officials since he is the head of state," Rayamajhi clarified.

Citing the declaration of the House of Representatives passed on May 18 and the Supreme Court verdict on RCCC case that allowed a court of law to test the King's action, Rayamajhi said that the commission would respect the limitation. "The King cannot be interrogated like other people," he said.

"People have been demanding action against the King, but I have some limitation given by the Constitution, Law, and the mandate given to the Commission," he added.

Another member of the Commission, Harihar Birahi, also said the commission would investigate the role of the King during his direct rule. Birahi told newsmen that the Commission would summon the Chief of the Army Staff Pyar Jung Thapa soon to record his statement.

Meanwhile, suspended chief of the Armed Police Force Sahabir Thapa told the commission the police had no hand in suppressing the people. Since they had worked under the command of the army, the army should take responsibility, he said. The commission has summoned former Home Minister Kamal Thapa and former Chief Secretary of the government Lokman Singh Karki on Friday to record their statements.
SC advises for scrapping King’s role in appointing Justices

Supreme Court Justices including Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel have advised the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee to formally strip all powers of the King to appoint Justices in the interim constitution that is being drafted now.

As per the 1990 constitution, the King appoints Chief Justice and other Justices of the Supreme Court upon the recommendation of the Judicial Council.

After holding meeting with the Justices of the Supreme Court, coordinator of the committee Laxman Prasad Aryal said, “Now the power to appoint judges is no more with the King,” adding, “We will make a fresh provision according to which the Prime Minister will appoint the Chief Justice on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council that will be chaired by Prime Minister, and the Chief Justice will appoint judges of the SC and lower courts on the recommendation of Judicial Council that will be chaired by the Chief Justice.”

The judges and the statute drafting panel members agreed to form a separate constitutional court to settle constitutional issues relating to an election to a constituent assembly.

The panel and SC justices agreed to supersede jurisdiction of the military court verdicts by the SC and an army official would be tried at a civilian court on any criminal offence.

The Justices also urged the committee to broaden the jurisdiction of the Appellate Courts

Probe panel interrogates former IGP

High Level Probe Commission, as per its jurisdiction to recommend for action against individuals involved in atrocities during the period of Popular Movement, interrogated suspended IGP of the Armed Police Force Shahabir Thapa on Wednesday.

But, the interrogation of the chairman of the dissolved Raj Parishad Standing Committee Parasu Narayan Chaudhary could not be held today after he submitted an application saying he was unable to present at the commission because of health reasons.

The commission sources said that he would be called for explanation on Monday.

The commission has summoned former Home Minister Kamal Thapa and chief secretary Lok Man Singh Karki for interrogation on Friday.

Meanwhile, Harihar Birahi, member of the Commission said that chairman of the then council of ministers might come under investigation process. "The chairman has to take responsibility of the action of the council of ministers,"he said.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ensure juvenile justice in interim constitution-Experts

The interim constitution should clearly address issues related to the rights and security of children, legal experts and child rights activists opined here Tuesday.

"The future constitution should clearly mention about social security and juvenile justice system," said Santosh Sharma, an advocate while presenting a paper on "Constituent assembly, new constitution and child rights" at a workshop organized by Child NGO Federation (CNF).

He said that if the family, society and the state protect childhood and motherhood, then it would be easier to ensure other rights of the children. Binod Karki, secretary of CNF said that several children were killed during the armed conflict, adding, "We have to ensure that rights of children are not violated despite the severity of the crisis."

Yagya Murti Banjade, attorney general, said it was the responsibility of the state to ensure children's rights to proper wellbeing, education and health. He said that it was necessary to sensitize family members about their responsibility in ensuring child rights.

Army court to be under SC: Thapa

The military court is to come within the purview of the Supreme Court (SC) under the interim constitution, said a member of the constitution drafting committee on Tuesday.

"No entity, including the military court, would be above the Supreme Court [once the interim constitution is promulgated]," said Shambhu Thapa, a member of the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee.

The provision, if included in the proposed interim constitution, would change the existing relationship between civil courts and the military. Under the 1990 constitution, the Supreme Court cannot review verdicts handed down by a military court in cases related to a military person. Decisions of the military court have been questioned many times.

Addressing a gathering of lawyers in the premises of Patan Appellate Court after Speaker Subash Nembang inaugurated the newly-constructed office building of the NBA Patan Appellate Court Branch, Thapa assured that the independence of the judiciary would be ensured in the interim constitution.

On the occassion, senior Supreme Court Justice Anup Raj Sharma underlined the need for change in the judiciary. "Though a big change has come about in the country, this has not been seen in the judiciary. A sea-change should be ushered into the judiciary as well," said Sharma.

Earlier, NBA General Secretary Madhav Banskota asked the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee to ensure the supremacy of the judiciary and fundamental human rights under the interim constitution.

Meanwhile, Speaker Nembang, while inaugurating the building, assured that parliament would cooperate fully with the interim constitution drafting body.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

International community should be watch ful on Nepal : Advocate Tripathi

Peace Brigade International (PBI), which is committed for global peace and human rights, celebrated its 25th anniversary in Washington, DC . To mark its anniversary it organizes a conference to discuss the peace process of several countries.

On the occasion Advocate Dinesh Tripathi, was invited to speak on “ People power in Nepal. “ Advocate Dinesh Tripathi said April revolution of Nepal is the finest example of the supremacy of the people power. People of Nepal have shown their courage and fearlessness on the face of huge political repression. People of Nepal had defeated naked and brutal military power by non-violent means. World community should learned from Nepali people that people’s courage and determination can make huge difference and even ruthless military power can be defeated by determined non-violent movement of people and peoples are ultimate master of their fate. People of Nepal are aspiring for full and genuine democracy.

Advocate Tripathi told "People want to make constitution by themselves in Nepal. They are aspiring for a new a constitution, which ensure full sovereignty of people, guarantee all the rights and liberty, and fully empower them. People of Nepal are aspiring for a republican democratic model. Monarchy had always betrayed the Nepali people and always stolen and undermine the rights, liberty and sovereignty of people. Now proven fact of history is that monarchy and democracy cannot go together in Nepal. So Nepal must adopt a republican democratic model. There was massive violation of human rights in king’s regime. "

"Now Nepal has to consolidate the gain of April revolution. People’s sovereignty has still not established in Nepal. King is down but not out. There is still a dominance of military in politics in Nepal. Nepal must ratified Rome statute for International Criminal Court. Impunity should not be allowed at any cost. Establishment of Human rights, genuine, participatory and inclusive democracy is the basis of the lasting peace. Without addressing the problem of exclusion, exploitation and socio-economic margialization lasting peace cannot established. Nepal need to established a just and fair socio-economic order. This is a defining moment in the history of Nepal. Through the April movement people had established their supremacy. But gain made by April movement need to be made institutionalize" he added .

He told futher that Massive Conspiracy is going on to subvert and reversed the democratic gain made by April movement. So people need to be vigilant all the time. International community must be a watchful toward Nepal’s democratizing process and must support the establishment of genuine, full and republican democratic set-up in Nepal.

Large number of human rights and peace activist were participated in the program. Peace process of Columbia, Guatemala, Srilanka, Palestine and Iraq were discussed in the program.
SC seeks power to check the decisions of army court in new constitution

Justices of the Supreme Court (SC) have said that they would urge the interim constitution drafting committee to ensure judicial review power of the Supreme Court in the interim statute to check the decisions of the military court and bring army officials under civil court trial.

Monday’s meeting of the apex court Justices decided they would demand the committee to guarantee the SC's jurisdiction to check the military court verdicts and to try army officials in civil courts.

The 1990 Constitution excludes the army from civil court trials and excludes judicial review even by the apex court on military court verdicts.

The justices also decided to ask the committee to make the provision that SC judges should be appointed from among independent legal experts, law professionals and legal researchers and not from among judicial bureaucrats.

The justices will urge the Aryal committee to form an independent recommendation committee to appoint judges and check the actions of any judge found involved in corruption or irregularities, saying the Judicial Council currently chaired by the Chief Justice has failed to check irregularities in the judiciary.

Courts should gain people's trust : CJ

Chief Justice (CJ) Dilip Kumar Poudel said courts should function in a way as to gain the respect and trust of the people.

Inaugurating the building of the Banke District Court in Nepalgunj , CJ Poudel said: "A court should uphold law and its main responsibility is to gain people’s trust."

“The court’s function is not only to clear lawsuits but its prime goal is to protect the rights of helpless people,” Poudel said, adding: “The state should provide free legal support for helpless people to protect their rights.”

“The judiciary plays a vital role for the state’s power equilibrium. It is also the conductor and protector of the legal state,” Poudel said. Addressing the same programme, registrar of the Supreme Court, Ram Krishna Timilsena said: “16 of the 75 district courts are going to be established as model courts.”

“Legal words should be changed according to time and circumstances and it should be easy for the civilians to understand,” Timilsena said. The programme chaired by chief judge of Appellate Court, Nepalgunj, Krishna Prasad Upadhyaya, was addressed by district judge Birendra Kumar Bataju, president of Appellate Bar, Suresh Poudel, among others.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Legal Experts For Interim Supreme Constitutional Court

Legal experts have urged the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee to form an interim legislative and judicial system to run the interim government before holding elections to a Constituent Assembly.

Speaking at a programme in the capital on Sunday, advocate Bharat Raj Uprety urged the Committee to form an interim Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) with 'dynamic' judges to look into all constitutional issues during the interim period.

He said the Supreme Court should settle all old cases while the new constitutional issues should be settled by the interim SCC.

There has been debate over whether the Supreme Court has the authority to test the constitutionality of the house decisions, after the reinstated House of Representatives declared itself supreme.

The members of the committee, including chairman Aryal, on Sunday held a meeting at the office of the Nepal Bar Association (NBA) and sought suggestions from lawyers on the interim constitution.

Speaking at the same programme, advocate Hari Prasad Uprety urged the committee not to prolong the tenure of the current HoR.

Advocate Mukti Pradhan claimed that the House does not have a fresh mandate and as such it should be dissolved and an alternative body that exercises all legislatives powers should be formed.

The Interim Constitution Drafting Committee is holding discussions with people from various walks of life about the interim constitution.

NHRC chairman, members resign

The chairman and members of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) have resigned from their posts en masse.

Addressing a press meet on Sunday, chairman of the NHRC Nayan Bahadur Khatri said he and other members of the NHRC decided to resign collectively in the wake of parliament's lack of trust in their activities.

Their resignation came as the ruling seven-party alliance prepared to file impeachment motion against them at the House of Representatives on Monday, accusing them of failing to observe their mandate responsibly.

Khatri said he and his team would face impeachment had there been international investigation into the works done during their tenure.

Addressing the press conference, commission member Sudeep Pathak said the decision of the seven parties to impeach the NHRC team was politically motivated and accused the parties of trying to recruit loyalists in the commission.

Gokul Pokhrel, Sushila Singh Silu and Dr Ram Dayal Rakesh were other members in the NHRC.

Khatri and his team were appointed by King Gyanendra in May 2005

Mainwhile Chief Election Commissioner Keshavraj Rajbhandari has resigned from his post.

Talking to reporters at the premises of the High Level Commission formed to probe the atrocities committed during people’s movement on Sunday, Rajbhandari announced that he has resigned from his post.

Probe panel grills three on Sunday

The high-level judicial commission formed to investigate into the atrocities committed by the erstwhile royal regime during the people’s movement-II interrogated former minister of state for information and communication, Shrish Shumsher Rana, and two others, on Sunday.

Commission members interrogated Rana, who was the spokesperson of the then royal government, Chief Election Commissioner Keshav Raj Rajbhandari and suspended Inspector General of the Police Shaym Bhakta Thapa for nearly at the commission’s office in Hahihar Bhawan in connection with their alleged role in brutal clampdown on the people’s movement in April.

After interrogation, Rana told reporters that he was ready to accept moral responsibility, as a member of the then cabinet, for the incidents that took place during the 19-day long movement.

He is considered one of the kingpins of the royal regime. He is accused of making hefty cash handouts to pro-palace medias and advising the King to deal toughly with the pro-democracy movement.

Before Rana’s interrogation, the commission had interrogated Rajbhandari, who resigned today from his post in the wake of preparations by the seven parties to impeach him in the parliament, for four hours from 9:00 a.m.

Similarly, the commission grilled dismissed IGP Thapa for nearly five hours, probably the longest interrogation so far.

Emerging out of the questioning, Thapa conceded that atrocities did take place against the agitators but claimed that he did not give orders for suppression. “Concerned people should be held accountable for the clampdown,” said he.

Meanwhile, chief of the dissolved Raj Parishad, Parasu Narayan Choudhary, failed to appear before the commission for interrogation even after a summon notice.

He cited bad health for not being able to present himself before the commission.