Friday, September 29, 2006

House does away with gender bias in SC

The spouses of female judges of the Supreme Court can now go with their wives when they go abroad on official duty and enjoy government allowances and facilities during such visits.

The provision for the same has been incorporated in the amended bill on SC Justice Salary and Perks and Allowances Act 1969, passed by the House of Representatives on thrusday .

Earlier, only male judges could take their wives on official visits outside the country with the government ensuring allowances and facilities for the spouses. With today’s amendment, spouses of women holding the posts of the Attorney General, General Secretary and Secretary of the Parliament Secretariat will also enjoy similar allowances and facilities.

Similarly, the amendment of the Appellate and District Court Judges Salary, Perks and Facilities Act 1991 was also passed by the HoR today. The amended provision in the Act allows male judges to take paternity leave to take care of their newborn children and wives.

The provisions have been introduced to end gender discrimination and are part of Gender Equality Bill 2063 that the HoR passed .

The House also passed Notary Public Bill 2063 and Competition Promotion and Market Protection Bill 2063, Nepal Rastra Bank (first amendment) Bill 2063 and Goods Transportation Bill 2063. The Notary Public Act authorises lawyers and government notary to certify and translate the public documents.
Minister for Physical Planning and Works Gopal Man Shrestha tabled Drinking Water Management Board Bill 2063 and Drinking Water Price Determination Commission Formation Bill 2063; Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Urmila Aryal tabled the Senior Citizen Bill 2063; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health and Population Amik Sherchan tabled a proposal demanding discussion on Health Service Bill 2063. The House approved Sherchan’s proposal.

Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula tabled a proposal demanding clause-wise discussion on the Citizenship Bill 2063 and Minister for Education and Sports Dr Mangal Siddhi Manandhar tabled a proposal seeking discussion on Acts related to Education and Sports Amendment Bill. Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat proposed a Bill on the Nepal Rastra Bank (first amendment) Bill 2063.

NHRC to remain open in Dashain

The central and regional offices of National Human Rights Commission will remain open for two hours daily during Dashain.

Cases and complaints concerning human rights violations can be registered at the NHRC’s protection division even during the festive season, said the NHRC.

NHRC’s protection division will remain open from 11 am to 1 pm from September 29 to October 7. During the festival, two NHRC officials will be on duty daily on a rotational basis, said an NHRC official.
“We have made such a provision for the benefit of victims and victims’ families,” said the official.
Likewise, in case of emergency, the security guards who will be on duty round the clock at the NHRC, will contact the concerned officers, he said. The NHRC has been receiving fewer complaints with the onset of the festive season. According to him, NHRC’s central office has only received six cases since Ghatasthapana.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Chief Justice's assurance

Chief Justice (CJ) Dilip Kumar Poudel has expressed the commitment of the judiciary to "embrace" the achievements of the people's movement in April this year.

"The judiciary will continue to contribute to the rule of law by embracing the achievements of the people's movement," CJ Poudel said.

While extending his Dashain greetings to the people from his home district Dang on Tuesday on the occasion of Dashain, the chief of the judiciary urged the people from his district to contribute to establishing peace and stability in the country. Dangeli Samabesi Samaj, a Dang-based forum, organized the program to exchange Dashain greetings among people who have migrated from Dang to the capital.

On the occasion, former minister and political analyst Nilambar Acharya urged the chief justice and the judiciary to play a role in upholding and promoting the achievements of the people's movement.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Govt to amend Labour Act

Minister of State for Labour and Transport Management Ramesh Lekhak has disclosed that the Government was working to amend the existing Labour Act as it was not able to protect the rights and well-being of the workers in the informal sector.

Speaking at an interaction on 'challenges of women workers in the informal sector' organised by the Women's Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC) here today, Minister of State Lekhak also suggested that a separate cell should be constituted under the security body in order to protect the rights of the workers in the informal sector.

Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare Sushil Ghimire, chairperson of WOREC Dr Renu Rajbhandari and other speakers expressed their views on the occasion.

Right to information law soon, says Badu

Minister of State for Information and Communication Dilendra Prasad Badu has said that the government is to introduce the Act Related to Right to Information very soon so that to guarantee the people's rights to information.

During an interaction programme after releasing the Nepal report about the Press Freedom status during the year 2005-06 organised by the Freedom Forum here Sunday, he noted that the Bill would soon be made public as per the suggestions submitted by the organisations, government sides and experts concerned.

Also during the occasion, Registrar of the Supreme Court Dr. Ram Krishna Timilsina presented a concept-paper related to the rights to information and stressed on the need for the government to introduce the policy without any further delay as the democracy could not be consolidated until the rights to information was guaranteed.

Informing the programme that a total of 90 countries throughout the world have separate laws related to rights to information and constitutional arrangements were made regarding rights to information in some two dozen countries, he stated that out restrictions of information were imposed in most of the policies of a total of 212 Policies in Nepal.

Rayamajhi panel will send questionnaire to king

The High-Level Investigation Commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi has informally reached a concensus to question King Gyanendra in writing to record his statement about the role of the erstwhile government led by him during his direct rule.

“We have agreed to send a questionnaire to the King,” a panel member Ram Prasad Shrestha told . “We can compromise about the process, but not on our plan to record his (the King’s) statement,” he added. The panel had three alternatives to send a team to the royal palace, to call him in the commission and to send a questionnaire to record his statement but chose the third option. According to him, they will send the questionnaire immediately after Dashain.

Stating that the King is still the head of the state, the panel will not invite him in the commission, the procedure that had been adopted for interrogating members of the royal cabinet and the chiefs of army and police.

The panel members have reached a consensus that after recording the King’s statement, the panel will submit its report to the government before Tihar.The Commission had interrogated the King’s principal secretary Pashupati Bhakta Maharjan almost a month ago hinting that the commission will record the King’s statement but the royal palace is yet to respond to the panel. “Neither the royal palace has objected to our idea nor proposed ways to record the King’s statement,” Shrestha added.

The commission is doing homework to submit the report before Tihar as it will interrogate some officials who had allegedly suppressed people during the Jana Andolan II in a few districts within some days.

Panel Member Ram Prasad Shrestha had last week visited Palpa, Kapilvastu and Argakhanchi districts to find out about the alleged supression in those places, while Chairman Rayamajhi had investigated the incidents in Lamjung, Dolakha and Dhading. Panel member Ram Kumar Shrestha visited Doti, Dadeldhura, Dailekh and Surkhet and member Harihar Birahi investigated the incidents in Uadyapur and Ilam. “We have gathered some information that the authorities had suppressed people during that time and we will interrogate them soon,” Shrestha added.
Judge Mallik heads probe panel

The Judicial Council recently assigned appellate court judge Lokendra Mallik to head a panel set up by the Supreme Court to investigate the case of three missing persons. The Office of the Attorney General also assigned government joint attorney Saroj Gautam to work as a member of the panel, which will investigate the condition of the missing persons Bipin Bhandari, Dil Bahadur Rai and Rajendra Dhakal.

However, the Nepal Bar Association is yet to assign any advocate as the member of the panel as per the demand of the apex court. General secretary of the Bar, Madhav Banskota, said they would assign an advocate for the same. Responding to a writ petition filed seeking their release, a division bench of justices Khil Raj Regmi and Kalyan Shrestha had directed the government to set up the panel.

The apex court has given three months for the panel to complete the job. The three persons have been missing for over five years and a habeas corpus petition was filed in the apex court seeking their release.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rebel 'court' at temple premises

The Mahadev temple at Chandranigahapur in Rauthat district is crowded with people. However, none of the people at the shrine have come to pay homage to the god or to partake in any religious ceremony. These people are rather at the Maoists' "People's Court", established inside the temple premises ekantipur reports .

Though the Maoist leaders have time and again claimed to have put an end to such kangaroo courts, the rebels here have been operating the same unabated. People mostly come here to settle disputes concerning land, financial matters and family quarrels. Member of the Maoists' court, Laxman Bhattrai, claims that more than one thousand cases have been filed at the court and around 70 cases have already been solved.

Bhattarai says that unavailability of space was the reason why they had to set up the court in the temple. "The peoples' court was earlier in the nearby house belonging to one royal relative Nokh Jung Thapa. We shifted here after the peoples' liberation army started using the house as its base camp," Bhattarai said. However, he also said that the "court" would be shifted elsewhere after a "better place" is found. While Thapa and his family have been living in Kathmandu, the rebels here have seized their property.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Law Campus students publish monthly magazine
The publication of a monthly magazine, 'legal vision' has been started in the capital.The students of Nepal Law Campus, studying in LLB, third year have, published the magazine. The chief editor of the magazine is Ashok Kumar Chhetri.
Magistrate of the Supreme Court, Kedar Prasad Giri has released the magazine yesterday at a programme organized at Nepal Law Campus.
At the programme presided over by the Chief Editor, Chhetri, Attorney General, Yagya Murti Banjade, Chief Justice of the Applleate Court, Lalitpur, Rana Bahadur Bam, Senior Advocate, Sarbagya Ratna Tuladhar, Readers, Ganesh Dutta Bhatta, Guna Nidhi Neupane, and Upendra Keshari Neupane expressed their views.
Parliament endorses amended Army Act

The House of Representatives (HoR) unanimously passed the bill to amend the Army Act on Friday.

The amended Army Act formally ends the link between the king and Nepali Army (NA) that existed for the last 237 years. The King will no more be the Supreme Commanders of the armed forces that will be under the control of the government and the House of Representatives.

The new act has made provision for a special military court headed by an appellate court judge to look into criminal offence involving army personnel for, corruption, torture and disappearance. Other members of the court will be defence secretary and head of the NA's legal department.

As per the Act, appeals can be filed at the appellate court if challenging the decision given by the military court.

Similarly, the Public Service Commission will be involved in the appointment of senior army officers.

The army will be controlled and mobilised by the government on the recommendation of the National Security Council (NSC). Home Minister, Finance and Minister for Foreign Affairs are the members of the NSC, which is headed by Prime Minister. The Chief of Army the Staff will no more be the member of the NSC.

The new Act also replaces the king as patron of the Army Welfare Fund with the prime minister.
SC issues show cause notice on HoR proclamation

The Supreme Court has issued a show cause notice to the government and the House of Representatives (HoR) on why the declaration was made.

Acting upon five separate writ petition filed at the apex court challenging the House declaration passed on May 18 a single bench of Justice Damodar Prasad Sharma sought written explanations within 15 days on why the declaration was made, reports said.

The petitioners challenged the historic declaration saying that the same was unconstitutional and illegal.

In its proclamation the parliament declared itself supreme and drastically slashed the royal privileges.

Meanwhile, the bench rejected a petition filed challenging the reinstatement of the House on April 24.

The apex court said that the decision was made as per the need-based theory of law.
Advocate Shankar Majaiya filed the writ petition at the apex court alleging that the decision of the King to reinstate the parliament is unconstitutional.

The King reinstated the parliament as per the roadmap of the seven party alliance following the 19-day long people’s movement.

Verdict on Gajurel postponed for Monday

A special hearing at the Chennai Metropolitan Court on Friday has postponed the verdict on a habeas corpus petition demanding the release of jailed Nepali Maoist leader Chandra Prakash Gajurel. His fate will likely be clear on Monday ekantipur reports.

The "comprehensive hearing" on Friday was to pave the way for a verdict as to whether or not to release CP Gajurel, who was to be released from Chennai prison on last Monday, but it couldn't make a firm decision, according to his lawyer, A Rahul.

Arrested on September 3, 2003, when he was allegedly attempting to travel to London on a forged passport, Gajurel alias 'Comrade Gaurav', has also been charged with treason and violation of Indian arms law by the West Bengal government too.

Gajurel is one of the two high-profile Nepali Maoists, and amongst the 150 Maoists languishing in Indian prisons.

CIAA files charge sheet against jr captain of NAC

Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has filed a charge sheet against Tirtha Bahadur Oli, junior captain of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), at the special court in Kathmandu on Wednesday.

The CIAA filed the charge sheet charging him of using fake certificates to get the job.
A statement issued by the CIAA said, “Oli had submitted fake educational certificates from India.”

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

SC to remain open in Dashain for hearings

The Supreme Court is to remain open for the hearing on the writ petitions in connection with the Habeas Corpus during the Dashain holidays also except on Ghatasthapana, Saturdays and on the Vijaya Dashami Day.
This provision has been made as per Clause-23 of the Judicial Administrative Act-2048 B.S., as the apex court would remain closed on the occasion of the Bada Dashain-2006 for more than seven days from September 23 (Ghatasthapana) till October 6 (Kojagrat Poornima).
According to a press release issued here today, the Court is to carry out such hearings between 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM from September 24 to October 6.
The hearing of the Habeas Corpus writ petition registered till 1:00 PM would be carried out on the same day while the hearings of the writ petition registered after 1 PM would be conducted the next day.
The press release adds that the necessary arrangements including designation of the Judges for the hearings have already been completed.

NRNs demand immediate adoption of NRN bill with amendments

Lawmakers and Non Resident Nepalis (NRN) have stressed that there is a need of adopting suitable policy on the NRN to promote their investment in the country.

Speaking at an interaction programme on the proposed NRN bill, which is being tabled before the parliament, organized by the NRN Association in the capital on Tuesday, president of the association Dr. Upendra Mahato expressed dissatisfaction over the delay in making laws related to NRN.

He said political change and stability would further prolong if the country could not make progress on economic front. He said investment by the NRNs would be instrumental in country's progress. He warned that adoption of the bill without consulting NRNA would be boycotted.

Speaker Subash Nemwang assured NRNA that the bill would incorporate suggestions made by the NRNA. The reinstated House is serious towards mobilising income of the Nepalis abroad for Nepal's economic and social development, he said.

Speaker Nemwang said the environment would be easier if the NRNs invest in Nepal not only with the business motives but with intentions to support the overall progress of the country. "NRNs should feel grievances of the Nepalis at this critical period as their own and vice versa. This would build confidence between Nepali people and NRN community thereby promoting environment for investment," he added.

Former president of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) Binod Bahadur Shrestha said government must address the demands of the NRNA since they have demanded what foreign investors are already entitled to in Nepal so far.

Member of the Upper House Radheshaym Adhikari urged that the NRN should ensure that money from Nepal would not flee to other countries. "The brain drain has increased so much that people have begun to transfer their properties from here to either Europe or America. The adoption of the bill has been delayed since it needed provisions that could ensure that profits from the investment remain within the country," he added.

MPs Parshu Ram Meghi Gurung, Lila Mani Pokhrel and Hom Nath Dahal said the parliament was serious with the issue raised by NRNs.

The NRN Association has put forward a number of suggestions to the bill. It has asked to replace the phrase 'to engage them for investment in Nepal' with 'to involve them for overall development of Nepal'.

Similarly, it has demanded the NRN Identity Cards should be validated as the residential visa to Nepal for at least 10 years and allow them to own, use and sell land and house here. It opposed the proposed provision that landholdings of NRN is non transferable to offspring or relative on his or her demise. The NRNA should be allowed to register in Nepal with special provision in the bill, NRNA demanded. The existing Registration Act allows registration of company owned by Nepali citizens only.

The government has already tabled the NRN bill at the parliament to encourage NRN investment in Nepal, among others.

Plea against King rejected

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to admit a contempt of court petition that had named King Gyanendra and army officials as defendants.

The petitioner, advocate Jit Man Basnet, was trying to lodge had named the King as a defendant as he was the Supreme Commander in Chief of the Army, charging the army with deceiving the court in the case related to those missing in military detentions.

The apex court quashed the writ on the ground that the petitioner had not made the King as defendant in an earlier habeas corpus petition while he was detained.

The SC said that the lawyer has not been able to justify reasons for filing the contempt of court petition.

The writ also named then Chief of the Army Staff General Pyar Jung Thapa, Chief of the battalion Raju Basnet, Brigadier General BA Kumar Sharma, then Spokesperson of the Nepal Army Dipak Gurung and Major Bibek Bista as defendants in the case
Demoted SC Judge Jha Ready to Work at Appellate Court

The demoted Supreme Court Judge, Paramananda Jha, is ready to work as the Chief Judge of the Biratnagar Appellate Court, Supreme Court registrar Dr Ram Krishna Timalsena told journalists on Tuesday. Jha had worked as an ad hoc judge of the apex court for two years.

"Judge Jha told me today he is ready to work again as the appellate court judge when I met him to inform him about the decision of the Judicial Council not to extend his tenure as an apex court judge," Timalsena said.

The Judicial Council had decided not to extend Jha's tenure as an ad hoc judge of the apex court because he had "improperly" freed a drug-peddler, Dil Bahadur Gurung, one-and- a-half-years ago, overturning the Kathmandu District Court and Patan Appellate Court orders to jail him. Police had caught Gurung while he was trying to smugggle 679 Kg of marijuana into Holland. The demoted Judge has almost a two-year tenure in the appellate court.

Dr Timalsena added the apex court would send him to the appellate court after Dashain. "I will handed him a letter to this effect after Dashain as the court will be closed in three days for Dashain," he added.

Govt tables Citizenship Bill at House of Representatives

The draft of the Nepal Citizenship Act, 2006 was tabled in the meeting of the House of Representatives Tuesday with the objective of timely amendment and integration of the existing laws related to citizenship.

The draft of the Citizenship Bill has the provision that an individual who was born in Nepal before April 1990 and has permanent domicile in Nepal will be a citizen of Nepal on the basis of birth.

Any person born of parents who are the citizens of Nepal will be a citizen of Nepal on the basis of descent and every minor found in Nepal whose parents' whereabouts is not known will be considered the citizen of Nepal on the basis of descent until the whereabouts of the parents is known.

Any foreign woman married to a Nepali citizen can acquire the Nepali citizenship on the basis of naturalization once she initiates the process of giving up her foreign citizenship. In order to acquire the citizenship, she will have to submit an application in the designated format, according to the draft of the Citizenship Bill.

A person more than 16 years of age and who wants to acquire citizenship certificate on the basis of birth or descent is required to apply for the same by including with the application the Nepali citizenship certificate of one's father, mother or the close relative in his lineage, one's birth certificate, the certificate attesting one's lineage, the recommendation of the Village Development Committee (VDC) or Municipality concerned, the land-ownership certificate in one's name, father's name or mother's name, or the receipt of the house tax.

The Government can also dispatch the citizenship distribution teams for the purpose of distributing citizenship certificates if it deems necessary, it is stated in the draft of the Citizenship Bill.

Mainwhile Experts raised serious concern over the proposed draft of the citizenship bill tabled at the House of Representatives and demanded that it should be immediately scrapped. The experts claimed that Nepali people would be outnumbered by foreigners if the proposed billcomes into effect.

While addressing an interaction programme on “Implications of the draft of the citizenship bill” organised by the Media Group Nepal Bhandari said the present House of Representatives (HoR) has no right to pass bill. He also termed the draft as “anti-nationalist”.

According to Bhandari, the bill if passed would bring dire consequences to the Nepali people because millions of foreigners living in Nepal from over 16 countries will claim citizenship. Citing the example of Fiji, he said that Nepali people would turn refugees in their own land if the proposed bill is passed.
Bhandari also claimed that the family members of minister Hridayesh Tripathi were involved in the encroachment of Nepal’s land at Susta.

“Even India has stopped providing citizenship to foreigners since 1961,” he said. Refuting the claim of Madhesi people he said that only 1.6 million people are deprived of citizenship certificate. “This bill would not solve the citizenship problems of the ethnic minorities of Nepal.” Advocate Borna Bahadur Karki said the draft of the bill is insignificant at a time when the nation is passing through transitional phase. He claimed that the MPs are on wrong track and this would lead the nation towards more complex situation. He expressed fear that the bill, if passed, could also end the identity of nation and suggested that the government should adopt stern policy regarding the sensitive issue of citizenship. “If we cannot check this on time it would be a unfortunate for the nation,” he said.

Expert on border issues Chetendra Jung Himali said the bill would put Nepal’s existence in danger. He said the people should began campaign against the draft of the citizenship bill. He also said they have formed a committee to oppose misuse of citizenship.

The committee had suggested the government to adopt Green Card system for the foreigners living in Nepal like the developed countries.

Final hearing on Gajurel's case on Friday

As court hearings continued to decide the fate of Nepali Maoist leader CP Gajurel, who was to be released from Chennai prison on Monday, his lawyers and sympathizers have alleged "blatant violation" of his human rights and the Indian Supreme Court directives ekantipur reports .

As hearings continued on the second straight day at Chennai's Metropolitan Court, further hearings are schedules for Wednesday and Friday.

A comprehensive hearing on Friday on the legality of his detention at the Chennai prison since Monday by a special task force of the West Bengal police should decide his fate, his lawyer A Rahul said.

That special task force was flown in on a special aircraft from Kolkata before the scheduled release of Gajurel, who was imprisoned for violating India's National Security Act.

Arrested on Sept. 3, 2003, when he was allegedly attempting to travel to London on a forged passport, Gajurel, or 'Comrade Gaurav', has also been charged with treason and violation of Indian arms law by the West Bengal government too.

"While detaining him [Gajurel] in the Chennai prison itself without appropriate arrest warrant from Jalpaiguri, the West Bengal police have blatantly violated national laws including the Supreme Court directives," Rahul said over telephone from Chennai.

He added that the police were also misbehaving with Gajurel and were denying him access to the media.

Gajurel, a Politburo Member of the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (CPN-M), was overseeing the party's foreign department at the time of his arrest. The 56-year-old's health condition has been described as good.

Also on Tuesday, Gajurel's supporters under the banner of Nepali Janadhikar Surakshya Samiti staged demonstrations against the Indian government outside the jail, according to the Samiti activists at the scene.

Shortly after the West Bengal police intervened, his supporters had moved the Chennai High court with a habeas corpus writ petition demanding that his confinement should not be extended.

Also facing similar charges in West Bengal is another senior CPN-M leader, Mohan Baidya, or 'Comrade Kiran'.

Gajurel was arrested from Siliguri bordering eastern Nepal where he was undergoing cataract surgery on March 30, 2004. Since then, he has been imprisoned in Siliguri and Jalpaiguri awaiting court trials, which haven't started as yet.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lawyer files plea against King in SC
A contempt of court case was filed in the Supreme Court against King Gyanendra today, but the court officials did not take any decision whether to admit it or not. This is the first time that a citizen has filed a case against the king.

Advocate Jitman Basnet filed the case against the King in his previous capacity as Supreme Commander in Chief of Royal Nepal Army. Basnet claimed that he was detained by the army without any reason and the army filed a false written affidavit in the the apex court saying that he was not detained in any army barrack.

The then chief of army staffs Pyar Jung Thapa, legal department chief BA Kumar Sharma, the then spokesperson Dipak Gurung, and army officials Raju Basnet and Bibek Bista have also been made defendants in the case.

Basnet claimed the officials had claimed he was not detained at the time when he was kept in the Bhairav Nath Barrack. According to him, army had detained him for 258 days. He sought compensation and maximum punishment for the defendants for misleading the court
SC to decide case against House declaration on Friday

The Supreme Court on monday said it would decide on Friday whether or not to issue show cause notices to the government and the House of Representatives (HoR) to test the historic declaration of parliament passed on May 18.

Justice Damodar Prasad Sharma scheduled the date for the announcement of his decision after a hearing on the case on monday.

Sharma told lawyers that he would decide the case after examining evidence and written arguments produced before the bench. Separate writ petitions were filed by lawyers, including Achyut Prasad Kharal challenging the declaration of HoR.

Senior advocates Ganesh Raj Sharma and Krishna Prasad Bhandari, and advocates Bal Krishna Neupane, Trilochan Gautam and Jukti Jung Lamichhane pleaded on behalf of the petitioners, claiming that the House declaration was issued against the spirit of the 1990 Constitution and that the declaration cannot remain in force along with the 1990 Constitution.

Maoist leader Gajurel re-arrested in India

Indian police have re-arrested senior Maoist leader C. P. Gajurel on Monday-- immediately after he was released from Madras central jail in India-- upon serving three-year-long sentence, reports said.

According to BBC Nepali Service, Indian authorities decided to detain Gajurel for one more day in view of the West Bengal government's request to hand him over to them. Two criminal cases are pending against Gajurel in West Bengal state of India, according to reports.

Dozens of pro-Maoist supporters had reached the Madras jail to receive Gajurel. They were, however, disappointed when the police re-arrested him. Talking to reporters briefly before being whisked away, Gajurel claimed that reactionary forces were hatching conspiracy to save monarchy in Nepal. "But such conspiracies will not succeed," he added.

Indian police had detained Gajurel three years ago while he was trying to board an international flight to Europe at the Chennai airport. The Chennai high court handed down a sentence of three years to the senior Nepali Maoist leader on charge of carrying forged passport.

Another senior Maoist leader, Mohan Baidya alias Kiran is also serving jail sentence in West Bengal state of India. Maoist sources say around three dozen Maoist cadres are still being detained in various Indian jails on criminal charges

Child rights groups concerned over ‘use’ of children in ANNISU-R convention

The National Coalition of Children as Zones of Peace (CZOP), a child rights network, has expressed serious concern over what it calls “use of children” in the national convention of the Maoist-aligned All Nepal National Independent Students Union (Revolutionary) that kicked off in Kathmandu Monday.

“It is found that thousands of school students from different parts of the country were involved in the national convention of the ANNISU-R on monday. Apart from this, several schools in Kathmandu and outside remained closed. It is found that the school students have been used in a way that adversely affects them physically and mentally, hampers curricular activities and violates the rights of children,” a press statement issued by the network said expressing serious concern over the matter.

The network said the schoolchildren were made to participate in the show of strength by the ANNISU-R in Kathmandu. Even as children have right to participate in peaceful demonstrations but the involvement of them rallies and sit-ins without the approval of their guardians or protectors is against the General Convention on Child Rights, the network said.

It pointed out that the concerned side failed to respond to the repeated calls made by guardians and human rights and child rights organisations to cases of violations of child rights while the government too failed to pay attention to this.

The coalition of 36 child rights and human rights organisations also called on the concerned party and other political parties and their sister organisations to respect the rights of the children and immediately stop using them in programmes that hamper their curricular activities

Monday, September 18, 2006

PAC Assures of Action against ‘Erring' SC Judges

The Public Account Committee (PAC) of the House of Representatives today told the lawyers representing the banks that the committee will initiate impeachment process against the SC judges who gave verdict in a case involving Mahalaxmi Sugar Mill.

The SC verdict has barred the banks from listing the Mill owned by businessman Binod Chaudhary and MP Birendra Kumar Kanoudiya on blacklist for defaulting banks’ loans.

The chairman of the committee Chitra Bahadur KC and members Dilli Raj Sharma, NP Saud, Mhan Bahadur Basnet and Lila Mani Pokhrel assured the lawyers at a hearing in the PAC meeting that they will initiate process to impeach the judges if the lawyers submitted valid grounds for the same.

“Submit in writing valid grounds to impeach the judges and we will initiate the process by presenting the report in the House,” the MPs told the lawyers.

Lawyers Purna Man Shakya, Shailendra Dahal, Prakash Wosti and Jogendra Keshari Ghimire participated in the PAC meeting today. They also said that the judges did not follow the already set SC precedents and the financial norms and ethics while deciding the case, and favored the businessmen.

Aryal blames govt, Maoists for incomplete draft statute

Coordinator of the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee, Laxman Prasad Aryal, said here Sunday that the blame for an incomplete draft constitution goes to both the government and the Maoists for their indecision on contentious issues.

Speaking at a discussion program on Constituent Assembly and Electoral System organized by the Freedom Forum, an NGO working in the field of democracy, human rights, media freedom and development, Aryal argued that there was no agreement between the ruling Seven-Party Alliance and the Maoists - and without consensus, the full-fledged constitution couldn't be possible. "The people have started to pressurize the government," he said.

The draft constitution was submitted to the government and the Maoist negotiating teams on August 25, almost two-and-a-half months after formation of the committee, which was initially asked to submit the draft within two weeks. The delay was largely attributed to no-consensus between the government and the Maoists on major issues like interim parliament and interim government, among others.

Also speaking on the occasion, former Speaker Daman Nath Dhungana criticized the government for "disowning" responsibility for the delay.

SC judge Jha demoted as appellate court judge

For the first time in Nepal’s judicial history since 1990, Supreme Court Judge Paramananda Jha has been demoted to the post of chief judge of appellate court two years after serving in the Supreme Court.

The Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel-headed Judicial Council (JC) took the decision on Friday not to extend his tenure citing a drug pedlar acquittal judgement passed by Jha one-and-a-half-years ago. “He has been demoted as he had decided the case in a wrong manner and without proper examination of the evidence,” a member of the JC told .

“We did not extend his tenure as his two-year tenure as SC’s ad hoc judge will end tomorrow,” the member added. Jha had acquitted a drug pedlar Dil Bahadur Gurung overturning the Kathmandu District Court and Patan Appellate Court orders to jail him.

Though the CJ had proposed that Jha be given an extension, other ex-officio members of the JC Kedar Prasad Giri and Min Bahadur Rayamajhi rejected the idea. Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bikram Nembang and royal nominee Bhairav Prasad Lamsal also participated in the JC meeting on Friday which decided not to extend Jha’s tenure but to allow him to work as the chief judge of an appellate court.Immediately after Jha’s decision to acquit Gurung, the JC had formed a three-member panel to investigate the issue. The panel had suggested the CJ to seek Jha’s resignation.

When contacted, Jha said nobody has informed him about the decision. “The JC must inform me, but if they do not extend my tenure I will decide whether or not to go to the Appellate Court again.”In the history ,1973, SC Justice Surendra Prasad Singh was demoted to the post of SC Registrar. According to advocate Prakash Wosti, he was again promoted a few months later. Singh retired a few years ago as Chief Justice.Same aeJudges Prithivi Bahadur Singh and Jaya Dev Bhatta were also demoted from the post of High Court Judges to Zonal Court judges after the High Court was abolished.
SAC drops provision for CIAA probe into army corruption
Parliamentary State Affairs Committee (SAC) has aborted the idea of allowing the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority to investigate corruption in the army .

SAC members, in an informal meeting on sunday rather have agreed to go for provisions of a mechanism for probing, and a special court for trying the corruption cases in the army.

SAC is currently holding a series of informal meetings with officials from the Ministry of Defence and army officers for clause-wise discussion on the bill meant to amend and integrat army related Acts. Once the bill is passed, the cases related to rape, murder, theft and torture, in which Nepali Army soldiers are involved, would go to the civil court.

Though a few lawmakers were for revising the tenure of senior army officers and introducing a fixed term of the officers, SAC is yet to decide on that, because Nepali Army representatives, Major General Amar Panta and Brigadier General BA Kumar Sharma, have come up with a new proposal.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Army court to be open to all

A senior army official said here Thursday that the Nepali Army (NA) would agree to keep its Military Court (MC) open to the press and ordinary citizens in the course of court-martial to "maintain transparency".

Attending a clause-wise discussion on the recently proposed NA Amendment Bill -2006 at a meeting of the State Affairs Committee (SAC) of the House of Representatives, Brigadier General BA Kumar Sharma said, "It can be made accessible for the press as we have expressed our commitment to work in tune with the changed context."

However, the MC will remain closed while taking decisions on crucial issues related to national security, public security and for the "protection" of victim's rights.

The SAC meeting, however, failed to reach any agreement to specify the jurisdiction of MC to bring criminal offences like individual or group extra-judicial killings, rape, theft, war crimes, crime against humanity and disappearance under the regular court.

As parliamentarian Gokarna Bista put forward the amendment widening the jurisdiction of the Supr-eme Court and Appellate Courts, General Sharma pleaded with MPs to consider the existing complexities within the military organization.

Later, MPs and NA representatives agreed to sort out the problem through a technical team on Friday.
SC quashes Sobhraj’s Petitions

The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed two separate writ petitions filed by alleged international serial killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj and his lawyers.

The apex court repealed a two-year-old writ filed by advocate Sanjeev Ghimire on behalf of Sobhraj seeking order to the government authorities to shift Sobhraj to a normal jail room from the high-security Sundhara-based Central Jail.

Announcing the verdict, a division bench of justices Top Bahadur Magar and Kalyan Shrestha said: "There is no need to issue any order as sought by the petitioner as Shobhraj is being detained there as per the order of the Ministry of Home Affairs."

Sobhraj is being detained in the Central Jail for the last three years after he made an unsuccessful attempt to break the jail.

Sobhraj's appeal is pending at the SC after the Kathmandu District Court and Patan Appellate Court imposed 20-year jail term for killing an American backpacker Connie Jo Bronzich in Nepal in 1975.

The petitioner had made the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ministry of Home Affairs and the jail administration defendants and sought SC order to shift Sobhraj to a normal jail room.

The bench also quashed another writ filed by Sobhraj's lawyers, including Rajaram Dhakal, Ram Bandhu Sharma and Sanjeev Ghimire, seeking the apex court order to the government authorities to allow them to meet Sobhraj frequently.

The bench quashed the second writ saying that there was no need to issue such an order, as the lawyers have told the apex court that the authorities have currently allowed them to meet their client.

In the petition, the lawyers had claimed that the authorities had infringed their client's right to consult the lawyers of his choice.
Scrap provision to seize convicts’ properties: SC

The Supreme Court on thrusday directed the government authorities to scrap the existing provisions of several acts that authorise court to seize property of convicts serving life sentence for heinous crimes.

A special bench comprising Justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Badri Kumar Basnet and Pawan Kumar Ojha, issued the directive to the government authorities, including the Office of Prime Minister Office and Cabinet and the Ministry of Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to scrap such provisions.

“Since the provisions to forfeit property is inconsistent with the international rights instruments signed by the Nepal government, the government should do away with them,” the bench observed while responding to a writ petition filed by advocate Achyut Prasad Kharel five months ago.
There are provisions to confiscate the properties of those convicted to life in several crimes under the Successor to the Throne Act 2044BS, Procession and Transport Management Act 2049, Military Act 2016, Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Control and Punishment Act 2002, and Muluki Ain (Civil Code) 2020.

The writ petitioner had sought an apex court order to scrap the provisions that allow confiscating the properties of such convicts, arguing that they would not be able to survive without property after serving the sentence.

“These provisions affect the right to life,” the petitioner added. According to him, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic and Cultural Rights bar to confiscating the properties of the convicts. He claimed that life sentence was enough punishment for heinous crimes and there was no need to further penalise them by seizing their properties.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Part-time teachers challenged in SC

Central Struggle Committee of Tribhuvan University on Wednesday filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court against the government's decision of appointing all the part-time teachers on contract basis.

In the petition filed by Ramesh Kumar Thapa, the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Education and Sports have been made the defendants. The petition has stated that the government decision has violated the regulations related to the appointment of government employees.
PAC decides to review SC verdict

The Public Accounts Committee meeting held on wednesday to examine the reasons for the Supreme Court verdict on Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills bank loan defaulting case has sparked a confrontation between the MPs and the legal experts.

The MPs said they would investigate the issue, as the verdict violated the rule of law and lacked public accountability, while the lawyers warned them not to interfere in the independence of judiciary.

The lawyers advised the MPs to initiate impeachment process against the particular judge if they found any judge involved in any irregularity.
The president of the Nepal Bar Association, Shambhu Thapa, said the PAC action was an attack on the independence of the judiciary. He challenged the MPs to promulgate a separate act with a provision to review SC verdicts by the House. “If you promulgate such an act to review the verdict, the apex court can examine even that decision,” he added.

Thapa, who is a member of the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee, claimed that the issue had affected the drafting of the interim constitution.
MPs, on the other hand, say the verdict was a hurdle in recovering Rs 1.38 billion bank loan from the Mills.

In January, a division bench of Justices Arjun Prasad Singh and Badri Kumar Basnet had issued the verdict scrapping the decision to blacklist the Mills owned by businessman Binod Kumar Chaudhary.

The PAC members have been expressing doubts that the case was decided when Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel had gone abroad and Justice Kedar Prasad Giri was the acting CJ.

General Secretary of the NBA, Madhav Banskota said, “We had participated in Jana Andolan seeking judiciary’s independence and we would never tolerate any attack on judiciary’s independence,” he added.

Former president of the Nepal Bar Association, Harihar Dahal, said the Parliament could impeach any judge involved in corruption but could not examine the apex court verdict. He added that a separate committee in the House could be set up to investigate and initiate action against such a judge. Attorney General Yagya Murti Banjade and senior advocate Sindhu Nath Pyakurel also condemned PAC action.

PAC Chairman Chitra Bahadur KC said they would even initiate action against judges involved in irregularities. “This may be a final verdict of the apex court but people can raise question, as irregularities occurred in this case,” he added. MPs Ishwor Pokhrel and Mohan Bahadur Basnet said though they did not want to attack the independence of the judiciary, they wanted to know what actually happened in the case.

NRB guv condemns SC decision

Nepal Rastra Bank Governor Bijay Nath Bhattarai on Wednesday submitted a statement before the Public Accounts Committee arguing that the SC order removing certain business houses from the bank defaulter blacklist would have a long-term impact on the economy and financial system of the country.

Saying that the 1,470 defaulters had made it to the blacklist long before Loan Information Centre was instituted, Bhattarai stated that the court order would remove the defaulters from the blacklist leaving them free to take further loans.

Chief Executive Officer of Nepal Bank Ltd John Fitzerald stated that the Supreme Court on Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills could be disastrous for the banking sector.

Reacting to the entire controversy, Binod Chaudhary, who owns the mills, said, “ We have never been in such a tangle with the bank before. This appears to be aimed at defiling the image of the Chaudhary Group.

Banks are trying to create controversy after they failed to recover loans. There are 1,400 defaulters.”

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

JICP report to stay under wraps: SC

The Supreme Court on tuesday declined to direct the government to make public the report of the Judicial Investigation Commission on Property (JICP) that was prepared four years ago, saying it would create a law and order problem in the country.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and Justice Khil Raj Regmi, while issuing the verdict in response to a public interest litigation filed by advocate Tikadhoj Khadka three years ago, observed that the right to information guaranteed by Article 16 of the 1990 Constitution could not be activated on this issue.

The bench held that the Probe Commission Act 2026 BS did not allow making public the report. The bench also pointed out the precedent set by the SC by declining to make public the property details in the Girija Prasad Koirala vs CIAA case.

The advocate had demanded the Supreme Court’s mandamus order to the government seeking public access to the report. Immediately after receiving the report, the government had handed it over to the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority for its implementation.The petitioner had pointed out the urgent need to publicise the report, as those found guilty should face action.

“Since it is an issue of public concern, the government should make public the property details,” the petitioner had claimed. The Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the JICP were defendants in the case.

The petitioner had claimed that those holding public posts should make public their property details and that they could not hide their property details, as they were answerable to the taxpayers.

Former Supreme Court Justice Bhairav Prasad Lamsal, who headed the JICP, had submitted the report to the government investigating the property details of about 5,000 politicians and public officials.
House forms committee to amend regulations
The House of Representatives (HoR) unanimously passed the bill related to Public Document Authentication, and also formed a panel to amend the HoR Regulations — 2006. The HoR had passed the Regulations on June 10

The Regulations is being amended because the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee could not function, as a result of which the government could not name three candidates for the purpose of appointing one of them as an ambassador.
The Regulations states that the Special Committee should conduct a hearing on nominated candidates for the post of ambassadors and heads of constitutional bodies and furnish its suggestion to the government within 10 working days.The members of the committee told reporters that the new provisions had already been discussed and agreed to at the top level and the draft of the amendment would be tabled in the HoR at the earliest.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Rayamajhi Commission grills ex-assistant minister

The High Level Probe Commission headed by former Supreme Court justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi Tuesday questioned former junior ministers of the erstwhile royal government Roshan Karki and Rajesh Kaji Shrestha.

The commission, formed to recommend necessary punishment to the perpetrators of heavy-handed suppression the pro-democracy movements had summoned the duo in connection with the massive mobilisation of security personnel and suppression during the April uprising at Kirtipur.

The questioning comes at a time when the Locals at Kirtipur Municipality have been demanding the commission to summoning the then Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

The Rayamajhi commission also summoned Police Inspector Raj Kumar Silwal of Sarlahi for questioning today.

Kaule carnage victim's kin move SC

The relatives of those killed allegedly by Nepal Army personnel in Kaule village development committee in Nuwakot district four years ago filed a petition in the Supreme Court on monday seeking compensation and punishment against the wrongdoers.

Army personnel allegedly killed five persons Pariman Tamang, Jit Bahadur Tamang, Chandra Man Tamang, Chokta Tamang and Kanchha Tamang from the Kaule village development committee in December 2002 when they were returning home, for no apparent reasons.

The Forum for Human Rights and Democracy has assisted the kin of the five to file the case.

The victims’ relatives have sought the apex court order to the government to provide compensation to them and punish the security personnel involved in the incident.

The petitioners have also sought the apex court directive to the government to promulgate an act to ensure compensation from the state and the perpetrators.

The Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, teh Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defence, Nepal Army Headquarters, Bhagawoti Prasad Barrack of the Nepal Army in Nuwakot district, the District Administration Office and District Police Office are made the defendants in the petition.

The petitioners also claimed that the army had violated the right to life and the international Convention on Civil and Political Rights of those persons who were killed.

“The army men have committed a serious crime, thus they should face maximum punishment,” the petition states.

Writ against Katuwal's Appointment

A writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the government's decision to appoint Lt Gen Rukmangat Katuwal the army chief.

Advocate Dil Hari Sharma filed the petition against the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Defence Minister and his office and the Army Chief and his office.

Sharma had earlier filed a similar petition immediately after the government appointed Katuwal the acting chief of the Nepali Army. Sharma has claimed that Katuwal joined the army by producing documents with false date of birth and that he should have retired four years ago.

NHRC sent letter to Maoists

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Maoists to furnish the details of 152 people alleged to have disappeared on their hands.

In a letter sent to the Maoists on Monday, the top human rights watchdog of the country has stated that investigations reveal the death of 24 persons in Maoist captivity. The NHRC has asked the party to furnish details of these deceased people. In addition to that, the NHRC has also asked the details of 28 people who are alleged to be killed in captivity, but yet to be verified.

The NHRC said it has received 312 complaints of displacement due to acts of the Maoists and its sister organisations, eight complaints of torture, 12 complaints regarding the violations of economic, social and cultural rights and 51 complaints regarding the locking of houses and threats to take life. The rights body has asked the rebel groups to send complete details of these cases as well.

Earlier, Maoist chairman Prachanda had pledge to investigate into the cases of disappearance if the party received any formal complains.

mainwhile The OHCHR-Nepal handed over a document to the Maoists expressing its concerns over human rights abuses by the Maoists since its ceasefire on April 26.

OHCHR-Nepal welcomed the directives by CPN-Maoist to its cadres to halt beatings, abductions and killings, and forced donations,” a statement by the OHCHR stated.

“By fulfilling the commitments of its leadership to respect human rights, cadres of the CPN-Maoist can both make an immediate improvement in the human rights situation and make an important contribution to building the climate of trust required for peace process,” said David Johnson, Officer-in-Charge of OHCHR-Nepal.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Rayamajhi Commission questions erstwhile Defence Secy

The High-level Investigation Commission headed by former Supreme Court justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi Monday questioned Defence Secretary of the erstwhile royal government, Bishnu Dutta Uprety.

Speaking to the commission today, Uprety pledged his innocence claiming that he had played "no role in the suppression of the April movements."

In a brief talk with media persons today, Uprety also said that he had no authority to counsel the king and mobilise troops during the erstwhile government.

The commission, formed to recommend necessary punishment to the perpetrators of heavy-handed suppression the pro-democracy movements had summoned Defence Secretary to question him regarding the Army mobilisation during the April Pro-Democracy Movements.
The Rayamajhi commission will also summon 9 other security officials of the Nepal Army and Armed Police later today.
Supreme court directed government in child rights

In an order to protect the rights of children, the Supreme Court (SC) has directed the government authorities the Prime Minister's Office and Cabinet and the Ministry of Education and Sports to incorporate child rights laws in school curriculum.

Acting upon a writ petition jointly filed by Friends of Needy Children, an NGO and a group of lawyers, a division bench of Justices Sharada Prasad Pundit and Bal Ram KC said, “Include child rights laws and international conventions along with the Child Rights Act, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC) and other child rights conventions in school curriculum.”

The bench also drew the attention of the government authorities to effectively implement laws related to rights of the child, according to media reports.

The bench also observed that it is the responsibility of the government to protect the rights of the child as per the national and international child rights documents.

The SC also ordered the government to strictly implement the Articles 9, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 28, 29, 31 and 32 of the CRC which have provisions to secure the rights of the child.

Citing the custom of Kamalary in the western districts of Banke, Bardiya, Dang, Kailali and Kanchanpur as serious violation of child rights, the bench issued an order to stop the system.
The writ petitioners almost two years ago had moved the Supreme Court seeking its order to the government against the system.

Kin of missing to move SC

Relatives of five youth killed by security personnel in Kaule VDC-4, Nuwakot said they are filing a writ petition at the Supreme Court Monday demanding that they be provided compensation and the guilty be punished. Similarly, Gopal Prasad Lamichhane, whose son Khet Prasad Lamichhane was also killed by security personnel on Dec 8, 2001 in Bageshwori VDC-3 in the district is also filing a case in the apex court Monday.

A security patrol from District Headquarters Bidur had shot dead five innocent teenagers Pari Man Tamang, 17, Jit Bahadur Tamang, 19, Chandra Bahadur Tamang, 16, Kanchha Man Tamang, 14, and Chandra Bahadur Tamang aka Chotta, 17, on Nov 27, 2002. The youth were shot dead while they were returning home after attending the death ritual of their relative in Burdung Danda at about 1:20 a.m.

Relatives of the deceased have come to Kathmandu from Nuwakot to approach the apex court. Human Rights and Democratic Forum (FOHRD) financially assisted them to come to Kathmandu and file a case seeking justice.
CIAA Not to Act Against Promoters of Fulbari Resort

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) recently decided not to initiate action against the promoters of the Pokhara-based Fulbari Resort for alleged bank default case.

The CIAA has taken the decision stating that there was no ground to say that it was a corruption case as the Nepal Bank Limited, the Rastriya Banijya Bank, the Nepal Industrial and Development Corporation and the Employees' Provident Fund Office invested in the resort.

The banks and the financial institutions have provided Rs 1. 81 billion and now the Resort have to pay Rs 3.64 billion with interest.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nepal Bank Limited J Craig McAllister had filed a complaint in the CIAA demanding recovery of more than Rs 3.64 billion from the promoters of the Fulbari Resort including its promoters Pyush Bahadur Amatya about three years ago.

"There was no ground to say that the investment is in wrong place as the promoters have already given the guarantee for the bank and financial institutions," the text of the CIAA decision states. The text also said that the lead partner of the investment bodies Nepal Bank Limited had already filed a case in the Debt Recovery Tribunal seeking recovery of the loan, thus there was no need to initiate action under the Corruption Control Act 2002.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Chief Justice stresses judiciary's independence

Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel has said that judiciary will not agree to any decision or agreement that will cause the judiciary to lose its judicial identity and independence, as the Court's responsibility is to keep intact the norms and values of independent judiciary and optimum practices of judicial freedom.
"Nepalese judiciary will never accept to any game that is meant for causing or losing the established original and independent identity," Paudel said, expressing his commitment towards independent judiciary. He said that this was of utmost importance and relevant in the present Nepalese context.The Supreme Court might quash the provisions made by the Legislature that contravene with the Constitution of the land, Paudel said.
Paudel made these remarks speaking at closing ceremony 'Basic Training to Newly Appointed District Judges', organised by National Judicial Council Friday. There were 47 district judges who participated in the two-week training.Paudel said, citing opinions of American experts: Kenneth Janda, Jaffery M. Berry and Jerry Goldman in their book 'Challenge of Democracy', which reads: "The Supreme Court of India offers an extreme example of judicial review.
In 1967, the Court held that the parliament could change the fundamental rights sections of the constitution, even by constitutional amendment! The parliament then amended the constitution to secure its power to amend the constitution. The Supreme Court upheld the amendment but declared that any amendments that attack the "basic structure" of the constitution would be invalid.
In India, the Supreme Court is truly supreme."Paudel said while there are subjudice cases in the SC against the Proclamation of the House of Representatives-2063."Our court, as per the democratic practices in other judiciaries around the world, has declared several laws as null and void under judicial review," Paudel said."I would not be balk to follow international principles and practices to keep intact independent judiciary," he expressed commitment as Chief Justice.Paudel also cited British CJ Coke's saying (1803) in the case of Bonham and the citation reads: "The Court can examine and quash laws made by the parliament which are against the theories of natural justice and common law under the provision of judicial review."
Similarly, CJ Paudel cited another precedence made by American Judge Marshall in the case Marbury versus Madison that reads: "Court can declare null and void the laws made by the executive and legislature, if they are against the norms and values of the constitutional standard."
Other speakers at the programme included executive director of the academy Top Bahadur Singh and SC's registrar Dr. Ram Krishna Timilsina.

PAC to discuss SC's verdict on blacklist case

The parliamentary Public Account Committee (PAC) has begun discussion on a controversial verdict issued by the Supreme Court in favour of the Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills in a bank loan default case.

The verdict had scrapped the decision taken by the Rastriya Banijya Bank (RBB), the Credit Information Centre (CIC) and Bankers’ Club (BC) to blacklist the Mills for “defaulting bank loan”.

The PAC decided to summon legal experts, including Attorney-General Yagya Murti Banjade, senior advocate, Radheshyam Adhikary, NBA president Shambhu Thapa, and former AGs Badri Bahadur Karki and Mahadev Yadav, to assist the parliamentary committee during the next meeting of the PAC on the matter, which is scheduled for Wednesday, reports said.

In January, a division bench of justices Arjun Prasad Singh and Badri Kumar Basnet had issued the verdict, scrapping the decision to blacklist the Mills owned by businessmen, including Binod Chaudhary.

“We will not only summon the judges concerned, but also initiate an impeachment motion against them if we found that they had resorted to irregularities while deciding the case,” Chair of the committee Chitra Bahadur KC said.

Rastriya Banijya Bank, Nepal Bank Limited, Himalayan Bank, Employees Provident Fund and Nepal Industrial Development Corporation had asked the House of Representatives to impeach three judges in a letter on July 6.

Compensation to tortured maid
Siddartha Rana, wife of army colonel, has admitted of torturing her domestic help and also agreed to provide compensation to the victim.

Resident of Khumaltar-15, Siddartha agreed to provide Rs. 200,000 to 12-year-old Laxmi Pun (Chameli). She, however, claimed that another army personnel working in her house had tortured Chameli.

Lalitpur Women Police Cell and Satdobato Ward Police Office had rescued the girl on September 4 on the basis of case filed by Child Workers in Concerned Center (CWIN), which had received an appeal from local people of Khumaltar to rescue the girl.

"The tremendous pressure from the people made it possible to provide Laxmi with compensation," said Pradeep Dangol, representative of Children-Women in Social Service and Human Rights (CWISH), one of five organizations that pushed for rescue and compensation.

In a written agreement, reached in the presence of Lalitpur District Police, representative from Magar Society, Legal Aid and Consultancy Center, Peace Society, CWISH, and CWIN, Rana committed that she would provide half of the money on October 9 and remaining amount on November 9. The girl is now staying at CWIN's hostel.

The amount will be deposited in the bank in Laxmi's account in the presence of her guardian and school principal where she will be admitted.

Friday, September 08, 2006

ICJ Calls for Changes to Draft Army Act
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) called on the Nepal's Government and the House of Representatives to make 19 changes to the draft Army Act, which is currently being considered by parliament.“While we agree with the importance of bringing the army under civilian political control as swiftly as possible, this Bill is of too great national importance for a poor text to be adopted in haste”, said the ICJ in a report released here on Friday.
The ICJ report, entitled Nepal: Recommendations for amendments to the draft Army Act, identified two principal areas of concern. The Bill entrenches rather than ends the impunity of the armed forces for serious human rights violations and fails to provide anyone arrested, detained and tried by a Court Marital a range of internationally accepted fair trial guarantees, report adds.The ICJ analysis draws lessons from Nepal’s recent history, especially the causes of systematic impunity in the army, and makes recommendations to bring the Bill into line with Nepal’s international human rights obligations and best practices around the world.
The Bill grants members of the Nepal Army an almost blanket immunity from prosecution for human rights violations and creates a range of procedural rules that can also be used to avoid prosecution for such crimes in civilian courts and even in military courts.The Bill fails to ensure that the jurisdiction of Courts Martial will be limited to internal military offences and that all other crimes, including serious human rights violations, such as torture, rape, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, will be tried by an ordinary civilian court.
The Bill also fails to provide adequate safeguards to anyone arrested, detained or tried by the military. As a judicial body, the Courts Martial set up under the Bill do not meet the test of competence, independence and impartiality required by the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Nepal has ratified, statement read.
Read ICJ Report
SC marks Civil Service Day

A reception was organised at the Supreme Court today to mark the Civil Service Day.On the occasion, Supreme Court Registrar, Ram Krishna Timsena lauded the decision taken by the Government to observe a holiday on the Day that, he said, should be taken as an opportunity to identify and promote the talents of the civil servants and make them more responsible and dutiful.
At the program, an announcement was made to award four employees of the Court in high evaluation of their work. They will bag a prize of Rs. 1,500 each.Acting Secretary of the Judicial Council Prakash Kumar Dhungana and Supreme Court employees were present on the occasion.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Int'l media mission recommends reform in media laws

The visiting international media mission has recommended the government of Nepal for extensive amendments of media laws to strengthen the press freedom and democratic values.

During a press conference at the end of the its visit in the capital on Thursday, the mission said it was hopeful of its recommendations being implemented by the newly formed democratic government.

"We have received commitments from the government, political parties and the Maoists towards press freedom and freedom of expression, which we hope will be translated into practice," said Executive Director of the International Media Support, Jesper Hojberg.

The mission has recommended that the provisions in the draft interim constitution relating to freedom of expression and of the media be comprehensively reviewed and amended to ensure that they provide strong protection of fundamental rights.

The mission further recommended for comprehensive reform in the media laws, reform of the state media, guarantee the right to access information and initiatives to improve the conditions of working journalists.

"Provisions in Nepalese law are unduly restrictive of freedom of the media," the mission said and recommended changes in the provisions like defamation of criminal offences on charge of writing news.

The government media should be privatised or transformed into public service media with guarantee of structural independence and protection from potential interference, the mission said.

The mission has expressed its concerns over the climate of impunity on attacks on journalists even after the restoration of democracy and urged the government that the Working Journalist Act 1995 be comprehensively reviewed and amended to ensure that it can effectively achieve its objective of improving the working conditions of journalists.

The third mission had arrived here on Sunday for five-day visit to access the situation of press freedom here after the success of April uprising. The members of the mission include ARTICLE 19, Free Voice, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), International Media Support (IMS) International News Safety Institute, Reporters sans Frontières (RSF), Open Society Institute, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).

Women lack access to justice: Experts

Conditions such as lack of women's right to property and a majority in the judicial system being men have led to denial of justice to women, legal experts said here Wednesday.

"Women who don't have support from maternal home and legal aid often remain out of the justice system. It is because they don't have property," said advocate Chhatra Kumari Gurung, while speaking at a workshop on "Women's representation in judicial system and gender sensitivity" organized by the Legal Aid and Consultancy Center.

She also said that it was almost impossible for women victims to narrate their case in front of males, which they are compelled to, as a majority in the judicial system are males.

"Neither are there female guards in the courts nor are there any women friendly infrastructures like toilet and separate waiting rooms," said Judge Dr. Ananda Mohan Bhattarai. "Court often remains insensitive towards abuse, exploitation and poor health condition of women in custody."

Mainwhile Women constitute almost 55 per cent of all internal migrants and 11 per cent of international migrants in Nepal and their contribution to families' economic support is significant, yet their needs and contributions have gone largely ignored, said speakers at lunching State of World Population Report 2006 on Wednesday.

UNFPA launched State of World Population Report 2006 ? "A Passage of Hope: Women and International Migration"and Moving Young on Wednesday, which highlighted the social, economic and demographic aspects of youth migration.

The report said that every year millions of women working overseas send hundreds of million of dollars in remittances to their homes and communities. These funds go to feed and educate children, provide health care, build homes, foster small businesses and generally improve living standards.

Migrant workers move to marry, rejoin migrant husbands and family, or to work. They are domestic workers, cleaners, caretakers of the sick, the elderly and children, farmers, waitresses, sweatshop workers, highly skilled professionals, teachers, nurses, entertainers, sex workers, hostesses, refugees and asylum seekers, the report said.

Time to Contest for NBA post
As the Nepal Bar Association (NBA) elections approach, the atmosphere at the bar has heated up. The NBA has now turned into a virtual political battlefield of lawyers associated with the ruling Nepali Congress and different left parties.

Senior advocates Bishwo Kanta Mainali and Basanta Ram Bhandari are going to contest for the post of Nepal Bar Association president in the upcoming election of the Nepal Bar Association (NBA).

Mainali will be representing the progressive lawyers panel backed by the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist and Leninist and leftist parties and Bhandari is to represent the democratic lawyers panel backed by the Nepali Congress.

Advocate Upendra Keshari Neupane will contest the post of general secretary of the Nepal Bar Association from the panel of democratic lawyers panel and one from advocates Bharat Raj Uprety and Raman Shrestha are likely to contest for the post of general secretary representing progressive lawyers panel which comprises pro left lawyers.

Accordingto source, more than 6000 voters in the association, more than two thirds are non-practitioners. Kathmandu polling station has the highest number of voters Biratnagar has the second highest number of voters. As branches of the NBA are scattered all over the country, candidates have to take a national tour.
Citizenship Bill passed

The Council of Ministers has passed a bill to make acquiring citizenship more convenient to those who have been facing difficulties obtaining one.

The meeting of the cabinet held at the prime minister's residence at Baluwatar on Wednesday decided to move ahead the process to provide Nepali citizenship to those who have been residing in Nepal until the second week of April 1990 and for those having any written evidence of being a Nepali.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation Pradip Gyawali said that the government passed the bill to ease the citizenship acquiring process.

"To end the citizenship crisis permanently, the government, in the new bill, has amended the existing Citizenship Act adding some provisions to punish any illegal acquirement of one. And the citizenship acquiring process has been simplified so that no genuine Nepali shall be deprived of a citizenship certificate," said the minister.

It is learnt that with the government decision, some 4 million people living in the Terai regions will benefit from the new bill.

Now, descendants whether from the father or mother, who has Nepali citizenship and given birth to their child before 1990, will have the opportunity to acquire citizenship.

Today's bill, passed by the cabinet also has made provisions for those who have registered their names at the last national census to acquire citizenship.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

SAC hits King from approving Public Documents

The Parliament's State Affairs Committee (SAC) has decided to scrap the terminology ‘His Majesty’ from the Bill on Approving Public Document and deprived the King from the power of approving Public Documents.
The meeting of the SAC took the decision to remove the terminology from the bill, saying it would not affect the functioning of the Act.

The Bill, in Clause (2), had given the right to approve public documents to ‘His Majesty’. After the bill is passed by the parliament, any person appointed by the Nepal government will have the authority of approving the public documents.

Earlier, the meeting of the committee adjourned twice following dispute among lawmakers on whether to allow the King the right to verify public documents or not.

In previous meetings, Nepali Congress and Nepali Congress-Democratic (NC-D) leaders proposed going with the ‘Head of the State,’ but leftist lawmakers strongly opposed it, demanding definition of the term, if it was to be used to replace the term His Majesty.

The amended act presented by law minister Narendra Bikram Nemwang before the parliament earlier sparked criticism and was referred to the SAC after Clause (2) had given the right to approve public documents to ‘His Majesty’.

Meanwhile, chairman of the SAC Hridaya Ram Thani told Nepalnews that henceforth the credentials of the foreign diplomats will be received by the person appointed by the government of Nepal. He said the person could be Prime Minister, chief secretary or Speaker.

"This has scrapped all powers vested in the king making him a citizen of the country," Thani said. He, however, said the king will still be the head of the state even after this amendment.

MPs concern over SC regulations on citizenship

Members of House of Representatives have expressed serious concern over new Supreme Court regulations that made citizenship certification mandatory while filing applications in courts.

They claimed the new provision has denied hundreds of thousands of poor people living in the terai region from access to justice.

"The new system has introduced - 'no citizenship no justice system'," said Rastriya Prajatantra Party Chairman Pashupati Shumsher Rana. "We demand that government send teams to every doorstep immediately to distribute citizenship certificates," he said. "The process should be complete before Constituent Assembly Elections"

Nepali Congress Assistant General Secretary Dr Ram Baaran Yadav urged the government to introduce a Citizenship Bill immediately to ensure that the people get citizenship papers before assembly elections.

Yadav said only those who are aboriginal people and cannot bribe government officials are without citizenship papers.

"Those migrated from the south have already received certificates through the strength of their wealth and approach with panchayati rulers," he said. "Now even if we offer citizenship papers, no Indian comes to Nepal because of growing economic opportunities in India."

Most of the MPs who spoke during special hour accused the government of failing to maintain law and order. "The insecurity prevailing in village has not shifted to cities and the capital after the ceasefire," said Rana. "All factories and hotels have been terrorized and businessmen have been victims of extortion," said Rana. MPs also suggested the government to respect the spirit of the janaandolan's mandate and urged the Maoist rebels not to try to walk out of the dialogue table.

They expressed serious concerns over ongoing cold war between the government and the Maoists, instead of taking concrete initiatives for confidence building.
SC Upholds Decision to Cancel Lumbini Oversea’s Licence

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the two-year old decision of the government to cancel the licence of Lumbini Overseas Private Limited.

A division bench of Justices Ram Prasad Shrestha and Top Bahadur Magar decided to uphold the decision. The bench nullified the writ petition filed by its managing director Kul Bahadur Karki challenging the decision of the Ministry of Labour and Transport Management, which had cancelled the licence of the Lumbini Overseas and slapped Rs one lakh fine on it.

"The writ petitioner could not justify his good intention while coming to the apex court; thus an order cannot be issued as per demand," the bench added. The then Minister Raghuji Pant had decided to cancel the licence of the manpower company.

The bench also said that the manpower company had evaded tax while sending people to South Korea and was "involved with illegal activities." The bench observed that the manpower company had sent 5,583 trainee workers to South Korea, but paid tax for just 3,586 and evaded tax of 1727 workers.

Respect independence of judiciary: CJ

Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel on tuesday called organs of the state to work to respect independence of the judiciary and the “limitations” defined by the “doctrine of constitutionalism.”

“It would be bad luck for the country if we cannot save the independence of the judiciary as we are known in the international arena for our independence of judiciary,” he said.

He also made an appeal to protect the independence of the judiciary and judges and not to promulgate any law with retrospective effect with provision of reappointment as the same is against concept of independence of judiciary. He said this while speaking at a training for social workers organised by the Central Child Welfare Committee here on tuesday .

The Chief Justice also said that it is against the independence of judges to make a provision of reappointment of judges as they were appointed independently.

“Judiciary is just an institution which should not be affected by frequent changes in political system and amendments to constitution, but it is always ready to provide justice to people.”

Claiming that he had fought for independence of judiciary in the past, he expressed commitment to do so in the future as well.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

SC issued show cause to Govt Decision

The Supreme Court has issued show cause notices to the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ministry of Education and Sports and Tribhuvan University demanding reasons on why the cabinet took decision to appoint TU’s part-time teachers on contract basis.

The Supreme Court has called the authorities to furnish the reply within 15 days. The cabinet had on August 22 decided to appoint 900 part-time teachers on contract basis and to create 900 more posts for part-time teachers in the university.

A single bench of Justice Pawan Kumar Ojha issued the order responding a writ petition jointly filed by permanent residents of Chitwan district Bishnu Hari Koirala and Krishna Prasad Nure.

The petitioners have claimed the decision is against the rule of law and against the Working Procedures of TU Teachers and Officials Service Conditions 2051 BS. The petitioners have sought the apex court’s certiorari order to scrap the decision and stay order not to implement the cabinet decision.
New provisions proposed in Civil Service Bill

Adopting some new provisions in civil service, the government on Monday proposed 45 per cent reservation for Women, Dalits, Janajatis and other disadvantaged groups.

State Minister for General Administration Dhramanath Prasad Shah tabled a Bill in the House of Representatives, which has also made a provision for open competition at the under-secretary and joint-secretary levels.

The royal government had scrapped open competition in the high-ranking posts in civil service through an ordinance immediately after King Gyanendra seized power last year.

The government has proposed 45 per cent quota for women, Janajatis and Dalits, Madhesis and disabled to make civil service inclusive, according to clause 10 (6) of the Bill. The quota will exist for the next 20 years but separate examinations will be conducted to give them chances for jobs. However, if people cannot claim in such quotas in the same year of vacancy, the government can fill the posts through normal ways and other free competitors can fight for the posts.

The government has the authority to appoint women in certain posts if the posts are suitable for them.

This is the first time the government has adopted quota system. The Bill is to amend Civil Service Act 2049 and to repeal the Civil Service Ordinance promulgated by the king-led government last year. The Bill has proposed 10 per cent open competition for the posts of joint-secretary and under-secretary.

The Bill has proposed to scrap the provision of appointing peons in the government service immediately after it is passed by the House.
Civil servants can be transferred with the consent of the Ministry of General Administration, as the government can deploy them for census, elections, and other kinds of permanent and temporary jobs.

The Bill has made a provision according to which the government cannot keep any official in any post more than one month without giving them work. But the government can send officials to the reserve pool.

The Bill has adopted a new provision to promote officials from non-gazetted to gazetted posts and there will be a committee to fix pay scale of civil servants, which will be headed by the chief secretary of the government. As per clause 41 of the Bill, a civil servant can take voluntary retirement with the conditions offered by the government after attending the age of 50. There is a provision for provident fund and the officials will be allowed to withdraw the fund at the time of retirement.