Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Military court orders various sentences

The General Military Court constituted under the Chairmanship of Major General Yadav Bahadur Rayamajhi in order to probe the incident that took place at the Durbarmarg Police Station on August 29, 2006 has awarded various levels of sentence to four army officers and one sergeant among others found guilty in the incident.
The Military Court has sentenced Captain Robin Bikram Rana to one year in prison along with a court martial and also rendering him unfit for civil service in the future while sergeant Resham Shrestha has been sentenced to 45 days of military custody and a halt in his promotion for a year.Likewise, the Court has punished Lieutenant Colonel Rajendra Jung Khatri with a three-year suspension in his promotion, a five-year suspension in the promotion of Major Anil Khadka and one year ban in the promotion of Second Lieutenant Sabin Raj Dura, according to the Nepal Army, Directorate of Public Relations.
Similarly, the Court has also sentenced Lance Corporals Purna Bahadur Karki, Lok Bahadur Rana, Nanda Bahadur Lamichanne, Nanda Bahadur Thapamagar and soldiers Bharat Bahadur Shrestha, Man Bahadur Simkhada, Bhoj Raj Timsena, Chet Prasad Timsena, Dipendra Mishra, Ramesh Chaudhary, Bijaya Tamang and others to 45 days of custody.
Legal provision must to hold CA polls, says CEC
Newly-appointed Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Bhoj Raj Pokhrel on monday urged the government to provide new constitutional and legal space to hold the elections to the Constituent Assembly (CA). “Now the government should manage the constitutional and legal space to provide the ground to hold the elections to the CA,” he added.
He was talking to journalists after taking oath before the House Declaration Special Committee of the House of Representatives. Deputy Speaker Chitra Lekha Yadav and MPs were present in the ceremony. Pokhrel also added that, as the 1990 Constitution does not allow to go for the CA elections, there is an urgent need either to make a provision allowing the CA elections in the Interim Constitution or to amend the provision of the 1990 Constitution for that purpose. “The government should provide the legal way in this regard,” he added.
Asked about the possibility of holding the CA polls within April-May and his preparation, Pokhrel added that he has no different commitment except the state’s commitment in this regard. “Now it is the commitment of you and me to hold the elections at the earliest but cooperation between stakeholders is needed,” he added. Pokhrel also expressed his commitment of holding CA elections in a free, fair and peaceful manner. “There is an urgent need to boost the credibility of the Election Commission,” he added.
Panel formed to investigate RCCC’s deeds

The government on monday formed a committee to probe the formation and functioning of the now-defunct Royal Commission for Control of Corruption (RCCC). The committee is headed by former justice Madhav Ojha.
The decision to form the committee, which was taken monday at the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime ministerial residence, will be formally announced tuesday. The proposal to form the committee was mooted by Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula before the cabinet endorsed the same with minimum discussion, it has been learned.
The RCCC was formed 15 days after the royal proclamation of February 1, 2005 to combat “political corruption.” It was dissolved by the Supreme Court on February 13, 2006. The RCCC was headed by Bhakta Bahadur Koirala.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Show-cause notice to govt on Bhairabnath ‘disappearances’

The Supreme Court issued a show-cause notice to the government on Monday, ordering the concerned authority to furnish written clarification as to why no proper inquiry was initiated into allegation of enforced disappearance of detainees from the army’s Bhairab Nath Battalion in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu.

Deciding on a writ petition filed by advocate Jit Man Banet on Sunday, a single bench of Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi asked the concerned government authority to furnish a written statement to the court within 15 days.

Advocates Mohan Murti Panta, Nar Bahadur Khadka and Basnet himself had presented arguments in favour of the writ petition.

The writ demands an independent probe into the ‘disappearance’ of 49 detainees by the army in 2004, terming the government’s latest report, which claimed that the army didn’t disappear 49 persons from the Bhairabnath Battalion, as unreliable and demands that the court order the government to set up an inquiry commission to find out the condition of the disappeared persons and suspend the army personnel and government officials responsible for the disappearances and start legal action against them.

According to the writ, several detainees went missing from the ‘secret’ detention facility inside the Bhairab Nath Battalion in 2004.
Writ petition demands independent probe into Bhairabnath 'disappearances'

A writ petition was filed at the Supreme Court on Sunday demanding independent probe into the 'involuntary disappearances' of 49 detainees from the Nepali Army’s Bhairatnath Battalion in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, in 2004.

The writ petition filed by advocate Jit Man Banet stated that the government’s latest report that the army didn’t disappear 49 persons from the Bhairabnath Battalion is not credible. Basnet’s writ demanded that the court order the government to set up an inquiry commission to find out the condition of the disappeared persons and suspend the army personnel and government officials responsible for the disappearances and start legal action against them.
The writ said several detainees went missing from the ‘secret’ detention facility inside the Bhairab Nath Battalion in 2004.

Following a direction from the Foreign Affairs and Human Rights Committee of the parliament, secretary at the Ministry of Defence, Bishnu Dutta Upreti, on October 12 presented a report on the status of 12 persons, shrugging off the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) that held the army responsible for disappearance of 49 detainees from Bhairabnath.

According to the government report, of the 12 people, seven were released and handed over to their families or relatives, one died while undergoing treatment at the military hospital, one died in an explosion and one person was given two years jail sentence.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

PAC recommends House to impeach two SC justices

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Sunday decided to appeal to the House of Representatives to impeach two justices of the Supreme Court (SC) who issued a controversial verdict scrapping the decision to blacklist the Maha Laxmi Sugar Mills.

Chairman of the PAC, Chitra Bahadur KC, in the meeting today made the decision to recommend the House begin impeachment proceedings against the sitting SC Justices Arjun Prasad Singh and Badri Kumar Basnet for their alleged "wrongdoing" while issuing the verdict that scrapped the decision to blacklist the Mills owned by businessman Binod Kumar Chaudhary.

The verdict in January this year had scrapped the decision taken by the Credit Information Centre of the Rastriya Banijya Bank (RBB) and Bankers’ Club to blacklist the Mills for “defaulting bank loans”.

In addition, the January verdict had effectively made it difficult to collect the amount over 1.22 billion from the troubled company.

Following the verdict, five major banks and financial institutions of the country had pleaded to the apex court to have the controversial SC verdict reviewed.

A hearing on Aug. 11 by the division bench of then acting SC Justices Kedar Prasad Giri, Badri Kumar Basnet and Tap Bahadur Magar had decided that the case would not be reviewed, which legitimized the previous SC verdict.

After the verdict, the banks on July 6 submitted a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Subhas Nemwang demanding impeachment against the justices be initiated for their "wilful offence".

Saturday, October 28, 2006

CJ Asks Govt to Take Court Orders Seriously

Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel on Friday urged the government to implement Supreme Court directives on Public Interest Litigations seriously.

"Though directives are not supposed to be implemented immediately as mandamus orders, they should be implemented at appropriate times," said Paudel.

The Chief Justice's remarks came a day after a bench seriously objected to the government's failure to implement court verdicts on PILs.The Chief Justice said: "We have been doing serious homework to find out why court orders are not implemented."

He was speaking at a programme organised by the National Judicial Academy (NJA) where a book titled 'Laingik Nayaya' and a report on non-implementation of court orders were released.
The CJ also called on the House of Representatives to pass a bill on National Judicial Academy without making any changes to the one already introduced in the parliament. He added that the tenure of the ordinance has already expired so that there is an urgent need to pass the bill as soon as possible.

Supreme Court Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi said: "It is shameful to say that the Supreme Court orders are not implemented. It should be found out who is responsible for the non-implementation of the verdicts."

Rayamajhi said some verdicts might take time for implementation by nature if they are related to promulgation of laws but the orders must be implemented. He added that there was a need to set up a mechanism to carry out follow-up of the verdicts regularly.

According to a Supreme Court figure, less than 19 per cent of the verdicts related to PIL are implemented.

Attorney General Yagya Murti Banjade said the Supreme Court verdicts could not be implemented due to lack of a mechanism to carry out follow-up. He stressed the need for cooperation among the government, courts, and the office of the Attorney General.

Secretary at the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Kul Ratna Bhurtel, and secretary at the Nepal Law Reforms Commission Mohan Banjade expressed readiness to cooperate other stakeholders in the implementation of court orders.

SC Registrar Dr Ram Krishna Timalsena, however, said PIL cases should be screened properly, "as acceptance of all kinds of cases as PILs have unnecessarily increased the apex court's workload".
AC MPs point finger at SC judge

Two Public Accounts Committee (PAC) members have alleged that a supreme court judge who is being scrutinised by the committee in connection with the Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills bank loan default case has threatened them.

It may be recalled that the PAC is threatening to impeach the judges who had given a ruling in favour of the business firm. “He telephoned and threatened me,” PAC member Leelamani Pokhrel told this daily today. He added that Justice Badri Kumar Basnet had called him on his cell phone and warned him not to go ahead with the impeachment process.

“I was surprised that a Supreme Court judge called me on an issue related with him and warned me not to go ahead,” Pokhrel added.

“Immediately after he called me I reported the matter to PAC chairman Chitra Bahadur KC.” Another MP who does not want to be named also said Basnet called him and urged him not to go ahead with the impeachment process. “I told him that it was not a proper way to influence an MP,” he said.

“Justice Basnet told me that this was not a serious issue and they should settle it in a simple manner,” Pokhrel said, adding The PAC is preparing to report to the full House against the judges who had given the verdict on the case. Basnet is among the judges who had lifted the firm from a blacklist of the Bankers’ Club.

Friday, October 27, 2006

SC Verdict Flays Govt for Ignoring Orders

The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction over the issue of non-implementation of its verdicts by authorities concerned and called on the SC administration to work to ensure implementation of its rulings on public interest litigations (PILs).

It also directed the administration to file contempt of court charges against officials found to be obstructing implementation of the court orders.Though the SC had issued a verdict on a PIL filed by a group of advocates, including Chandra Kanta Gyawali, seeking order to the government and the House of Representatives to promulgate a legislation on the welfare of senior citizens, a few months ago, its full text was released on Thursday.

The SC had issued a mandamus in favour of the petitioner.

Judges Badri Kumar Basnet and Pawan Kumar Ojha have, in the full text, stated that it is the responsibility of the state to secure the rights of senior citizens.

The bench seriously expressed concerned over the non-implementation of the verdicts by government authorities, including the Prime Ministers Office and Cabinet, the Ministry of Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare.

It is an inherent authority of the apex court to issue orders to the government and it would only be a paper tiger if the authorities concerned do not follow such orders, the verdict said. It has also cited some instances where the authorities concerned have flatly ignored the orders.Eight years ago the SC had issued directives to the government to issue 49 per cent shares of Gorkhapatra Sansthan and the Rastriya Samachar Samiti to the public. However, this order has been ignored as it is yet to be implemented, the judgement said.

The SC had in several instances ordered the government to promulgate laws on several issues but in vain, the verdict said.

The bench maintained that implementation of PIL cases and regular cases are different issues because in regular cases the district court is the implementing agency but no such authority is designated to ensure implementation of PIL cases.

It is the responsibility of the SC itself to ensure implementation of the verdicts on PIL cases, the judgement read.

The bench also directed its registrar to collect all directives issued by the apex court and forward the list to the Monitoring Department (MD) of the Supreme Court, which in turn, would write to the authority concerned seeking its implementation.

The bench also told the MD to take explanations from officials concerned on why they did not implement the court directives and proceed with contempt of court charges or departmental action against those ignoring the orders.

The bench has also directed its registrar to make public all steps taken against the violators of SC directives and publish them in the SC annual report.
FNCCI president recorded his statement
Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries president Chandi Raj Dhakal on thrusday recorded his statement in the Patan Appellate Court attending before it as per its order on October 19.
The court, after recording his statement, released him on the ground that he will present himself in the court whenever required.
A division bench comprising chief judge Rana Bahadur Bam and Janardan Bahadur Khadka issued the order after hearing the case. The bench observed that there was no ground to impose bail or fine on him on the charge as he presented himself in the court and prayed that he has no intention to defy the court order.
It may be recalled that the FNCCI had gone ahead with a shutdown on October 17 in spite of a court order barring it. On October 19, the court had ordered him to appear in person to record his statement why he and FNCCI defied the court order. Dhakal told the court that he was not informed about the court order on the same day and that was why the organisation went ahead with the strike.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

106 complaints at monitoring panel

National Monitoring Committee to look after breach of ceasefire code of conduct has said that it received 106 complaints about violation of code of conduct in the period of Dasain and Tihar.
Among them 35 complaints tell about kidnappings and 11 complain about extortions. Spokesperson of the Committee Dr. Ravi Sharma Aryal said other complaints explain about lootings, establishing camps, threatening and killings. The Committee was formed according to twelve point and eight point agreements and 25 point code of conducts reached between Nepal Government and CPN (Maoist).
Both the parties have expressed commitment to be abided by the 25 point code of conducts. The Committee, formed on 12 Jeth this year, received 1400 complaints till Asoj 31 and found 834 incidents breaching the code of conducts. Stating that incidents of controlling people's property by Maoists had not received due priority, spokesperson Aryal said a Maoist Leader had assured the Committee to consider the complaints. He informed that complaints from Tarai are registered in greater number in comparison to hilly regions and few complaints were registered in Kathmandu.
Committee opened its office for two hours each day on the public holidays of Dasain and Tihar to register complaints.
CJ condemns idea of fresh appointment of judges

Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel on wednesday strongly criticised the idea of fresh appointment of judges saying such a demand is ill- intentioned and inspired by the self-centred motive of certain people.

Paudel also claimed that fresh appointment of judges would be an attack on the independence of the judiciary and ultimately it would affect the democratic system negatively.

“If there is no independence of judiciary, there will be no democracy,” said Paudel.

The Chief Justice was speaking to journalists at Tirbhuvan International Airport while returning from Philippines, after completing a four-day-long conference on International Forum on Liberty and Prosperity The Chief Justices conference had discussed controlling corruption, strengthening of rule of law and ways of providing timely justice.

Asked about his role during the direct rule of King Gyanendra Paudel wanted his critics to show any kind of mistake he committed at any time.“This is not good to scandalise the whole institution citing minor issues,” Paudel said. He also asked all to stop activities that scandalise the judiciary.
Rayamajhi Panel Tenure Extended by Three Weeks

The tenure of the High-Level Investigation Commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi has been extended for another three weeks.

The term of the commission probing the suppression of the April mass movement was supposed to end on Friday.

A cabinet minister, on condition of anonymity, said the government has decided to extend the panel's tenure till November 16. "We extended the panel's tenure following a request," he said.
Stating that it was still working on its report on the suppression and killings during the Jana Andolan-II, the panel had recently requested the government to extend its tenure.

According to the spokesperson of the commission, Dilli Raman Acharya, the members of the commission are working hard and will submit their findings to the government as soon as possible.
Rayamajhi Panel Tenure Extended by Three Weeks

The tenure of the High-Level Investigation Commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi has been extended for another three weeks.

The term of the commission probing the suppression of the April mass movement was supposed to end on Friday.

A cabinet minister, on condition of anonymity, said the government has decided to extend the panel's tenure till November 16. "We extended the panel's tenure following a request," he said.
Stating that it was still working on its report on the suppression and killings during the Jana Andolan-II, the panel had recently requested the government to extend its tenure.

According to the spokesperson of the commission, Dilli Raman Acharya, the members of the commission are working hard and will submit their findings to the government as soon as possible.
National Lawyers Guild Convention convened

The National Annual Convention of National Lawyers Guild, USA convened in Austin, Texas, dated Oct 18- 22. Advocate Dinesh Tripathi of the Supreme Court of Nepal spoke as an international Guest in the Convention. He stated that human rights and democracy are universally accepted values, not just the prerogative of the rich, industrialized world. The era of cultural relativism has passed.

"Every member of the human family has equal rights and freedom, irrespective of national identify, race, color or geographical boundary. For that reason, the struggle for human rights and democracy must be intensified at the international level. The struggle for human dignity, freedom and democracy should not be confined within national boundaries. Strong solidarity must be built among all the human rights and democratic groups around the world. The forces of militarization, concentration of economic power in the hands of a few countries, and a growing inequality among nations at the global level present the biggest threats to the democratic aspirations of people around the world. The universal protection of human rights and the rule of law can be the only basis for lasting peace in the world. Lawyers all over the world have to work for the expansion of democratic ideals, human rights and rule of law." he said
International guest from Japan, UK, Canada, Belgium, Venezuela were also invited in the convention. National Lawyers guild is the umbrella organization of US lawyers, Law academics

Monday, October 23, 2006

Police Lose Over 50 pc Rape Cases in Court: Report

On an average, some 400 rape cases are registered with the police every year and the prosecutors lose around 50 per cent of the total cases filed in the courts, a report published by the Nepal Police said .

The report said the police register only reported cases but most rape cases in the rural areas go unreported.

"Police, as the prosecutor, lost over 50 per cent of rape cases filed at the District Courts this year," the report said.

A total of 432 cases of rape were reported in the fiscal year 2005-06. Police could bring the culprits behind bars in only 107 cases, the report said.

In the fiscal year 2004-05, courts pronounced verdicts on prosecutors' favour in 95 of the 367 rape cases the police filed in the district courts throughout the country.

Police achieved success in 85 cases out of total 363 cases filed by police in the year 2003-04, the police report said.

The report said over 62 per cent of total rape victims are below the age of 15 years.

"The instances of reporting of rape-related cases have gone up but the police is not able to win such cases in the courts, but the police department seems reluctant to find out the problems and solve them," Narendra Pathak, joint-government attorney at the Office of the attorney general, said.

"Sometimes, those convicted of rape charges by the District Courts get acquitted from Appellate Courts and the Supreme Court," he said."Inefficiency on the part of the police in collecting physical evidence, inability to protect eyewitness, lack of experts to investigate rape related cases are the major causes behind the failure of police to win their cases in the court," Pathak said, adding that such inefficiency has deprived the victims of getting proper compensation, Pathak added.

He also pointed out the need to define the term "sex in consent" and review laws related to rape to ensure more rapists are brought to book.
Security beefed up in capital during Tihar

Keeping in view the possible increase in instances of robbery during Tihar festival, police have beefed up security in Kathmandu Valley.

According to Pitambar Adhikari at the Valley Crime Investigation Branch (VCIB), police have made "special" arrangements to provide security in areas that are prone to robberies. He said security patrols have also been added to curb instances of criminal activities in the capital.

Police officials believe that instances of robbery go up during Tihar as compared to Dashain festival. Stating that they have lately stepped up checking vehicles that ply during the night, Adhikari said, "We have also mobilized a large number of civil police to keep vigil."

Adhikari, however, cautioned the public not to leave their houses totally deserted. "Effort from the police alone is not enough to curb criminal activities. This also requires cooperation from the public," he said.

Madhav Prasad Nepal, chief of Lalitpur District Police Office, said at least four police patrols have been arranged from each Area Police Station in the district. "Besides deploying plain-clothes security personnel, we have arranged to mobilize separate police patrols from the District Police Office," he said.

SP Nepal said all district-based police units have been directed to make special security arrangement during the night. "As most of the finance companies and other offices remain closed during Tihar, we have focused on further tightening security at such places during the night," he said.

According to Valley Police Office, over 5,000 police personnel have been currently mobilized in the valley.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Juvenile Benches in 12 District Courts Soon
The government is set to run juvenile benches in 12 district courts of the five development regions.In this connection, the government has been preparing to equip the 12 district courts in Ilam, Makwanpur, Morang, Saptari, Rupandehi, Kanchanpur, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kaski, Banke and Surkhet with in-camera hearing and human resources like child psychologists and profession social workers to assist the juvenile cases, said Deepak Raj Sapkota, executive director at Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB).

"To support juvenile cases, twelve child psychologists and twelve professional social workers have been given five-month and two-month long training respectively," said Sapkota, adding that these personnel would prioritise children's cases and execute them within 120 days of their registration at the district courts.Police stations will have juvenile justice officers trained on international and domestic standards for the administration of juvenile justice and on skills to deal with children in conflict with the law to facilitate the cases, he said

"The police stations will also have separate place for detention of children for up to 24 hours," he said.Correction homes will be set up in Morang, Banke to keep children in conflict with the law during investigation and trial period, he added.

The minimum age under which a child will be responsible to bear criminal charge is 10 under the existing Nepali law.

The benches to be introduced are part of the government's commitment to address child rights under the Juvenile Justice Working Procedure Regulation, 2063 and international legal instruments such as Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989.
Amendment in foreign employment law soon

The Government of Nepal has made extensive preparations for amendment in the Foreign Employment Act-2042 BS in order to make the foreign employment business more systematic and disciplined as it has been making important contributions to the country's socio-economic sector.
The preparations are being made to make the business more responsible through healthy competition by bringing about changes in the present negative outlook on the entrepreneurs of the sector and the declining faith of the people in the context of irregularities and cheating in the sector.
Demand for extensive amendment had been voiced by the entrepreneurs and other sectors as the law formulated 20 years ago was not sufficient to develop the business in the modern way in the context that it has been main source of employment for the Nepali youth labor market which numbers about 300,000 annually, as well as the backbone of the country's economy.Some 1.5 million Nepalese have been working in various countries of the world at present through this business.
Foreign employment is the main source of remittance which is the bedrock of Nepal's economy in recent times. According to one statistics Nepal brings in some 90 billion rupees as remittance. The proposed amendment incorporates new provisions in registration, professional fairness, controlling of irregularities and cheating, tribunal, foreign employment promotion board, and promotion department and reward to entrepreneurs on the basis performance.
The deposit needed to register new company Rs. 500,000 as bank balance and Rs. 2,500,000 worth of surety has been cancelled and made Rs. 3 million as compulsory bank balance.The compensation of Rs. 500,000 has not been adequate for the victims of cheating by the home company and agents and there were complexities to recover it from the company assets and therefore the cash stock is necessary, the government says.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Rayamajhi panel questionnaire: Experts flay bid to quiz King

Legal experts today suggested the High-Level Investigation Commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi to read Article 31 of the Constitution of
Nepal 1990 which is “still in force” and which does not allow any authority to question the King.
“The Rayamajhi commission should be clear whether the Article 31 is there in the constitution and what it states,” senior advocate Ganesh Raj Sharma told Himalaya times reports .

He added that the constitution does not allow even a court and parliament to question the King.
“No question shall be raised in any court about any act performed by His Majesty,” the article states and said provided that nothing in this Article shall be deemed to restrict any right under law to initiate proceedings against His Majesty’s or any employee of His Majesty.

Former Attorney General Sarvagya Ratna Tuladhar also questioned the action of the high-level investigation Commission. “Such an action cannot get legal validity,” Tuladhar said.

“This is not legally and logically sound action taken by the Rayamajhi commission,” Tuladhar claimed.
“Politics may allow this but the law of the land does not allow to question the King,” Tuladhar further said.
“It is against the principle of rule of law,” he further added.

“As the King had imposed autocratic rule and violated the Constitution, politics may allow to question the king but law cannot permit it,” Tuladhar said.

Tuladhar added, though, that the House of Representatives had passed the declaration on May 18 allowing authorities to question the King.

He alleged the commission of trying to give the King the “retrospective effective” of law for previous actions he had taken while he was the chairman of the Council of Ministers.

The Principal Secretary of the Royal Palace, Pashupati Bhakta Maharjan, however, declined to say anything on why the King did not reply to the Rayamajhi Commission.

Rayamajhi, the chairman of the high-level investigation commission, said that he cannot comment whether the Article 31 allows him to question the King or not but claimed that he is doing everything respecting law.
“We have just given an opportunity to the King to clarify from his part as law also requires to give a chance to the person before taking a decision on him. We will do nothing against the principle of law,” Rayamajhi claimed.

Rayamajhi also added that he will not give up the supremacy of the law and that he is not biased against anyone.

SC overturns government decision to retire General Malla

The Supreme Court (SC) has overturned the decision of the government to retire Major General Pradip Pratap Bam Malla.

The special bench of the apex court comprising judges Sharada Shrestha, Rajendra Kumar Bhandari and Tahir Ali Ansari has decided that the government's decision was illegal. It has ordered the Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet and the Ministry of Defense to reinstate General Malla.

Malla was retired after the government made changes in the Military Regulations. It amended the existing provision of five-years of tenure for Major General and shortened it to three years, based on which Malla had to retire. He had already served as Major General for three years when he was asked to retire three months ago.

General Malla, however, had knocked the doors of the apex court challenging the government decision. In his petition, he had stated that the changed law cannot be applied to him in retrospective effect. He has demanded that he be allowed to serve for two more years.

After the court order, General Malla said it was an example of how the court can give justice to those who have been made to suffer from injustice. General Malla is one of the senior-most officers of Nepalese Army and is in line to become the next chief of the army staff after the current chief retires.

Patan Appellate Court summons FNCCI, Chairman Dhakal

The Patan Appellate Court on Thursday issued a summon to chairman of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Chandi Raj Dhakal and FNCCI to furnish statements on a contempt of court case filed against them.

The Patan Appellate Court has issued a notice to Dhakal and FNCCI to come before the court to record the statements within three days.

After a hearing , the joint bench of Justices Keshav P Mainali and Hari Bahadur Basent decided to summon the FNCCI and its chairman Dhakal to record the statements.

The Patan Appellate Court has sought statements on whether the FNCCI and chairman Dhakal defied the court orders or not as stated in the writ petition jointly filed by advocate Jyoti Baniya of the Consumer Protection Forum (CPF) and the Forum's Kathmandu Committee Chief Ram Chandra Simkhada. The petitioners have demanded the court slap a six month prison sentence and Rs. 5000 fine against the perpetrators. The court has also sought statements from chairman Dhakal and FNCCI on why they should not be punished according to the Judicial Administration Act-2048.

A contempt of court case was filed yesterday at the Patan Appellate Court demanding action against the FNCCI and its chairman Dhakal for defying the Patan Appellate Court’s order while organising the general strike in the country on Monday.

The petition said: "There has been a sheer violation of the court’s order under the direction of the FNCCI chairman Chandi Raj Dhakal both inside and outside the capital. Under the provision mentioned in the Judicial Administration Act-2048, we request the court hand a six month prison sentence and a Rs. 5000 fine to the persons behind yesterday's stir." The advocates have said that "they are collecting evidence".

On Sunday the Patan Appellate Court had issued an interim order banning Monday's nationwide general strike called by the FNCCI based on a writ petition jointly filed by Baniya and Simkhada which said that the strike would violate the rights of consumers to get essential services and goods on the eve of the Tihar festival.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Aryal Stresses for Change in Justice System
Convener of the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee Laxman Aryal said on Wednesday that the nation needs to review its justice system to adopt more democratic ways by putting aside existing 'anomalous' legal procedures.

"It's time to review the existing system and adopt new and democratic ways so that both the parties can agree on a verdict," Aryal said inaugurating a Mediation Centre Nepal (MCN) desk established in the Legal Department of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC).

Aryal, who is also the president of the MCN, said mediation is the most democratic system that makes both the parties feel triumphant and help develop harmonious environment in the society through restoration of relations.

Chief Executive Officer of the KMC, Dinesh Thapaliya, said the legal department of KMC receives around 700 cases every year. He said KMC is planning to extend mediation centers to some ward offices in the near future if MCN supports for mediators' training.

Chief of the Legal Department of KMC, Basanta Acharya, thanked mediation centre and its experts for helping KMC in its endeavour to provide prompt and quality service to the people. "Local bodies should practice mediation process instead of decision process because it is very much effective."

KMC is the first local body where MCN has opened its branch within the office premises. Out of five cases sent to the MCN from the KMC earlier, three were settled. "Since people are reluctant to go to the MCN, the desk has been established on the premises of KMC," he said.Acharya expressed the hope that 40 per cent of the cases would be settled through mediation. The desk will be open on Sundays and Wednesdays and it will hear two to four cases every day.
King missed an important chance to clarify his side of the story: Panel

The deadline set by the high-level investigation commission headed by former Supreme Court justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi expired today without King Gyanendra sending his reply to the commission’s questionnaire. The commission had sent a questionnaire to the king on October 12.

It is learnt that the questionnaire had asked the king to clarify his role as head of the government after summarising the statements of those it had questioned.

The king’s response, as of now, is a stony silence. “Today was the deadline we had set to submit his version but he did not do so,” commission member Harihar Birahi told . He also added that the panel had waited till this evening and now will not wait further.

The next day after the questionnaire was registered in the royal palace, the principal secretary of the palace secretariat Pashupati Bhakta Maharjan had met PM Girija Prasad Koirala who reportedly advised that the king send his reply to the commission. The commission has been probing the suppression of the Jana Andolan II and the misuse of state treasury during the royal regime.

“We have taken this issue seriously,” Birahi said. He added that the King missed an important chance to respond to the people and clarify his version. During the andolan which toppled the king’s regime, 25 people were killed and around 6,000 were injured. “We have waited a week. So we can neither wait further nor write to him again and again,” Birahi said, adding: “We will write everything in the report in this regard based on law and wisdom.”

Another member of the commission said if the king were to send his reply before the deadline set by the government to the commission ended, the commission would accept it. Till date the commission has interrogated 280 persons including the vice-chairmen of the Council of Ministers Dr Tulsi Giri, Kirtinidhi Bista, and ministers of the royal cabinet and the Chief of the security agencies including the then chief of army staff Pyar Jung Thapa and the sitting army chief Rookmangud Katawal.

“We questioned him in his previous capacity but we respected his present capacity as the head of the state,” Birahi clarified. “Respecting him as the head of state, we did not choose other modalities to question him.”

This was the first time in Nepal that a public probe commission questioned the King. In 2001, a panel had recorded King Gyanendra’s statement on the royal massacre.
SC Refuses to Issue Stay Order in Nepal 1 Case

The Supreme Court said on Wednesday there was no need to issue a stay order to stop broadcasting of Nepal 1 television.

Following Wednesday's hearing, a division bench of Justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Pawan Kumar Ojha issued the order. "Since the petitioner could not show any ground of facing irreparable loss if the stay order was not issued, there is no need to issue the stay order," the bench said.

During the hearing advocate Birendra Kumar Thakur argued that the journalists associated with the television channel have been collecting and broadcasting news and programme after getting press pass from the government, so it is not illegal to collect and broadcast news. He also claimed that issuing a stay order would not be justifiable to stop the broadcasting.

The lawyer of the channel also showed the decision of the managing committee that stated that the television channel is registered with Indian authorities in the name of TV Live India Pvt Ltd.
Pleading on behalf of the writ petitioner, advocate Naina Binod Neupane and writ petitioner Bhupendra Prasad Pokhrel had sought the SC's order to stop the broadcasting. They have claimed that the television channel is operating here without getting licence from any government authority in Nepal.
Contempt of court case against FNCCI

A contempt of court case was filed Wednesday at the Patan Appellate Court, demanding action against the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and its chairman Chandi Raj Dhakal for defying the Patan Appellate Court’s order while organising the general strike in the country on Monday.
Advocate Jyoti Baniya of the Consumer Protection Forum (CPF) and Forum's Kathmandu Committee Chief Ram Chandra Simkhada jointly filed a writ petition demanding the court slap a six month prison sentence and Rs. 5000 fine against the perpetrators. The petition said "There has been a sheer violation of the court’s order under the direction of the FNCCI chairman Chandi Raj Dhakal both inside and out side the capital.
Under the provision mentioned in the Judicial Administration Act-2048, we request the court hand a six month prison sentence and a Rs. 5000 fine to the persons behind yesterday's stir." The advocates have said that "they are collecting evidence".
On Sunday the Patan Appellate Court had issued an interim order banning Monday's nationwide general strike called by the FNCCI based on a writ petition jointly filed by Baniya and Simkhada which said that it would violate the consumers’ rights to get essential services and goods on the eve of the Tihar festival.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

FNCCI to go ahead with strike plan despite court order

The meeting of the National Agitation Committee of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) held late Monday evening decided to go ahead with their 'business shutdown' plan despite court order declaring it as illegal.

Talking to reporters on Monday night, FNCCI president Chandi Raj Dhakal said that they were compelled to go ahead with shutdown plan because the government did not provide "written commitment" to fulfill their demands. The FNCCI delegation had met with the Prime Minister and ministers on Monday morning where ministers supposedly had given verbal assurances about fulfilling their demands.

Dhakal added that the FNCCI had not yet received the copy of interim order by the Patan Appellate Court. He also said that the strike would be voluntary and peaceful and would not be against the interest of consumers.

The court had decided that the shutdown was illegal as it was against the Consumer Protection Act and Essential Services Act. Responding to a petition by Jyoti Baniya, general secretary of the Consumers Forum, the single bench of judge Laxman Mani Risal had ordered to stop the strike. Baniya later said that if the FNCCI goes ahead with strike plan breaching court order, the leadership will have to face contempt of court action
Passage of women rights bill celebrated

Forum for Women Law and Development (FWLD) and other organisations working for the rights of women Monday celebrated the passage of bill amended by the House of Representative (HOR) on September 28 on 56 discriminatory provisions of various Acts to ensure women rights
According to FWLD President Sapana Pradhan Malla, the Discriminatory Laws against women in Nepal conducted by FWLD revealed that there were 173 legal provisions in 83 various laws including the Constitution.
Pradhan said that the reinstated of HoR from the successful historical People's Movement endorsed a landmark proposal to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women on May 30.Addressing a celebration on gender equality, Malla revealed some major provisions amended by the bill. Among them are the previous provision that required a male to receive the summons from a court has been amended allowing any person of the family of any age prescribed by the law to receive it.
She said that the term wife, mother and grandmother have been inserted respectively after the term husband, father and grandfather in various Acts and regulations. Likewise, the provision for divorce in case of no children within 10 years of marriage has been taken out.The newly amended bill has included martial rape as a ground for divorce. The provision has also provided the mother has the first rights to guardianship of child if the child is a minor. The passed bill removed the provision that deprives mother from the guardianship of child in case of second marriage.The provision that a daughter shall return the share of her property received from the parents once she is married has been repealed.
Women can use their movable and immovable property given by the parents freely even after getting married.It has also provided 6 months to 2 years of imprisonment in case any person who performs and seeks abortion on the basis of identification of sex. All the sexual harassments, physical, verbal, written, gesture or any other forms of sexual harassments have been criminalised in the provision of the chapter on Intention to Rape.The definition of rape has been broadened and provided additional punishment to the rapist having HIV positive. It has provided that the consent of the first wife should be taken before entering into polygamy under the prescribed condition by the law.
It has provided 1 to 3 years of imprisonment in case any government employee tries to rape a woman serving a jail term or becomes accomplice to such forms of rape. The different prescribed age for men and women for court marriage has been amended and made 20 years for both the sexes. The provision relating to claimant for the line of succession in various provisions of the various acts and regulations have been amended with the gender equality perspective.The discrimination included in tenant land rights in the land-related laws against married women has been removed. T
he discrimination meted out to the officials appointed by the constitutional council as on uniform allowance has been removed. People from different organisations making remarkable contribution for the rights of women were felicitated at the programme.
Those felicitated were Member of Parliament Kamala Panta, Sushila Nepal, former justice Laxman Prasad Aryal, and member of interim constitution draft committee Chatra Gurung.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Patan Appellate Court Bans Proposed Nationwide Strike

The appellate court in Patan has issued interim order in the name of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) not to organize the general strike on Tuesday.
Advocates Jyoti Baniya and Ram Chandra Simkhada jointly filed the petition seeking court order saying that it would violate the consumers’ rights to get essential services and goods. The petitioners also sought the court order to direct all parties concerned not to hold strikes that would violate the rights of consumers.
The Office of Kathmandu Municipality’s Ward No 11, chairman of the FNCCI Chandi Raj Dhakal, Home Ministry and Kathmandu District Administration Office have been made defendants in the petition.The petitioner claimed that general strike was against the interest of consumers and demanded a prohibition order from the Court.
Acting upon a petition filed by general secretary of Consumers’ Forum, Jyoti Baniya, the Court order the defendants not to organize such protests until further notice as such a strike ahead of the Tihar, an important festival of Hindus will adversely affect people.A single bench of Judge Laxman Mani Risal issued the order.
A meeting of National Agitation Committee formed by the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) decided to organize a general strike in order to press to fulfill their five-point demand that include providing peace and security; ending extortion, resolving labor and trade union disputes and expanding the dates for restructuring loans
Reappointments will tarnish image of justice system: Chief Justice

Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel on Sunday said that the reappointment proceedings for judges will do nothing but tarnish the image of the independent judiciary system in an international level.

Poudel made the comments today while speaking at a press meet prior to leaving for the Philippines to attend an International Judiciary Convention in Manila.

Stating that the Justices elected through constitutional processes should be allowed to complete their full term, Chief Justice Poudel said that the constitution does have provisions to oust judges of questionable morals by forwarding an impeachment process.

“The government’s dissatisfaction with an element in the justice system should not affect the entire judiciary system. It tarnishes our image not only in the national level but also in the international level,” Chief Justice Poudel said.

Similarly, the Chief Justice also said that once justices are appointed and sworn in, they should not be made to take the oath of office time and again.

Speaking about cancellation of the National Convention of Judges scheduled to be held on October 27-28, Justice Poudel said that the recent decision to cancel the convention was taken by the organising committee itself.

The Supreme Court Justices earlier had decided to hold a national convention of all the judges to discuss the increasing interference in judiciary system and to object the re-appointments of judges and impeach them.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Call for review of SC verdict

Lawyers and experts of the banking sector stressed that the entire financial sector of the nation would collapse, if the verdict given in favour of Mahalaxmi Sugar Limited by the Supreme Court to remove its name from the black list was not reviewed.
They also demanded the members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Representatives to start impeachment procedure for justices, who issued the verdict. They accused the justices of being incompetent and of issuing the verdict with malafied intentions.Filing their suggestions at the PAC, Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank Bijay Nath Bhattarai said the verdict issued to delete Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills from the blacklist had opened doors to other defaulters to go round the law.
This would make it difficult to collect loans from others who had taken large amount from different banks."The country should suffer more that Rs. 25 billion in financial loss if we fail to recover loans from the defaulters and the verdict has given a negative message to the financial sector,"he said.
Lawyer Jogendra Keshari said the PAC should immediately take initiative for the impeachment process against those justices involved in the case, as they lacked fundamental legal ground to issue the verdict and clear understanding of the country's financial code of conduct.
Lawyers Purna Man Shakya, Thaneshwor Acharya and lawmaker and president of the PAC Chitra Bahadur KC and MPs Bharat Shah and Mohan Basnet including different individuals related to the banking sectors participated in the meeting.
A special bench of the Supreme Court had issued a verdict to remove Mahalaxmi Sugar Limited from the defaulters' list in response to a writ petition

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Rayamajhi commission sends questionnaire to King

The high-level probe commission headed by former Supreme Court justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi sent its questionnaire to King Gyanendra on Thursday, inquiring about his role in the clampdown on the Jana Aandolan-II in April this year.

Commission spokesperson Dilli Raman Acharya told reporters that the questionnaire “has reached the royal palace today”. He, however, did not reveal the questions posed to the King.

“The questionnaire has been sent to the King as he chaired the then government,” he said.

The palace administration has not commented on the questioning of the King being done by the probe commission.

According to the source, the questionnaire seeks king’s clarification regarding his role in the suppression and killings as the head of the then Council of Ministers.

Yesterday, a member of the commission, Ram Prasad Shrestha, said that they had agreed to send the questionnaire to the king. He said since the members the cabinet and the then chiefs of the security agencies claimed that the erstwhile cabinet should take responsibility for suppression of the movement, and as the King was the chairman of the cabinet, the commission decided to record king’s statement.

The probe panel has already interrogated 274 individuals including the ministers of the then royal government, former and incumbent security chiefs while 610 witnesses have recorded their statement, Archaya informed.

It has also gathered information from 61 injured persons about human rights violations committed by the erstwhile royal government during the pro-democracy movement.

At least 21 persons lost their lives and over 4000 persons were injured around the country in clampdown on the movement.

The commission’s deadline to complete its investigation and submit a report to the government ends on October 27. Archaya said the commission was prepared to complete its works and submit the findings with the deadline.
Int'l trade law harmonisation stressed

Participating in the deliberations at the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly on the report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on wednesday , Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, Member of Parliament and Member of the delegation of Nepal to the 61st session of the Assembly, said that promotion of the progressive harmonisation and unification of the law of international trade is recognised as a vehicle for socio-economic development.

MP Pandey further said that globalisation and rapid growth of information and communication technologies have increase both complexities and interdependence in the global commercial transactions, according to the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations in New York, USA.

He mentioned that the year 2005 had marked the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. He acknowledged the work UNCITRAL in various areas including draft legislative guide on secured transactions, legislative measures on interim measures regarding the interpretation or relevant articles of the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, procurement, transport law, insolvency law, electronic commerce, security interest and commercial fraud.

He emphasised that development, modernisation and harmonisation of international trade law would provide countries, especially developing and least developed ones, with a tool to deal with the increasing volume and complexity of international trade and business resulting from globalisation, while also enhancing the confidence of potential investors and promoting trade and development.

He mentioned that Nepal, a least developed and land-locked country, has been making its efforts to utilise, as appropriate, various UNCITRAL instruments in the form of legislative guides and model in the matters relating to both national and international trade law. Nepal, as a member of the World Trade Organisation, urges international community to give special consideration to the enhancement of national capacity of least developed counties, which face geographical handicap and other difficulties in their national efforts for making their trade regime qualitative and competitive, he said. He called upon UNCITRAL to give special attention to the needs of least developed countries in its technical assistance programme.

MP Pandey mentioned that Nepal supported the convening of the UNCITRAL congress in 2007 and looked forward to participating in the preparation process. He urged UNCITRAL and its Secretariat to take necessary measures to provide financial assistance to ensure participation of least developed counties in the activities of UNCITRAL.
( RSS )
Questionnaire to be sent to king

The High-level Investigation Commission headed by former Supreme Court justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi, which is proving the killings and suppression of people during the king’s direct rule, will send its questionnaire to king Gyanendra asking him to clarify his role, if any, in supressing the Jana Andolan II.

According to a member of the commission Ram Prasad Shrestha, the commission will send a questionnaire seeking the king’s clarification. “We have made a consensus to send a questionnaire. And we will send it within a week.”

He said since the king was the chairman of the erstwhile Council of Ministers, the commission decided to record his statement. Shrestha also said that the commission would submit its final report to government by October 27.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

SC issues show cause in Katawal appointment case

The Supreme Court on tuesday issued show cause notices to government authorities on why Rookmangud Katawal was appointed the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS). Following a hearing today, a single bench of Justice Damodar Prasad Sharma directed the authorities to explain why Katawal was appointed the army chief. The bench was responding to a writ petition filed by advocate Dilhari Sharma challenging Katawal’s appointment.

The bench gave the authorities the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Defence Minister and his Ministry, the army chief and the Army Headquarters 15 days to furnish their replies. The Cabinet, on September 5, had promoted Lt Gen Katawal as the CoAS.

Challenging the appointment, Sharma claimed that the Cabinet’s decision was wrong as Katawal had suppressed April’s pro-democracy protests during the King’s direct rule and had produced a false birth certificate while joining the army.

The petitioner also claimed that Katawal was supposed to retire three years ago, but is still in service after amending his date of birth through a royal decree. In today’s hearing, senior

advocate Radheshyam Adhikary, advocates Bhim Bahadur Dhakal, Manu Bahadur Gurung and the writ petitioner himself demanded an order to scrap the appointment.
Govt written answer not to Intervene

The government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court it had decided to transfer the then chief secretary of the royal government, Lokman Singh Karki, to the National Planning Commission as he was not fit for the job in a changed political context. It also said there was no need for the apex court to intervene in the matter and reinstate him as the chief secretary of a democratic government.

"Since he failed to perform his duty impartially as the chief secretary, the government had no reason to believe that he would be able to work neutrally and maintain secrecy in the changed political context," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the Cabinet said.

"The government does not believe he can work neutrally and maintain secrecy," the PMO and the Cabinet told the Supreme Court in a written affidavit signed by the secretary of the PMO, Madhav Paudel. The apex court one month ago had told the PMO and the Cabinet to clarify as to why Karki was transferred to the NPC as its special officer. Challenging the posting, Karki had moved the apex court.

"He is not fit for the job as he had suppressed the Jana Andolan-II, and was suspended for three months as per the recommendation of the High-Level Investigation Commission headed by former SC Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi," the PMO clarified. "As he backed the royal regime and failed to work as the professional chief of the public servant, the government suspended him as per clause 64 of the Civil Service Act 1992," the affidavit states.
High court upholds order on Gajurel case

The Chennai High Court upheld yesterday’s order of the Chennai Metropolitan Court to hand over Maoist leader CP Gajurel to the West Bengal police for registering a case against him there. The Metropolitan Court had ordered the local administration to hand over Gajurel to the West Bengal police as demanded by it for initiating legal action against him.

Gajurel’s lawyer A Rahul had challenged the move of the Metropolitan Court in the Chennai High Court saying that the Maoist leader was arrested in an unlawful manner and that the West Bengal police’s move to register the case in West Bengal was unlawful. The verdict was announced following a hearing on a complaint, Gajurel’s lawyer A Rahul told.

The verdict has authorised the West Bengal police to initiate fresh legal process against Gajurel. The Jalpaiguri police is preparing to register a treason case against Gajurel. “The legal battle in Chennai is almost over,” Rahul said, adding that the Chennai administration will hand over Gajurel to the West Bengal police tomorrow. On September 18 when he was released after serving a three year jail sentence in Chennai, the Jalpaiguri Police had arrested him.
Crime rate down during Dashain

Eighty per cent houses in the Valley are vulnerable to theft, chief of the Valley Crime Investigation Branch (VCIB), Hanumandhoka, said . Keshav Adhikari, SP at the VCIB, made this remark while explaining the crime rate in the valley during the 15 days of Dashain (From Ghatasthapana to Purnima). The number of crime recorded over a period of 15 days during Dashain decreased by half compared to last year, according to the VCIB. The VCIB said that a total of 17 thefts, one robbery, two murders, one shooting, and three motorcyle thefts were reported during the period, whereas 27 thefts, three murders, five robberies, four looting, one shooting, one wildlife crime and eight motorcycle thefts were reported during fifteen days of Dashain last year.

“Our first job is to bring down the number of crime and we did it as compared to last year. The arrest of professional looters and thieves in a large number before Dashain is one of the major reasons behind the fall in the number of crimes during Dashain,” Adhikari .

The police were on high alert and a more personnel were deployed during Dashain; especially four days before Tika, he said. Despite police efforts, Kathmanduties are not aware about the situations that lead to crimes. “Eighty percent houses in the valley were found to be very unsafe; main gates were not locked properly, windows were open. Situations like these are something major to be blamed for thefts,” he added.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Judicial custody in Bibek Murder case
The Kathmandu District Court on monday remanded the six accused in the eight-year-old Bibek Sharma Luitel murder case to judicial custody.Following a hearing on a charge-sheet filed by the government prosecutor yesterday a single bench of judge Prem Raj Dhakal permitted the authorities to put the accused to custody till the final disposal of the case.

The prosecutor had filed the case, demanding life sentence for Bhikhari Khan, Okil Ansari, Pappu Mandal, Pateni Palten Lama, Shaknina Manandhar Khapung, and Mokhtari Ansari.
Bhikhari, Okil and Mokhtar are Indian nationals, while the rest are Nepali citizens involved in the murder case.

The Kathmandu District Police Office had produced six of the accused before the court along with the charge-sheet, but the police could not produce one of the accused, Akbar Ansari, who is absconding.
Charge-sheet against Bibek's killers

The government prosecutor on sunday filed a charge-sheet in the Kathmandu District Court (KDC) against the seven accused in the eight-year-old Bibek Sharma Luitel murder case.

The prosecutor has sought life sentence for them. Twenty-year jail term is considered a life sentence as per the existing Nepalese laws.

The Kathmandu District Government Office (KDGO) filed the charge-sheet, demanding life term for Bhikhari Khan, Okil Ansari, Pappu Mandal, Pateni Lama, Shakhina Manandhar Khapung, Mokhtari Ansari. Bhikhari, Okil and Mokhtar are Indian nationals, while the rest are Nepali citizens involved in the murder case. The Kathmandu District Police Office, Hanumandhoka, produced six of the accused before the KDC along with the charge-sheet. The police could not produce one of the accused, Akabar Ansari, who is absconding.

The KDGO sought the seizure of their property as per Clause 1 and 13 of the Murder Chapter of the Muluki Ain (Civil Code) 2063. After registering the case, registrar of the KDC Krishna Ram Koirala said the court would start further procedure tomorrow. The charge-sheet said most of the accused have admitted that they abducted and killed Bibek on the direction of Pateni Lama, a charge which Lama has denied.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Panel to send king questions next week

The High Level Probe Commission (HLPC) re-opened its office Thursday although the official Dashain holidays continue through Saturday, to draft questions to be sent to the king, sources said.

HLPC is rushing to draft written questions for King Gyanendra as early as possible as the deadline for finalizing its report is only 22 days away.

"We are working on a war footing for collecting clarifications from the king regarding his role in state atrocities and misuse of national coffers. We are sending written questions soon after the Dashain holidays," said an HLPC official who seeks anonymity.

According to sources, the commission has completed a preliminary draft of the questions, and is finalizing them within this week. The questions will be focused mainly on the atrocities and misuse of state funds during the 14-month direct rule from February 1, 2005 to April 24, 2006. The questions will be sent to the king in his capacity as chairman of the then government, not as the head of state, sources said.

HLPC Chairman Krishna Jung Rayamajhi and members Ram Kumar Shrestha and Ram Prasad Shrestha held discussions on the questions Thursday. King Gyanendra will have to reply to the questions within seven days.

Chairman Rayamajhi and members of the commission have long been claiming publicly that they will not exempt the king for alleged atrocities and misuse of state coffers during his direct rule. However, they have taken a long enough time sending the questions to the king. HLPC has already interrogated over 200 people for their roles during the king's direct rule.

"We had asked the palace last month regarding possible modalities for collecting statements from the king. We have waited to date but to no avail. So, we have now decided to send a set of written questions to the monarch," the source said justifying the delay in collecting statements from the palace.The five-member panel formed to probe atrocities and state fund misuse during the direct rule has now three jobs left to do - collect statements from the king, prepare the final report of its investigations, and interrogate people if deemed necessary in the process of analyzing statements that HLPC has collected to date. Though commission officials have claimed they will finish the job by October 27, experts say the plethora of remaining tasks might force them to seek a third extension, by at least 15 days.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Law Minister Addresses UN Session
Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bikram Newang addressed the 65th session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, according to a press release issued by the New-York based permanent mission of Nepal on Tuesday.

Addressing the session, the law minister informed the international community that Nepal has undertaken a significant transformation to a multiparty democratic polity and the rule of law, particularly since last April following the successful people's movement.

Minister Newang, who is also one of the members of the Nepali delegation, made this statement while participating in the deliberations on issues relating to implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the 24th special session of the General Assembly, social development including questions relating to the world social situation and to youth, aging, disabled persons and the family are follow-up to the International Year of Older Persons, Second World Assembly for Ageing.

He expressed sincere gratitude to the international community, including the United Nations for their support and assistance for the restoration of democracy and economic and social development in Nepal. He told the assembly that Nepal's national development plan focused on overall improvement of the well-being of people living in rural and remote areas. Growing population, prevalence of poverty, lack of adequate development infrastructure and primitive stage of industrial development are daunting challenges for Nepal's development efforts, he added.

On the occasion, Newang reiterated Nepal's commitment to successful conclusion of the peace process with a view to resolving all the issues through dialogue and peaceful negotiations and holding free and fair election to a Constituent Assembly as early as possible. He added that the government would be implementing development policies and programs by delivering basic services, enhancing the quality of life of the poor people and promoting economic and social inclusion of deprived communities and regions including various ethnic groups.

Minister Newang further added that Nepal has adopted the policy of decentralizing power and responsibility to local authorities in order to enable them to participate in formulation, implementation and monitoring processes of the development programs.

He said Nepal is committed to increasing women's representation from local bodies right up to the Parliament to allow them to participate in decision-making processes at all levels.

He appreciated the work of the Commission on Social Development on the follow-up to the World Summit on Social Development (WSSD) and the Copenhagen Declaration and said that integration of economic and social policies should focus on the main objective of poverty eradication.He called for greater access to markets in the developed countries for the least developed countries' products, which would help achieve their sustained economic growth and mitigate negative social consequences of globalization. He also called for coherent and concerted approach of the international community towards social development.

He emphasized the full implementation of the World's Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons and noted with satisfaction that the ad hoc committee on International Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities has finalized a draft convention that would help in mainstreaming the disability into development policy and development activities.

He underlined the need for the implementation of the Political Declaration and Madrid Plan of Action on Ageing taking into account the gender dimension as well.

He further stated that Nepal is fully committed to implementing all the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals and the Brussels Program of Action for the Least Developed Countries for 2001-2010.

He also urged the international community to make greater effort towards accelerating its support with financial and technical assistance to least developed countries.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Judges' Society Puts Off Conference

The Judges' Society has postponed its conference scheduled for October 27 and 28.

"The Judges' Society is thinking of holding the conference only after the promulgation of the interim constitution, but a formal decision in this regard will be taken only after Dashain," a press release issued recently by society's general secretary, Ishwor Khatiwoda, said.

"We judges, too, can contribute in democratic system by welcoming reforms in the judiciary; thus, we feel that there should not be any kind of hesitation for anyone with our discussion on any issues in such a conference," the release said.

The Judges' Society is ready to rethink about organising such a conference to oppose the move of the House of Representatives to impeach certain judges. A group of judges strongly suggested Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and the Judges' Society led by senior most Justice of the Supreme Court Kedar Prasad Giri not to invite any confrontation with the House. The CJ has publicly criticised the MPs' move to impeach judges and the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee's proposal to adopt a fresh appointment provision in the draft statute.

Some judges of the Supreme Court, appellate courts and district courts had suggested the Chief Justice on September 28 not the hold the conference as per the schedule. The judges had asked CJ Paudel and the Judges' Society to postpone the conference.

"The conference was scheduled early to discuss the modernisation of the judiciary and to from a new executive committee of the Judges' Society; it was not scheduled early with the intention to criticise any institution," the release added.

Two case of Habeas Corpus

During the dashain festivel two cases of the Habeas corpus entered in SC court .In one Habeas corpus petitions SC has rejected the petitions saying that police has right to put in judicial costudy for investigation . Petition was filed agianst police saying they had out in ilegal costudy in the Bibek Luitel muder case who was kidnapped three weeks ago from Koteshwor was found dead Saturday morning.

The SC was open for the hearing on the writ petitions in connection with the Habeas Corpus during the Dashain holidays 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).

Signing of Nepal-India Extradition Treaty deferred

The signing of the Extradition Treaty and Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance between Nepal and India is deferred for the time being.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has ‘agreed’ to a request from Maoist chairman Prachanda to defer the signing of the treaty for some time, according to government sources. The Maoist chairman is learnt to have asked Koirala to put on hold the signing of the treaty until the summit talks slated for October 08.

Home Minister KP Situala was scheduled to leave for India Wednesday (Oct 4) to sign the Extradition Treaty and Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance, which will replace the extradition treaty signed in 1953. The Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance will facilitate the implementation of the extradition treaty.

The Nepal government is yet to say anything officially about the deferment of signing of the treaty.

Meanwhile, talking to BBC Nepali Service Tuesday, former home secretary Chandi Prasad Shrestha, who signed the initial draft of the treaty from as the Nepal government's representative, said the new treaty does not allow - as feared by many in Nepal - Indian security officials to come into Nepal and apprehend anybody wanted by them.

“As per the provisions of the new treaty, if somebody from third country commits crimes in either country and sneaks into the other s/he will be subjected to extradition [to the concerned country],” he said.

The home secretaries of Nepal and India had initiated the treaty in January 2005.

I Won't Quit, Says Demoted SC Judge

Accusing the Supreme Court (SC) and the Judicial Council (JC) of humiliating him by demoting him, demoted SC judge Paramananda Jha told that he would not resign from the post of Chief Judge of the Biratnagar Appellate Court the Himalaya times reports.

"I still have one-and-a-half-year tenure," said the erstwhile SC judge, adding: "I will take up the assignment at the Biratnagar Appellate Court once I get a letter from the SC."

"The JC has no authority to probe into any case in which an SC Judge is involved," Jha said.

"The Parliament, not the JC, was supposed to probe into my case," Jha said, adding: "The panel report has no legal validity."

The SC and the JC had demoted him and told him to work as the Chief Judge of the Biratnagar Appellate Court. He accused the SC and the JC of treating him with prejudice.

Defending his order that acquitted a drug-peddler, Dil Bahadur Gurung, one and-a half-year ago, Jha said he had upheld human rights of Gurung by releasing him. The JC headed by Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel had demoted him on the basis of a recommendation made by a three-member SC Justices' panel, which investigated the drug peddler acquittal case. The panel had termed the acquittal illegal.

Though the Biratnagar chapter of the Nepal Bar Association has been opposing his appointment at the Biratnagar Appellate Court, Jha said he is not least bothered over their opposition. "The SC and the JC must think why they decided to send me there," Jha added.

"I had released the accused on the basis of facts and evidence," Jha said, adding he had done nothing wrong in his years-long service in the judiciary.

"I was never subjected to such humiliation before," Jha said, adding: "I do not know why people have been targeting me."

"The JC showed prejudice against me immediately after I joined the SC," Jha claimed. "The SC and the JC gave permanent status to some of my juniors, but demoted me," Jha added. "Even after forming a panel, they took a long time in deciding my case."

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Judges Demand Postponement of Conference

Some judges on Friday advised Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and the Judges' Society led by senior-most Justice of the Supreme Court, Kedar Prasad Giri, to postpone the judges' conference scheduled to be held on October 27 and 28."Since the judges of the Supreme Court, Appellate Courts and District Courts have advised the Chief Justice and the Judges' Society not to hold the conference on the scheduled dates, it may be deferred. However, the society is yet to decide on it," a Supreme Court justice told this daily on Saturday.
The judges have demanded the postponement of the meet at a time when some members of parliament are demanding re-appointment of judges to be incorporated in the proposed interim constitution. "Some of the Supreme Court judges, including Chief Justice Paudel, have opposed the idea of criticising the decision of the House of Representatives", the Justice told reporters.
They have criticised the CJ saying that criticising the House of Representatives is not a good thing to do.The suggestions came yesterday at a tea party organised by the CJ at his official residence at Baluwatar. Paudel has publicly criticised the idea of fresh appointment of judges and impeachment of SC judges as wanted by the Public Accounts Committee.When contacted, SC Justice Balram KC said the re-appointment of judges is a controversial issue at a time when MPs have also been demanding the same.
"The judges should not speak publicly on the issuse. They should only be concerned with whether the interim constitution keeps the judiciary's independece intact or not," KC said."The judges should never express their opinions on whether the Parliament is ready to adopt a provision relating to the re-appointment of judges or not," KC added.
While one group of judges is demanding the re-appointment, the other is seriously opposing the idea. "In my opinion the judges should neither propose re-appointment nor oppose it as it should be decided by the people," KC said.