Thursday, November 30, 2006

SC issues show-cause notice over airfare hike
The Supreme Court on thrusday issued a show-cause notice to private airlines operators and the government authorities over the imposition of fuel surcharge on air tickets.

A single bench of Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi issued the show-cause notice, acting on a writ petition filed by the Consumers Rights Protection Forum. The forum in its writ argued that the fuel surcharge was unjustifiable and demanded that the court order the operators to withdraw the decision.

Citing the rise in aviation fuel prices, the Airlines Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN) had on November 11 announced to add fuel surcharge ranging between Rs 240 to Rs 725 on air tickets for both trunk and short-takeoff-and-land routes.

The AOAN had announced that the surcharge was imposed to counterbalance the losses suffered by the operators due to increased fuel prices.

In the first week of November, the Nepal Oil Corporation had (NOC) increased the aviation fuel price by 23 percent, fixing the rate of per litre fuel at Rs 68.
Writ against Citizenship Act
A writ petition was produced in the Supreme Court on Wednesday challenging the recently promulgated Nepal Citizenship Act, 2006. Advocate Amita Shrestha produced the petition, claiming that the Act will benefit non-Nepalis. Accusing the House of of Representatives of passing the Act with ill intention, she urged the apex court to intervene in the issue.
The Supreme Court administration told the petitioner that the court would decide whether or not to accept the petition tomorrow.
The Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, the House of Representatives and Speaker Subas Nembang, the Ministries of Home Affairs and Law, the Justice and Parliamentary Affairs have been made defendants in the petition.
Noting that the Citizenship Act was promulgated after declaring Articles 8, 9 and 10 of the 1990 Constitution null and void, the petitioner said the parliament has no authority to scrap any Article of the Constitution.
Govt Defends Appointment of CoAS Katawal
The government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court (SC) that General Rookmangud Katawal was appointed the Chief of the Army Staff (CoAS) in accordance with the law. Responding to show cause notices issued by the Supreme Court, the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PMO) and the Ministry of Defence told the Supreme Court that the appointment was done as per the law and the need and interest of the government of Nepal.
Secretary of the PMO, Madhav Paudel, and Secretary of Defence, Bishnu Dutta Uprety, separately submitted written affidavits in the Supreme Court. "The Council of Ministers has the authority to appoint eligible individuals to different posts to maintain law and order situation in the country," the PMO's written affidavit said. "The government's authority to make appointments cannot be challenged in the SC," the PMO said.
"It also added that the writ petitioner had filed the petition at the SC, though he has no locus standi to file the petition without violation of his fundamental rights," the PMO added. The Defence Ministry also maintained that the government has the authority to appoint any eligible candidate to any post.
The PMO and the Defence Ministry have asked the apex court to quash the petition. Accusing Katawal of faking his date of birth while joining the service, advocate Dilhari Sharma had filed the petition.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lawyers boycott Jha's bench
Lawyers of Morang and Sunsari districts today decided to boycott the bench of Biratnagar Appellate Court justice, Paramananda Jha, for an indefinite period. Jha was recently demoted as a Supreme Court judge and transferred to the Biratnagar Appellate Court.A meeting of Morang and Sunsari-based law professionals here today decided to boycott his bench.
The Appellate Court Bar Association, Biratnagar, the Morang District Court Bar Association and Sunsari District Court Bar Association decided to boycott Jha’s bench and demanded Immediate ‘punishment’ for Jha.Jha, who joined the office here yesterday, had called lawyers for a meeting today. However, the lawyers decided to ignore him.
Suresh Lal Shrestha, chairperson of Biratnagar Appellate Bar Association, said: “He cannot be involved in any bench until he receives a ‘clean chit’.Jha was involved in a controversial verdict of releasing an alleged notorious drug smuggler Dil Bahadur Gurung on June 24, 2005, on bail, when he was a ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court. Citing the decision as false and a controversial one, he was demoted to the Appellate Court from the Supreme Court.
Gurung was arrested when trying to smuggle 669 kilograms of hemp illegally to Canada. Following some evidence, the Kathmandu District Court and the Patan Appellate Court had ordered to keep him in jail to proceed with his case. However, Jha had acquitted him on bail.
The Judicial Council had formed a probe committee headed by Supreme Court justice Anup Raj Sharma to probe into the controversial decision regarding Gurung’s acquittal and the panel had said that Gurung had been illegally acquitted by Jha. The committee submitted a report in 2005 saying that Jha was guilty and the Judicial Council dismissed him from his post.
Writ filed challenging surcharge

A writ petition was filed on tuesday in the Supreme Court challenging a recent agreement between the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and airlines operators to collect surcharge from consumers.A group of lawyers including Jyoti Baniya filed the petition against the Ministry and theairlines operators charging them of collecting surcharge from the customers without any legal authority.The petitioners claimed that it was illegal to impose such a charge by any body without legislative authority.The Ministry has recently authorised the airlines operators to collect Rs 50 to Rs 500 from each customer.The petitioners have sought an SC order to the defendants stopping them from collecting illegal tax and set up a panel to find out whether it is necessary impose surcharge

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

PM submitted his answer to SC

Terming the May 18 declaration of the House of Representatives a “separate constitution” covering several subjects, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on monday urged the Supreme Court not to test the declaration under the 1990 Constitution.

Koirala also claimed that the declaration is a historic rights document. The PM added that the declaration is a “superior document” to the 1990 Constitution. “This is a historic document passed in a special situation after the success of Jana Andolan II that restored the House and which had passed the declaration to institutionalise the achievements of the movement,” said Koirala while submitting a written affidavit in the SC. An official of the SC told this daily that the SC will now schedule the case for a final hearing.

Koirala sought the SC’s order to quash writ petitions filed by advocates Achyut Prasad Kharel, Shree Prasad Upadhyay, Amita Shrestha and Arun Subedi demanding judicial review of the declaration.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ministerial-level committee to implement HLPC report

The government on Monday formed a high-level committee to recommend on implementation of the report submitted by the High Level Probe Committee (HLPC).

The HLPC on Nov 20 had submitted a report to the government recommending action against 202 individuals, including the king, for their suppressive role during the Jana Andolan II.

The meeting of the Council of Ministers today, held at Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's official residence at Baluwatar, decided to form a five-member ministerial-level committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs KP Sharma Oli.

The other members of the committee are Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitauala, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bikram Nemwang, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Hridayesh Trpathi and Minister for Physical Planning and Works Gopal Man Shrestha.
According to sources, the government has asked the committee to file a report after consulting with experts on all the necessary aspects and submit it to the government to take action against the guilty individuals as recommended by the HLPC. However, no fixed time limit has been given to the committee for the submission of the report.
House declaration case: Proclamation cannot be tested, Speaker tells SC

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Subas Nembang, on sunday said they were not abiding by the 1990 Constitution because it was not possible to do so after the restoration of the House. “The declaration passed after the success of the people’s movement is not subjected to any test in the court,” Nembang said in a written affidavit he submitted to the Supreme Court. He also requested the apex court not to examine the constitutionality of the historic declaration of the House that was passed on May 18 because it is a constitutional document. Nembang was furnishing a reply in response to the Supreme Court’s show cause notice issued on September 22.
He claimed that it was a political issue and that the court could not test its legality. Advocates Achyut Prasad Kharel, Shree Prasad Upadhyay, Amita Shrestha and Arun Subedi had filed writ petitions in the SC challenging the House Declaration. Nembang claimed the House declaration was made to respect the aspirations of the people and the Jana Andolan and it would be against the spirit of the April uprising and the people’s will to challenge the legality of the declaration. It is not reasonable to demand scrapping of the declaration because the House, in the spirit of the declaration, has already passed and implemented 26 Acts.
“The House is acting to establish the achievement of the Jana Andolan II and such a political declaration cannot be tested by the court,” Nembang added. He added that the House and the Seven-Party Alliance have worked to end the ten-year-long insurgency and this was the mandate given by the King’s proclamation while reinstating the House.
Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bikram Nembang had submitted the affidavit in the SC requesting the apex court not to test legality of the declaration.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Parliament endorses Citizenship Bill

The House of Representatives has passed the ‘Citizenship Bill’ by majority, Sunday.Speaker of the House of Representatives Subash Chandra Nemwang also verified the bill passed by the parliament to make it an Act.
According to reports, the bill was passed by the majority, after lawmaker Narayan Man Bijukchhe of Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, one of the constituents of the ruling seven party alliance voted against the bill saying if the bill was passed without amendment, it will help to give citizenship to non-Nepalis.
Other members of the parliament taking part in the discussion hailed the bill saying it will help to give citizenship certificates to thousands of people deprived from it.Answering the queries of lawmakers, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula said that the government would form regulations to implement the Act as per the consensus with all political parties.After hectic discussions, the parliamentary State Affairs Committee (SAC), unanimously approved the draft of bill and presented it to the parliament for final enactment.
The Bill proposes April 15, 1963 as the cut off date for providing citizenship certificate to all people residing in Nepal before the date.The cabinet had approved the bill on September 6 with the aim of providing citizenship to all those who have been residing in Nepal before April 15, 1963. The Act will enable anyone who can establish the fact that he was eligible for Nepali citizenship on the cut-off date to be awarded the same. According to the Act, a persons needs to produce land ownership certificate or the certificates establishing his birth or permanent residency to get the citizenship. Furthermore, anyone who can gather three Nepali citizens who can vow that he/she is a Nepali citizen can also get the citizenship. The Act also has provisions allowing citizenship based on mother's name.
Lawmakers of Terai region have been raising the issue of citizenship for a long time saying that thousands of people have been deprived from the citizenship certificate due to the previous Act. The historic proclamation of the parliament suspended the provision of any bill to be verified by the King to be an Act and empowered the Speaker to verify such bills
Campaign on violence against women kicks off

A sixteen-day activism on violence against women started from Saturday with the theme 16 Years of 16 Days Advance Human Rights and Violence against Women around the world.The campaign is organised every year to fight violence against the women and this year the activism has focused on women?s involvement in every peace building process and has asked to the government to ratify the optional protocol of CEDAW convention.
Speaking at the programme organised by National Network against Gender Violence, a network of organisations working against violence against women, Saturday Minister of State for Women, Children and Social Welfare Urmila Aryal said the ministry had been advocating and lobbing for making laws protecting the rights of women.
She said that the ministry had also been lobbing with different ministries and inducing other ministries to work for the rights of women. She added that the cabinet had already passed women?s bill and it would come into implementation after it is passed by the parliament.?The ministry has been working against trafficking of women and on citizenship certificate, domestic violence, sexual harassment and other different kinds of issues related to violence against women.The network organised a rally today from Birendra International Convention Centre to Mandala of Maitighar to create awareness about the campaign and pressure the government to work on the violence against women.
Advocate and president of Forum for Women, Law and Development Sapana Pradhan Malla said that the campaign was an advocacy campaign to make the state accountable on the issue and to put pressure on the United Nations to give more attention about the issue.Malla said that there were different forms of violence against women and this time there should be focused on conflict, where the main sufferers were women.
She said that Nepal was yet to ratify the Optional Protocol on CEDAW. The Optional Protocol should be ratified if womens rights are to be protected, said Malla.
President of Sancharika Samuha Babita Basnet said violence against men could not be ended without active involvement and participation of men. She said that when the country enters into the new system the issue of violation of women?s rights should be looked with new approach.
The activism had started in Nepal from 1997. The campaign had first started from Latin America in 1981. The campaign brought to the forth the different kinds of violence against women. The UN General Assembly passed the 16-day activism in 1999 and after that all member countries started observing the activism.The network also presented a memorandum to Minister Aryal.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Articles 8, 9 of constitution to be suspended
Prior to endorsing the Citizenship Bill (CB) from the current parliamentary session, the Parliamentary Proclamation Special Committee (PPISC) in the House of Representatives is all set to suspend certain Articles of the existing constitution that contravene the Parliamentary Proclamation (PP) - 2006.

In order to address the citizenship issue before constituent assembly polls, PPISC has been doing necessary homework to remove Articles 8 and 9 of the constitution by replacing them with the clause of distributing citizenship certificates as per PP-2006.
The PPISC headed by Speaker Subash Nembang held its meeting on Friday which was also attended by Home Minister Krishna Sitaula and Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supply Hridayesh Tripathi. "The meeting discussed constitutional hindrances," said Nembang.
Existing laws sufficient to take action against King: Aryal

Co-coordinator of the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee, Laxman Prasad Aryal has said that all the accused persons in the high levelprobe commission's report, including the King are liable for prosecution even under the existing laws.Speaking at a workshop in the capital Friday, former Supreme Court Justice Aryal, who was also one of the drafter of the 1990 constitution drafting commission, said that the constitution does not give the right to exclude anyone who has issued orders to shoot and anyone who carried out such orders.

Also speaking at the same program, Speaker Subash Nemwang advised political parties not waste their time in unnecessary controversies till the constituent assembly elections.

He was obviously referring to CPN-UML General Secretary's allegation that the Prime Minister was interfering in the works of his party's ministers.

The high level commission formed to probe the atrocities committed to suppress the April movement of the country recommended action against 202 people including then chairman of the royal government King Gyanendra for suppressing the April movement of the country.

There is debate on whether existing laws are sufficient for taking action against King or not.
HoR is supreme authority in the nation' : Nembang

The Supreme Court should not test the legality of the historic declaration of May 18 because it was passed by the House of Representatives, “the supreme authority in the nation”, Minister of Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Narendra Bikram Nembang, said in a written affidavit to the SC on friday .

“As the House has the authority to pass any declaration, the passage of the historic declaration is not a justiciable issue,” he claimed.

“To say that the declaration made by the House, the supreme authority in the nation, is in violation of the Constitution would be against the aspirations of the people and the spirit of Jana Andolan-II.”

“The SC should not examine the legality of a political declaration that was made keeping in mind special circumstances in the country. The declaration has neither violated any law nor the Constitution.”

“The parliament can act on some judicial issues based on the principle of separation of powers and checks and balances.”

He said the House, revived by the King through the royal address of April 24, had acted in compliance with the law.

On September 22, the SC had issued show cause notices to the Law Minister and his office, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Cabinet, the House of Representatives, Speaker Subas Nembang, directing them to justify the passage of the historic declaration.

Secretary of the Ministry Dr Kul Ratna Bhurtel also submitted a separate affidavit, requesting the SC not to examine the legality of the declaration.
Guthi ‘loses’ ownership of its land worth Rs 10 crore

The Revenue Collection Branch of the Guthi Sansthan yesterday wrote to the Land Revenue Office, Chabahil, to maintain “previous registration” of khangi land belonging to the Gajadhar Narayan Temple Guthi in its record book following a controversial order from the Supreme Court Dewan Rai wrote in himalaya times .

Officials at the Sansthan said the land worth Rs 10 crore no longer belongs to the Sansthan. Clause 27 (a) of Guthi Sansthan Act 2033 BS states that the ownership of khangi land cannot be transferred in the name of tenants.

Maintaining “previous record means” it will be virtually impossible for the Sansthan to reclaim the land. With aim of reclaiming its encroached land, Sansthan had, a week ago, directed its local offices to update records of its land.The Sansthan had struck off the registration of the 28 ropani land belonging to the Narayan temple from its record book three years ago, saying the ownership of the land cannot be transferred to any individual. Ram Krishna Karanjit and six others, seeking tenancy rights over the land, had moved the Supreme Court.

On July 13 last year, a division bench of Supreme Court Judges Badri Kumar Basnet and Ram Prasad Shrestha had revoked the decision of the Sansthan to strike off the registration of the land, issuing a certiorari along with a mandamus order to the Sansthan to maintain the previous registration of the land.

Shimanta Raj Chaulagain, chief administrator of the Sansthan, said, “The verdict does not recognise Karanjit and six others as the rightful owners of the land.” He, however, added, “As the court has already issued a verdict in favour of the seven individuals, Sansthan can no longer reclaim the land.”

Badri Kumar Basnet, a former judge, termed the verdict “balanced and fair.” SC judge Ram Prasad Shrestha could not be reached for comment.

The verdict states that only the name of a real tenant can be registered in the record book section of LRO. Officials, however, beg to differ. “There are other kinds of registrations. Besides, the petitioners had only sought tenancy rights,” said Hem Raj Subedi, who had pleaded in the court on behalf of Sansthan. The Sansthan had filed a petition, but it was rejectd. Chapagain said, “We strongly disagree with the verdict but we will follow it.”There are reasons that make the verdict controversial. First of all, the verdict was passed overruling the precedent established in March 10, 200 by then SC judges Laxman Prasad Aryal and Kedar Nath Acharya in a similar case - Bhairabi Mandir Guthi of Dhading district vs Guthi Sansthan.

The verdict on the Narayan temple case went in favour of petitioners though they had stated in their plea that they are caretakers and that they had not paid proceeds of the land to the Sansthan till date. Subedi said, “It was one of a few writs in which the verdict was issued so hastily.” The case of Bhairabi Guthi was settled in four years. The verdict went in favour of Sansthan.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Citizenship Bill discriminatory: OHCHR-Nepal
OHCHR-Nepal has written to the Speaker of the Parliament, detailing its concerns regarding the Citizenship Bill currently before the House of Representatives. “The House of Representatives and the government are to be commended for their serious deliberations and efforts to provide new legislation on the issue of citizenship, an issue at the heart of what it means to be a Nepali in this new democratic era,” the press release quoted Lena Sundh, Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal as saying. Sundh added, “However, the importance of the issue only makes it more vital that the legislation in no way provides the basis for discrimination against certain Nepalese.
The current Bill is discriminatory on the grounds of gender and could result in discrimination against displaced persons and members of marginalised groups.”The release stated, under international law, it is up to each state to determine by law who qualifies for citizenship, adding, nevertheless, such legislation must be in accordance with international human rights law protecting the rights of individuals on matters relating to nationality and citizenship. In Nepal, any domestic laws which conflict with international treaties to which it is a State Party are invalid under the Nepal Treaty Act, said the release. Also referring to discrimination against women, the OHCHR-Nepal press release said, the current draft of the Citizenship Bill is discriminatory against women and is therefore in contravention of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which requires Nepal as a State Party to embody the principle of gender equality in its national legislation and added, section 4 of the Bill sets out provisions which make it more difficult for a child born of a Nepali mother and a foreign father to gain citizenship than for a child born of a Nepali father and a foreign mother. The release further stated, the Bill also sets out provisions which discriminate against a foreign partner of a Nepali woman, in terms of their qualifying for citizenship.
"In relation to displaced persons, members of marginalised groups and of the diaspora, OHCHR-Nepal is especially concerned about the provisions of Section 8 of the Citizenship Bill which require the presentation of certain types of documentation in order to qualify for citizenship. These provisions are likely to create major obstacles for many people of Madhesi background, including from Terai Dalit communities and indigenous communities, who for historical reasons do not currently have citizenship or the sort of documentation required.
Many displaced persons do not have documents such as land certificates or have not been included in any census or voter lists due to their displacement," stated the release. These provisions are contrary to the obligations of Nepal as a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. “In recent meetings with representatives from marginalised communities, such as Madhesis, Dalits, women from Terai communities and indigenous communities, I have heard their concerns about the Citizenship Bill. This is an important opportunity for the House of Representatives to enshrine in law the principle of equality and to realise the commitment made by the government and the CPN-Maoist in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to end discrimination in Nepal,” said Sundh.
Shrish Rana moves Supreme Court

Former Information and Communication Minister in the King Gyanendra-led council of ministers, Shrish Shumsher Rana, on thrusday filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the government to recover Rs 3.6 million from him. Rana moved the court after getting a letter from the Ministry of Information and Communication, in which the ministry has accused him of illegally distributing Rs 3.6 million to several people. The ministry has urged Rana to cough up the amount. Rana claimed in the petition that the decision to recover the amount from him was illegal as the money was spent on government activities as per the decision of the council of ministers. Rana has sought the apex court order to scrap the decision.
Discriminatory law quashed

The Supreme Court on thrusday quashed Section 7 of the Women’s Property Chapter of Muluki Ain 2063 that barred women from handing over their properties to persons of their choice and getting married to the latter thereafter. Responding to a writ petition filed by advocate Meera Dhungana on behalf of the Forum for Women and Development, a special bench comprising Justices Anup Raj Sharma, Khil Raj Regmi and Sharada Shrestha issued the order. The section had authorised parents and parental relatives of women to lay claim over their properties if they get married.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

House Committee approves Citizenship Bill
The House of Representatives State Affairs Committee (SAC), today, unanimously approved the draft of Citizenship Bill.

The Bill would now be presented to the parliament for final enactment. The Bill proposes April 15, 1963 as the cut off date for providing citizenship certificate – aimed at resolving the years-old problem of denial of citizenship to hundreds of thousands of residents of Terai or Madhes region.

The cabinet had approved the bill on September 6 with the aim of providing citizenship to all those who have been residing in Nepal before April 15, 1963. With the intention of resolving longstanding problem of citizenship of residents of Terai and landless people, the cabinet had okayed the bill as per the commitment expressed by the House of Representatives earlier.
The Bill to amend the Citizenship Act 1963, would enable anyone who can establish the fact that he was eligible for Nepali citizenship on the cut-off date to be awarded the same. It means those who were born before the cut-off date and were permanently living in the country before then would be eligible for the citizenship.

According to the draft bill, a persons needs to produce land ownership certificate or the certificates establishing his birth or permanent residency to get the citizenship. Furthermore, anyone who can gather three Nepali citizens who can vow that he/she is a Nepali citizen can also get the citizenship. The Bill also has provisions allowing citizenship based on mother's name. It also has stringent provisions of punishment for those trying to get it through falsified evidence. If anybody is found to have obtained the citizenship in a wrongful manner, he/she will face prison sentence between one to five years. Likewise, anybody who helps a wrong person get citizenship can face jail sentence between three months to one year.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

AG vows to recommend actions against oppressors

The Attorney General (AG) has assured that he will recommend actions based on law against all the oppressors named in the report submitted by the High Level Probe Commission.

Yagya Murti Banjade, the AG of the country, informed that legal processes will be initiated against the named culprits.

He said that the processes will start after the report is made public. The report was submitted to the Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, on Monday, by its chairman former judge of Supreme Court (SC) Krishna Jung Rayamajhi.

The Commission had been formed more than six months ago to probe the allegations of repression against People's Movement. The 1184-pages long report has pointed out 202 persons as guilty of oppression. They include then Chairman of Council of Ministers King Gyanendra, his ministers, senior government officials, security heads, administrators and so on.
Right to information draft bill submitted

The committed formed by the government to draft right to information bill submitted its draft bill to the government on Wednesday.

The government with an aim of guaranteeing the rights to information had formed the committee a month ago to draft the bill.

The information draft bill has recommended formation of Information Commission to guarantee freedom of information. After receiving the draft bill, Minister for Information Dilendra Prasad Badu expressed his commitment to present it during the upcoming meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Reiterating that the government is committed to securing the people's right to information and press freedom and that it would be presenting the bill to the parliament as soon as the council of ministers approves it.

The draft stated that any public office must publicise all information save those that will be detrimental to the public and has also recommended that a information officer or establishment of an information department for the purpose.

According to the task force member, Kashi Nath Dahal, the draft has also made adequate provisions for the safety of the information provider.

The draft has also made provisions according to which officers of public offices cannot be punished for leaking information regarding corruption within the office.

The government had formed a four-member task force under the coordination of media expert Kashi Nath Dahal after a previous draft prepared the Minister for Information drew widespread criticism from the media workers.

A seminar is underway at the Information Ministry to discuss the draft.
SC issued show cause notices to govt

The Supreme Court on thusday issued show cause notices to government authorities, including the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Ministry of Information and Communication, on the Compensation Fixing Committee. The court asked the authorities why a panel was not set up according to the Working Journalist Act 2053 BS.A single bench of justice Ram Kumar Prasad Shah was responding to a writ petition filed by the president of Freedom Forum, Tara Nath Dahal. Giving a 15-day time frame, the bench sought written replies from the authorities on not formation of a committee.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Insurgency Formally Ends; Govt, Maoists Sign Historic Peace Treaty

The government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) today signed a landmark comprehensive national peace treaty, which formally ends the decade-long insurgency in the country that claimed over 13,000 lives.
The signing of the treaty also paves the way for the Maoists to join the mainstream politics and join an interim government that will oversee elections to a Constituent Assembly, which will in turn prepare a new constitution and decide the fate of over 237-year-old institution of monarchy.
The treaty was signed by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on behalf of the government and Maoist chairman Prachanda on behalf of the CPN-M at around 8:29pm.
Before the signing Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula read out the entire text of the treaty in front of a packed convention hall, which included both the talks team, entire cabinet, ambassadors of various countries and the media.
The agreement signed today has been divided into 10 sections. In first section is introductory section, which says the treaty will be effective from today. The second section includes the definition of terms. The third section has provisions on interim legislature and Constituent Assembly polls. The agreement has given the King no right in the state affairs and nationalise the king's property under various national trusts and national parks. The agreement also decides to convert the property of the late King Birendra into national trusts.The fourth section has mentioned the provisions about the management of arms and armies of the Maoists' People's Liberation Army and Nepali Army based on the previous agreements reached between the Maoists and the government side. The fifth section details about upholding the ceasefire.
Section six formally declares an end to the war. While section seven details about law and order, basic freedoms, and preventing military recruitment of persons under 18, section eight details about implementing the agreement and mechanism to sort out any difference in the course of implementation.Section nine details about monitoring of the peace process. The tenth and last section guarantees that no parallel mechanism of the state will be run.
The Maoists and the government have agreed to form three high-level commissions -- National Peace and Rehabilitation Commission, Truth Commission, High-level Commission for State Restructuring.Speaking after signing the treaty amidst a function organised at the Birendra International Convention Centre at New Baneshwor, Maoist Chairman Prachanda said that the agreement has given the world a message on how peace, democracy and progress can be achieved through people's power.
Committing to respect people's aspirations, Prachanda vowed to commit to implement the agreement towards the direction of the making of a new Nepal. Burying the hatchet of the past, Prachanda said he was open for discussions with all forces but warned against any bid to foil the achievement of the agreement.At the same programme attended by top political leaders, government ministers, diplomats and common people to high-profile personalities, and telecast live by major local TV channels, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala said said, "This agreement has ended the politics of violence and terror."
The country has entered a new phase and all need to work towards making a new, prosperous and peaceful Nepal, Koirala said.
The government and the Maoists needed many rounds of rigorous negotiations to reach a consensus on the draft of the treaty, which was originally scheduled to be signed on November 16 as per the historic agreement reached earlier this month.
Coincidentally, tomorrow (Nov 22) is the first anniversary of the formation of the first ever strategic alliance between the Maoists and the seven-party alliance against the King after the King assumed absolute powers through a bloodless military coup on February 1, 2005.
At least 13,000 people lost their lives after the Maoists launched an armed rebellion what they called a people’s war against the State in 1996. Thousands of families were displaced from their villages after the war began. The signing of the treaty today has also given hopes to the internally displaced people, many of whom are yet to return to their homes even though the Maoists announced ceasefire and appealed to them to return to their villages some seven months ago.
The United Nations is going to supervise the peace process in the country. The UN, in consultations with the government and Maoists, has inspected and finalized seven main camps and 21 sub-camps where the rebels’ armies and arms will be kept till elections to a constituent assembly were held.The UN mission will monitor around 35,000 Maoist soldiers and the 90,000-strong Nepali Army.UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's personal representative to ease the peace process in Nepal, Ian Martin, said the signing of the treaty has opened the doors for the UN to initiate its works towards restoring peace in Nepal.
1994: The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is founded by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, widely known as Prachanda, after a split with its parent communist party. The Maoists, who oppose Nepal's constitutional monarchy, launched people's war in 1996.
April 1998: Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala calls for talks, but Maoists turn down the offer.
Sept 2005: Maoist rebels announce unilateral ceasefire but royalist government rejects it.
November 2005: Maoists enter into loose alliance with seven main political parties to try and end king's rule.
Jan 2006: Rebels end ceasefire.
April 27: Maoists declare a three-month ceasefire and political parties promise to work with them as King Gyanendra forced to reinstate parliament and give up absolute power after widespread protests.
April 30: Koirala, sworn in as prime minister, invites rebels to talks. In June talks they agree to dissolve parliament and set up an interim administration which includes rebels.
July 4: Nepal invites the United Nations to monitor weapons held by Maoist rebels and government troops.
Nov 8: Prime Minister Koirala and rebel chief Prachanda sign a deal on supervision of rebel arms, rescuing the faltering peace process.
Nov 21: Koirala and Prachanda hammer out the fine print on a landmark peace accord. Prachanda says peace will come after constituent elections and once his 35,000 fighters are merged with the state army.
Juvenile bench opened at Patan Court

The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare has established a juvenile bench in the Patan District Court, a search and investigation centre for missing children at Bhrikuti Mandap and established fund for rescuing kidnapped children.
Speaking at a programme to mark the 17th International Children Rights Day, Minister of State for Women, Children and Social Welfare Urmila Aryal said the rising incident of kidnapping of children was a created a serious concern to the Ministry.
The centre will coordinate the family and cooperate with to search the missing children, help rescue kidnapped children and the rescue fund will be used to rehabilitate children affected by the conflict and other social problems,"said the Minister.
With the motto of 'Children's security and honour is a base for the civilised and prosperous society'She said the Ministry was deeply concerned of the continued recruitment of children by the Maoists in their militia, thus violating human rights. Children under 18 are banned by law to be recruited in the Nepal Army as well as in any armed forces or groups.
Deepak Raj Sapkota, acting director of Central Child Welfare Board, highlighted the situation of children, opportunities and challenges. He said the Board and the Ministry had planned to establish juvenile bench in 12 districts by the end of the year.He said that the Ministry had also allocated Rs 25,000 to every VDC for girls' education.
Punya Prasad Neupane, secretary at the Ministry said the rescue fund would be utilised on finding missing children as well as in their rehabilitation and reintegration with families. "We are still discussing with various institutions for raising the rescue fund and on its utilisation.
Already Rs 89,808 have been collected in the rescue fund from various institutions and social workers, the ministry has opened an account (No 7958040) in Nepal Investment Bank for those who want to help.Neupane also said that they were also taking actions against children homes and shelters where children were physically and psychologically tortured and the ministry officials would make surprise inspections at the children's homes.
More than 400 children shelter homes and about 300 children's homes do not have adequate facilities to cater to the need of the children, he said, and added that the government would monitor their activities and punish those involved in children exploitation.
According to a data of CCWB, there are more than 26,000 child labours, 8,847 children club established and 88 per cent children under five years of age go to the school. There is no data on the special protection and shelter given to the children.At the programme, the Minister also presented appreciation letters to organisation and social helping in raising fund.
Kin of deceased file charge-sheet against NA men

Family members of Chot Nath Ghimire and Shekhar Nath Ghimire, who were allegedly killed following their arrest by then Royal Nepalese Army - now Nepali Army (NA) -- soldiers, filed a complaint at the District Police Office (DPO), Kaski, on Sunday, demanding a murder trial against the ‘culprits’.

The petitioners have accused NA soldiers Khadga Bahadur Ranabhat and Rabindra Rai - then Major and Jamadar respectively at the NA base camp at Bhorletar of Lamjung district - of killing the Ghimire duo.

Chot Nath Ghimire of and Shekhar Nath Ghimire of Lamjung district were arrested by NA soldiers of Bhorletar base camp in 2002. Locals had exhumed their skeletal remains in Saurbas area of Kaski district on Nov 3, 2006.
Preparatory works initiated to probe on RCCC's activities

The commission formed to investigate on the excesses committed by Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) is collecting related documents and files to proceed its investigation.The documents are not in accumulated and compiled form and are scattered in different offices such as the Attorney General's Office, Kathmandu District Court, Ministry for Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and Law Reforms Commission chairman of the commission Madav Prasad Ojha said.
Some documents are at Harihar Bhawan, where the Royal Commission and the high-level probe commission had their offices."We are collecting the documents and the minutes related to the commission,"said Ojha.The commission had published a notice seven days ago calling the victims of the Royal Commission to file complaints within 10 days, but only three complaints have been filed , he said.
Those filing the complaints are Jamuna Krishna Tamrakar, joint secretary at the Ministry of Forest and Land Reform and two taxi drivers. "Even if we didn't get any more complaints we will investigate all the activities of the commission and submit our report to the government.?Ojha further said they had asked for needed staffs and to make available the documents of the commission from different agencies of the state.
Presently, the commission has set up office at the Birendra International Convention Center and it is planning to shift to Harihar Bhawan where the Royal Commission led by Bhakta Bahadur Koirala and the Probe Commission led by Krishna Jung Rayamajhi had worked.The present government had formed the commission on October 30 and it started its work on November.12. The commission has been mandated to suggest to the government to take legal action against those who took action against the leaders of different political parties and others out of prejudice.
Legal Experts Doubt Action in Rayamajhi Report

Though the High-Level Investigation Commission has recommended legal action against the suppressors of the April mass movement, including the king, some legal experts have expressed doubts on the possible action the government may take against the guilty.

“Since the commission has recommended the government to promulgate a new law without carefully examining the existing laws, the implementation of the report may be doubted,” Dr Rajit Bhakta Pradhnanga said. He said that though there is an international practice of ending impunity and punishing those guilty of crime against humanity, the state must exercise powers within the existing legal parametres. It can enact a new law only if such laws to bring the guilty to book are absent.

“This report may meet the same fate as the Mallik Commission report, which was never implemented though it had listed many rights violators,” he said.

Dr Shankar Kumar Shrestha also pointed out the commission’s recommendation that the government enact a new law though Nepal has enough laws to deal with rights violators. Nepal is a signatory to a number of intentional rights laws and one can be prosecuted on the basis of those laws, he said.

A member of the Commission, Ram Prasad Shrestha, also an advocate, however, claimed that new laws can be enacted to punish rights violators in the country.

Monday, November 20, 2006

High level probe commission submits its report to PM

The high-level commission formed to probe the atrocities committed to suppress the April movement of the country has submitted its report to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala at his official residence in Baluwatar this morning.
Members of the commission informed that the report recommended the government to take necessary action against two hundred and two persons who were found guilty in killings and suppression.The panel had interrogated 294 persons for their alleged roles in suppressing the people's movement II. However, King Gyanendra did not respond the questions sent by the commission to clarify his role as then head of the government.
Chief of the Commission, former Supreme Court Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi said that they have made the report as per the people’s aspiration respecting the Rule of Law.He further said that they had documented all the incidents of rights violations during the Jana Andolan (People’s Movement) II.On the disagreement expressed by two members of the probe commission in the report, Rayamajhi said it is their right to express dissatisfaction.
Similarly, talking to journalists after submitting the report, one of the members of the commission, Hari Har Birahi said that the report recommended for action against all members of then council of ministers, administrators among others. King Gyanendra was the chair of the then council of ministers.Birahi quoted Prime Minister Koirala as saying that the government would implement the report as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, two members of the commission, Dr Kiran Shrestha and Ram Kumar Shrestha, who expressed their dissatisfaction over the report, said that they had submitted a separate report to the PM.
House passes bills

The meeting of the House of Representatives (HoR) Sunday unanimously passed the proposal to consider over Nepal Water Supply Corporation Third Amendment Bill-2063 and the Petroleum Products Transaction Bill-2063 BS.
Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Hridayesh Tripathy had forwarded the proposal on behalf of his own ministry and the Minister of Physical Planning and Works.Similarly, the meeting also approved the proposals to send the Pension Fund Bill-2063 BS presented by Minister Tripathy on behalf of Finance Minister, Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat, Foreign Employment Bill-2063 BS presented by Minister Tripathy on behalf of Minister of State for Labour and Transport Management, Ramesh Lekhak to the concerned committees for clausewise discussion.
The chairman of Population and Social Committee, Birodh Khatiwada proposed the Medical Science National Academy Bill-2063 BS and Nepal Health Service Third Amendment Bill-2063 BS including the committee's report at the meeting.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of the Speaker of HoR, Subash Chandra Nembang.
Govt can take action against stir suppressors:Aryal

ormer Supreme Court Justice and the Convenor of the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee, Laxman Prasad Aryal, on sunday said that government can take action against those who suppressed Jana Andolan II by promulgating a new law.

“This is not a normal situation, so promulgation of a new law will authorise the government to take actions against those who used excessive force to suppress the April movement,” Aryal said. He said questions might arise over promulgation of a law with retrospective effect but in situations like this promulgation of such law can be justified.

Aryal said this while delivering a lecture at a workshop on administrative law, organised by the students of Masters in Public Administration, first year.

Aryal said consensus among all the political forces is necessary to take actions against those found guilty of using force to suppress movement, as stated in the report prepared by the High-Level Investigation Commission.

Implementation of regular law is not sufficient to resolve serious problems in the country, he said.

Registrar of the Supreme Court, Dr Ram Krishna Timalsena, said promulgation of a law with retrospective effect can pave way to take actions against anyone responsible for carrying out any crime in the past.
Hearing postponed

The Supreme Court on sunday postponed its hearing on the case against the recent appointment of 51 district court judges.
Justice Rajendra Prasad Koirala did not conduct the hearing today, saying that he could not hear the case as one of the appointees was his relative. Six government attorneys eligible for the post of district court judge, including Medini Prasad Paudel, had filed the case, which was scheduled for hearing today. The petitioners have alleged that the appointment was discriminatory and called the Judicial Council headed by CJ Dilip Kumar Paudel to review the same.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Rayamajhi commision to submit its report Monday
Despite serious differences among the members, the High Level Probe Commission (HLPC) formed to investigate the suppression of the April pro-democracy movement, is all set to submit its report to the government on Monday.

"The commission will submit its report to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala at his official residence at Baluwatar tomorrow morning," said Dilli Raman Acharya, the HLPC spokesperson.

Grave differences surfaced among the commission members on the process for recommending action against "King Gyanendra and other highly-placed people", who the commission has reportedly found "guilty" of suppressing the April movement and misusing state funds during the direct royal rule.

Two members of the commission, Ram Kumar Shrestha and Dr. Kiran Shrestha, had walked away from the meeting held at the commission's office last week to finalize its report.

One of the commission members, Ram Kumar Shrestha said HLPC Coordinator Krishna Jung Rayamajhi objected to the idea of recommending the government to formulate necessary laws to "punish King Gyanendra for his role in suppressing the April uprising."

"I did not sign the final report as I was not allowed to express my note of dissent over the discriminatory actions recommended against the Janaandolan suppressors in the report," said Shrestha.

"I am of the view that all the suppressors, those who designed the crackdown and those who executed it on the streets, be held equally responsible," said Shrestha hinting at the king.

Saying that the HLPC members were still divided over the issue of recommending action against the king, Shrestha added that he would make "all the contentious issues" public tomorrow if he would not be allowed to table his "note of dissent."

According to Shrestha, the other commission members including coordinator Rayamajhi recommended that the report should hold the king responsible for the April atrocities, but should not recommend the formulation of laws required to punish him.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has already said that the government can take action against the king if the HLPC indicts the latter in its report. Talking to media persons at his hometown residence in Biratanagar on Saturday, the PM had said that the government was ready to take "any decision" considering the current situation and national interest. "We will have to find a way to take action against the king if the commission so recommends," the PM had said.
Earlier last week, news report quoted unnamed commission members as saying that the commission has concluded that the king, as the then Chairman of the Council of Ministers, should take responsibility for the atrocities committed during the April mass rebellion.

Similarly, the commission has recommended corruption charges against former vice-chairmen Dr Tulsi Giri and Kirti Nidhi Bista and ministers Tanka Dhakal, Sris Shumshere Rana and Badri Mandal.

The commission is reported to have recommended strong action, on charges ranging from murder to corruption, against the then chiefs of the security wings.

The commission, formed in May 2006 immediately after the success of the April uprising, had interrogated 296 persons. And it has prepared recommendations for necessary action against around 200 persons, holding them responsible for atrocities committed during the April movement in which 19 people were killed and over 5,000 injured.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

House panels pass bills
A meeting of House of Representative, Population and Social Committee, held Friday unanimously passed the Nepal Health Service Act-2053 Amendment Bill -2063 BS and the Medical Science National Academy Bill- 2063 BS.The committee has said the meeting held under the chairmanship of Committee Chairman Birodh Khatiwada passed the bills.Meanwhile, the meeting of the House of Representatives (HoR), Population and Social Committee on Friday has unanimously passed the Bill-2061 BS and the Bill-2062 BS that were formulated to amend Nepal Health Service Act-2053 BS and to set provisions regarding National Academy for Medical Science, , respectively.The meeting presided over by Chairman of the Committee Birodh Khatiwada has passed the Bills, today, said the Committee.
mainwhile Speaker of the House of Representatives Subash Nembang certified the Safe Transaction Bill- 2063 BS passed by the House of Representatives as per the Some Public Documents Certification (Procedure) Act-2063 BS.
Panel's appeal to people

The Investigation panel headed by appellate court judge Lokendra Malik formed to find the whereabouts of three missing persons today publicly called people to provide information if they have any information about the whereabouts of Rajendra Prasad Dhakal, Bipin Bhandari and Dil Bahadur Rai. The trio has been missing.“We have appealed to people to provide clues to us if they have any so that we can find whereabouts of missing people,” Chairman of the commission, Mallik, told journalists at a press conference organised by the panel on friday.
The Supreme Court had formed the three-member panel to investigate into the matter. Government joint attorney Saroj Gautam and advocate Govinda Bandi are the other two members of the panel.

Dhakal is missing since more then ten years and the whereabouts of the other two are not known since the past three years. Responding to habeas corpus cases, a division bench of SC justices Khil Raj Regmi and Kalyan Shrestha had set up the panel to investigate into the cases.
The panel is preparing to investigate police offices and army barracks and to interrogate security officials to find out the whereabouts of the missing people.
Suspended Top Cops Attend Duty

Four senior Nepal Police officials, including its chief, who were suspended by the government for "their suspicious role" during Jana Andolan II, on Friday joined their service by signing on the attendence book at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The government, on May 12, had suspended Inspector General of Nepal Police Shyam Bhakta Thapa, AIGPs Rajendra Bahadur Singh, Rup Sagar Moktan and Krishna Basnet

IG of the Armed Police Force Sahabir Thapa, APF-AIG Rabiraj Thapa and APF-Senior Superintendents Durja Kumar Rai and Madhab Thapa, who were suspended on the same charges, are yet to join their duties because their suspension term is yet to end.

Meanwhile, Khul Bahadur Kunwar, 46, and Yagya Bahadur KC, 40 lost their jobs and served four years and seven years in jail respectively, after the Special Police Court found them guilty of stealing two revolvers from the Arsenal of the then Mid-Regional Police Training Centre, Maharajgunj, which they were guarding, when the weapons went missing.

After serving 15 years, in 2003, one Ghanashyam Adhikari, a former policeman, approached them separately and revealed the fact that it was he who had stolen the revolvers from the Arsenal they were guarding and said sorry for whatever they had to undergo due to his action. He also submitted a revolver he had stolen to the police.

Police arrested Adhikari the same year and the Special Police Court found him guilty of stealing the revolvers. Now, Adhikari is serving a jail term of four years for the crime he committed 15 years ago.

After knowing that the court has found Adhikari guilty of stealing the revolvers, the two disgraced policemen took up a legal battle to win their lost glory, the same year.

Kunwar and KC appealed to the Regional Police Special Court (RPSC), Patan, demanding an order to the Nepal Police to reinstate their jobs and provide them with due compensation.

At the backdrop of Adhikari owning the crime and same Court convicting him on the charge, Kunwar and KC appealed to the Regional Police Special Court (RPSC), Patan, demanding a order to Police Organisation for reinstatement of their job and compensation in 2003.

Responding to the petition, the RPSC had asked the then Kathmandu District Police Office (KDPO) — now called Metropolitan Police Range (MPR), Hanumandhoka, to clarify the court about the issue and the claim made by the two policemen. The KDPO, however, didn't furnish any reply saying it has no records dating back to 1988.

The two policemen, with help of Centre for Victims of Torture (CEVICT), came to the Metropolitan Police Range to pressurise the police officials to reply at the earliest to the RPSC.Sharad Oli, Deputy Superintendent of Police at the MPR, said they have already replied to the Court saying they don't have any record of the case.

"We can help them if the Court orders formation of an investigation committee and proceed the case," he said. Kunwar and KC said all they wanted was justice. "We want justice," they echoed.
The CEVICT, meanwhile, has said that the duo were extremely tortured and made to confess to the crime they never committed and that it has filed a complaint at the National Human Rights Commission demanding action against the police personnel who tortured them.
Rayamajhi panel fails to submit report to PM

The High Level Investigation Commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi could not submit its report to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on friday as the PM was in Biratnagar.

Commission officials have been told the PM would receive the report probably on Monday. A majority of members of the commission had signed the report yesterday although two members of the commission Ram Prasad Shrestha and Dr Kiran Shrestha had refused to sign on the final report.

Rayamajhi had given a chance to the two members to sign on the report, but they did not attend office today.“Rayamajhi had told us either to sign or submit a report separately but we had no time to prepare a separate report,” said Ram Kumar.

He has been accusing Rayamajhi and the majority group of trying to save the King, the former ministers, and the security chiefs as he claimed that the majority group does not want stringent action taken against them.Ram Kumar is against the government’s acceptance of the report.

According to him the report has no value. “Since its tenure expired yesterday, how can the government accept it as it has no legal validity today,” he said. Ram Kumar, representative of the NC who had, along with another member, Dr Kiran, walked out of the commission meeting yesterday, accused the majority group of adopting a discriminatory policy.

However, another NC representative in the commission, Harihar Birahi, said: “People will know the truth when the government makes the report public”.

The report has recommended the government to prosecute all the members of the erstwhile council of ministers led by King Gyanendra on charge of corruption.

But the report does not recommended prosecution of them on murder charge saying that they had not opened fire against anyone and their involvement cannot be established in court.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Cases of Domestic Violence against Women on Rise

Records kept at the Women's Cell at Kalimati show that most of the complaints lodged at the cell are related to instances of beating by husbands. Records also show an increasing trend of domestic violence against women in the country. Out of 907 complaints lodged at the Women's Cell in 2005-06, 830 were related to domestic violence. Out of 1,070 complaints lodged at the cell in 2004-05, 996 were related to domestic violence. Of 830 complaints lodged at the cell in 2003-04, 752 were related to domestic violence.
Report presented

Chairman of the Nepal Law Reform Commission Babu Raja Joshi today presented the Economic Report of the commission for Fiscal Year 2005/2006 to Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bikram Nemwang.The Report includes topics like the introduction of the Commission, its formation, organisation structure, status of physical condition and the status of human resources, the works carried out within Fiscal Year 2005/2006, the projected financial programme for Fiscal Year 2005/2006, the problems of the Commission, suggestions and the Commissions commitments.On the occasion, Minister Nemwang said that the Report would be forwarded to the bodies concerned and necessary assistance would be provided for the implementation of feasible suggestions.The Commission has expressed the commitment to prepare list of experts for preparing laws in future so as to make them more research-based, to promote transparency in the activities of the Commission, to design a separate Website for increasing the access of general public and to work in coordination with the bodies preparing the international laws.
Special Court gives clean chit to ex-minister Joshi

A day after it acquitted a ‘tainted’ former minister of corruption charges, the Special Court gave clean chit to former minister Govinda Raj Joshi, dismissing a corruption charge lodged by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) against him.

A three-member bench comprising Chairman of the Special Court Bhupadhoj Adhikari and judges Komal Nath Sharma and Cholendra Shumsher Rana cleared Joshi of corruption charges.
The CIAA had on the basis of the report of the Judicial Inquiry Commission on Property (JICP) filed a case at the Special Court, accusing the former minister of amassing Rs30 million without disclosing its source by misusing his authority as then minister.

The court had remanded him in custody for a few days at the request of the anti-graft body but he secured release as the trial continued.

The CIAA had arrested Joshi, a Nepali Congress leader, from his house on October 13, 2003. He held home and education portfolios in different governments in the past.
Two members refuse to sign the final report

Two members of the High Level Probe Commission, Ram Kumar Shrestha and Dr. Kiran Shrestha have refused to sign the final report expressing dissatisfaction over what they called as 'feeble' recommendation, particularly in relation with the action against the King and other top officials.

The disagreement erupted after the final report of the commission recommended action against the former home minister Kamal Thapa; royal advisors Satchit SJB Rana and Sharad Chandra Shah; former army chief Pyara Jung Thapa; former police chief Shyam Bhakta Thapa; former armed police chief Sahabir Thapa; and former chief of National Investigation Department Deviram Sharma only on the charge of misusing state coffer instead of slapping them charges of murder.

Shrestha duo refused to sign the minute of the meeting of the Commission on Thursday even though other members signed it in preparation of its formal submission to the Prime Minister on Friday. They also accused majority members of trying to protect the King from facing tough action. They were dissatisfied after the Commission report failed to firmly recommend action against the King despite finding him guilty of repression. Ram Kumar Shrestha said that they did not sign the report because its recommendations were not tough enough and could provide impunity to main culprits.
Rayamajhi Panel Report not to be Made Public

The High-Level Investigation Commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Krsihna Jung Rayamajhi on Thursday said its report on the suppression of the April mass movement and killings won't be made public.The commission will submit the report to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on Friday.

"We will not make the report public," Rayamajhi told . He added that as there are serious matters in the report, publicising it may affect the law and order situation.

Rayamajhi said they finalised the report on Thursday and sought Koirala's time for its submission. The panel took 184 days to complete its work.

Rayamajhi said the Probe Commission Act, 1969, does not allow the commission to make the report — a secret document — public. "We can, however, disclose limited information verbally," he said.

He also, however, said that he would suggest the Prime Minister to make the report accessible to people as it is a matter of public interest.

The commission has indicted King Gyanendra, members of the erstwhile cabinet, chiefs of security agencies and high-ranking security officials. It has also decided to recommend the government to prosecute on murder charges former Home Minister Kamal Thapa and those who issued shoot orders during the agitation.

President of Nepal Bar Association, Shambhu Thapa, however, criticised the idea of keeping the report a secret and called on the government to respect the rights of the people. "If the government wants to respect the right to information of the people, the report must be made public," Thapa told

."This is a public document and as such it must be made public as per article 16 of the 1990 Constitution and in accordance with the emerging principle of right to information and to promote the rule of law," he said.

Advocate Upendra Keshari Neupane also suggested the government publicise the report and implement it's suggestions so that it does not meet the same fate as that of the Mallik Commission report. The Mallik Commission was formed to investigate the suppression of the 1990 movement. However, its recommendations were never implemented.

President of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists Bishnu Nisthuri also objected to the idea of keeping the report a secret. "This is against the spirit of the Jana Andolan-II," he told .

Mainwhile Serious differences arose among members of the High-Level Investigation Commission over the recommendation to the government to take action against the king, former ministers and chiefs of security agencies.

While a majority of the members of the panel decided to submit the report to the PM, two members Ram Kumar Shrestha and Dr Kiran Shrestha accused them of trying to save the king and the officials from facing stringent action.

Though they did not write a formal note of dissent , they objected to the idea of the majority of the members.“We went against the proposal of the majority as they have tried to protect the King, the former ministers and the chiefs of security agencies,” Shrestha told .

He and Dr Shrestha did not sign the minute and walked out of the meeting. However, the majority of the members decided to stick to the plan of submitting the report.

Shrestha alleged that the majority was against charging former ministers, including Kamal Thapa, and the security chiefs, under murder charge, and wanted them to be prosecuted under corruption charge.

However, another member of the commission claimed that Ram Kumar and Dr Shrestha were trying to hinder the decision making process.

The majority also claimed that Ram Kumar is close to the chief of the Nepali Army Rookmangud Katawal and he was trying to obstruct the process and that Ram Kumar always created problems while the commission was doing its job.

“The truth is that the two members want the officials prosecuted on corruption charges and not on murder charges,” a member in the majority group said.

He said the commission would go ahead and recommend prosecuting the officials on murder charges as well.Another member Ram Prasad Shrestha said that the two members’ allegation that the majority of the members are trying to protect the king and the former officials is “totally baseless.”

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Show cause on Fewa case

Pokhara Appellate Court on Wednesday issued show cause notices to the defendants in a writ petition filed for conservation of Fewa lake. The petition was filed on Tuesday against Kaski DDC, Pokhara sub-metropolitan city, Sarangkot, Pumdibhumdi and Chapakot VDCs bordering the lake. Advocate Bishwo Ghimire filed the petition demanding issuance of a mandamus order stating that the authorities responsible for conservation of the lake have been slacking off in their job and this has led to shrinkage of the lake’s area. Pokhara appellate court judge Mohan Prasad Ghimire gave the defendants a 15-day deadline to submit their written explanations.
Complaint against RCCC

An official who had faced action from the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC), Jamuna Krishna Tamrakar, wednesday filed a complaint at the investigation commission headed by former Judge Madhav Prasad Ojha that is investigating the excessive use of force by the RCCC. Tamrakar, former Director General of the Department of Forest, had sought action against the RCCC officials including its chairman Bhakta Bahadur Koirla. The RCCC had arrested him on charge of corruption. Yesterday, the commission had publicly called the RCCC’s victims to file complaints against its officials giving 10 days’ time so that it can probe into the matter.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Special Court acquits ex-minister Khadka of graft charges

The Special Court today acquitted former minister Khum Bahadur Khadka of corruption charges lodged by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).

A three-member bench comprising chairman of the Special Court, Bhupadhoj Adhikari, and members Komal Nath Sharma and Cholendra Shumsher Rana gave clean chit to Khadka.

The CIAA had filed a corruption that a case against Khadka, a Nepali Congress (NC) leader, accusing him of amassing huge amount of property by misusing its position as then home minister.

The anti-graft body had accused him of embezzling Rs.23,687,634 during his tenure as a minister.
SC show cause on Pariyar death

The Supreme Court Tuesday issued a show cause notice, asking the government why it had not taken action against the security personnel responsible for the death of human rights activist Dayaram Pariyar some eight months ago.

The single bench of justice Ram Prasad Shrestha issued the notice, responding to a writ petition filed by advocate Ratna Bahadur Bagchand on Monday. "Submit written details on why no action has yet been taken against the security man involved in Pariyar's killing," the SC order said.

A police team, including Police Inspector Prakashraj Sharma, had opened indiscriminate fire at Janak chowk of Janakpur in April this year. The firing had killed Rastriya Prajatantra Party leader Ram Chandra Yadav on the spot and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) official Pariyar died four days later while undergoing treatment in Kathmandu.

After a probe it carried out, the NHRC had recommended to the government to press criminal charges against the security man who had shot Pariyar. But the government has not taken any action against the allegedly guilty policeman.
OHCHR-Nepal will continue to monitor human rights situation

The Head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal), Lena Sundh on Wednesday reiterated that the OHCHR-Nepal would do the utmost to support the parties’ endeavours in the peace process and would continue to monitor the human rights situation in Nepal as requested by the political parties.

The newly-appointed head of the OHCHR-Nepal who arrived in Kathmandu on Monday, in a press meet today said, “I am pleased to be here in Nepal and lead a dedicated team.”

An expert in conflict management and peacekeeping with a 30-year-long international career, Sundh was appointed the head of the OHCHR-Nepal on October 18.

Sundh speaking today at her first press conference within the capacity of the head of the OHCHR-Nepal, said, “I assure that OHCHR-Nepal will continue its work in different districts of Nepal to monitor human rights situation. Our human rights officials in five development regions will continuously monitor the human rights situation across the country through capacity building and technical assistance.”

Sundh also stressed that all the parties must abide by the November 8 agreement and the OHCHR-Nepal will continuously monitor the implementation after the comprehensive peace agreement is signed by the government and the Maoists.

Emphasising on the establishment of rule of law, Sundh said, “The rule of law is the foundation and nobody can be above the law. The impunity must end. Ending impunity remains one of the biggest human rights challenges for Nepal.”
Sundh termed the formation of the high-level truth and reconciliation commission a positive step and underscored that the commission must be independent, credible and strong. Sundh also pointed out that the National Human Rights Commission in Nepal must be strong, impartial and independent.

Stating that the voices of dalits, janjatis, women and other marginalised people must be addressed, Sundh said that during the transitional phase, it is necessary that their human rights must be guaranteed.

"When the peace process begins, installing the parliament and the government is not the ultimate aim but is the beginning", said Sundh, adding, "By respecting the human rights of the people of Nepal, parties can establish conducive environment for CA elections."

Mainwhile The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has requested the Maoists not to violate the agreement with the Seven Party Alliance (SPA).A complaint had been filed at the Commission which said that the Maoists forcefully transferred the registration of the land belonging to Madan Mandal Khatwe of Simara-5 in Sarlahi to that of Akalesh Mandal two weeks ago, the Commission said.
A group of Maoists led by Thaga Mahara Chamar, chief of the 'people's government', also severely tortured the landowner, the Commission cited the complaint.The Commission has also requested the Maoists to stop such incidents and return the land to the landowner.
Rayamajhi panel found King Gyanendra guilty

The High-level Investigation Commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi has found King Gyanendra guilty of suppression and killing of people during Jana Andolan II. The commission has decided to urge the government and parliament to take necessary steps against the King as no law permits action against him.

The commission, which spent 184 days to complete its investigation, is to submit its report on Friday to Prime Minister GP Koirala.

“We have decided to recommend the parliament to take necessary steps against the King as we found him guilty,” a highly placed commission source told . He also added that they have said that though the King did not respond to the commission’s questionnaire, it does not mean he did no wrong. This is the first time in Nepal’s history that a commission has found a king guilty.

“Since he was the chairman of the council of ministers, we found him responsible for all the decisions taken by the cabinet,” the source added.

The commission specifically recommended the government to take strong action against the members of the King’s cabinet and the chiefs of the security agencies who had ordered use of excessive force to suppress Jana Andolan II.According to a member of the commission, Ram Prasad Shrestha, the report will be submitted to PM Girija Prasad Koirala on Friday.

It had quizzed 294 persons for violating human rights and misuse of national treasury.

It has named some security personnel for ordering the shooting of demonstrators and decided to recommend prosecution of them on charge of murder. “Around 150 persons were found guilty of killing and suppressing the people,” the source added.

The commission also held the then vice-chairmen of the council of ministers Dr Tulsi Giri and Kirtinidhi Bista, Home Minister Kamal Thapa and other ministers guilty of violating human rights. The commission will ask the government and the parliament to promulgate a law so that they can be prosecuted on charge of abusing human rights, as currently there is no specific law to prosecute anyone on charge of human rights abuse.

The commission named certain officials and recommended dismissal, demotion and departmental action against them.

Many ministers and regional administrators have been found guilty of misusing state treasury.
The commission has decided to recommend that they be prosecuted under Anti-corruption Act, 2002, a commission member said. It is also going to suggest prosecution under Muluki Ain 1963 of the security officials who had issued shoot orders on demonstrators.
Verdict on Khum Bahadur's Graft Case Likely on wednesday

The Special Court is likely to issue a verdict on the corruption case against former Home Minister Khum Bahadur Khadka on Wednesday. The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed the case against Khadka four years ago. Though the verdict on the case was scheduled to be issued on Tuesday, the judges could not give their judgment due to lack of time. The verdict is likely to be issued on Wednesday. "We have scheduled the case for tomorrow for issuing the verdict as we could not do so today due to lack of time," Judge Bhoopdhoj Adhikary told reporters on Tuesday. A three-member bench comprising Adhikary, and judges Komal Nath Sharma and Cholendra Sumsher Rana has been hearing the case. Khadka, former Home Minister, was implicated by the anti-corruption watchdog for accumulating disproportionate property while he was minister. According to the CIAA, Khadka, currently an MP of the sitting parliament, had accumulated Rs 27.5 million without justifiable sources of income. Khadka has been claiming that the anti-graft body had implicated him on false charges with political vendetta after King Gyanendra had seized power.
SAC fails to finalise Citizenship Bill

The Parliamentary State Affairs Committee (SAC) could not finalise the Citizenship Laws Integration and Amendment Bill, 2006, today after some MPs raised concern about Maoists’ consent to pass the Bill by the HoR. The SAC could not hold a clause-wise discussion. The meeting in the morning was obstructed for half-an-hour after some MPs said the Maoists had objected to the information that there was agreement between Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist chairman Prachanda to pass the Bill by this House. Citing his conversation with Maoist leaders this morning, MP Lila Mani Pokhrel demanded that Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula get Maoists’ commitment before holding clause-wise discussion. An informal meeting was conduced later after Sitaula confirmed that the government would convince the Maoists. After a heated discussion for almost four hours, SAC told the Home Minister to change language in clauses 1, 3 and 5, related to the cut-off date and issuance of naturalised citizenship.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

NBB case: CJ urged to form probe panel

Members of the Judicial Council (JC) have suggested Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel form a panel to look into the controversial stay order issued by judge Keshav Prasad Mainali of the Patan Appellate Court against Nepal Rastra Bank himalaya times reports .

A member of the Council told that Chief Justice is yet to form a panel to investigate the Patan Appellate Court’s recently controversial stay order that barred Nepal Rastra Bank from intervening in the management of Nepal Bangladesh Bank Limited.

“We have suggested him to from a inquiry panel as per the Judicial Council Act 1990,” said a JC member.

Following the controversy stirred by the stay order, the NB Bank had withdrawn the case from the Patan Appellate Court and the Rastra Bank took over its management.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Panel on RCCC's excesses to start work

The commission formed to investigate on the excesses committed by the Royal Commission for Corruption Control is starting its work from Monday. The government had formed the commission 13 days ago (on October 30) under the chairmanship of former justice of Appellate Court Madav Prasad Ojha. Other members of the commission are: Chitra Dev Joshi, Bijaya Kumar Singh, Ram Prasad Gaudel and Baburam Regmi as member secretary. Chairman Ojha said that they would formally begin the job from Monday. He has already taken oath before the Chief Justice and other members would take oath Monday. The office of the commission would be set up within the premises of the Birendra International Convention Centre, the same place where Royal Commission had its office. The commission has been mandated to suggest the government to take legal action against those who took action against the leaders of different political parties and others out of prejudice and ill-motive. The commission has been given 45 days to submit the report after it begins its work. The commission can hear complaints, call on related individuals for interrogation and study all documents related to the royal commission, said Ojha. The Royal Commission formed by King Ganendra had taken into custody political leaders including former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other civil servants. The commission was both the judge and the jury. The commission was widely criticised for being biased and vindictive against political leaders and civil servants. The commission led by Bhakta Bahadur Koirala was dissolved, after the Supreme Court decided that it was illegal and unconstitutional.
Experts against citizenship for foreigners

Experts on sunday opposed the provision of providing naturalised citizenship to foreigners other than those who marry Nepali citizens as provisioned in the proposed Citizenship Laws Integration and Amendment Bill, 2006.

They advised the Parliamentary State Affairs Committee (SAC) that there was no need of issuing naturalised citizenship certificate to anyone. A few experts also opposed the idea of adopting the cut-off date for distributing citizenship.

“Why has the government proposed such a provision to provide naturalised citizenship to create a burden for the country? It will result in population growth,” said Shambhu Thapa, president of the Nepal Bar Association. He added that honourary citizenship would be sufficient if any foreigners contributed to the nation.

The SAC today held a discussion with lawmakers, leaders and legal experts on the provisions of the proposed Bill.Former president of the NBA Harihar Dahal said that the citizenship problem of the Madheshis should be resolved but non-Nepalese should not be issued citizenship certificates. He also added that 1990 should be made the cut-off year to solve the problem.

Advocate Kamal Naryan Das suggested that the date of promulgation of the new Citizenship Act can be recognised as the cut-off date.

Senior advocate Shree Hari Aryal advised the government to adopt a provision not to appoint a naturalised citizen in any policy-level posts. Advocate Prakash Osti claimed that the idea of providing citizenship by birth and with the recommendation of three people cannot solve the problem

Speaker Subas Nembang said the House was doing serious homework to solve the citizenship problem before the constituent assembly elections. “This is the problem of the entire nation. This should be resolved before the CA polls,” Nembang added.

Home Minister Krishna Prasad Situala said the seven-party alliance and the Maoists have agreed to solve the citizenship problem. He said the Home Ministry will send teams to the districts to provide citizenship certificates immediately after the Bill is passed.
Implement the SC verdicts: woman body

The Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD) on sunday said that the government has failed to implement the Supreme Court verdicts issued in favour of women.
“The government authorities are yet to initiate homework to promulgate a law as per the directives of the SC to ban sexual harassment in public places,” said FWLD’s advocate Meera Dhungana. She claimed that the SC had ordered the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet and the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs two-and-a-half-years ago in this regard but the authorities are yet to get the text of the judgement. “We wrote to the office of the Attorney General to send the text of the judgment six months ago but they are yet to respond,” she said at an interaction organised by the FWLD. The SC had ordered the government to promulgate a separate law banning sexual harassment in public places.

She claimed that her organisation has filed a contempt of court case in the SC against the government authorities for not obeying the apex court verdict to form a panel to study about gender discrimination. “This is the worst situation that the authorities are not seriously implementing court verdicts,” she added.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Human Rights issue is major : Advocate tripathi

Advocate Dinesh Tripathi was invited as a guest speaker to deliver a talkin a New York University on “violation of international law in Nepal.”. He spoke on the occasion that "There is massive violation of international human rights laws and international humanitarian laws are taking place in Nepal. Nepal had ratified all the major international human rights instruments but implementation part is extremely weak in the Nepal. There is massive non-compliance with the international human rights norms in the Nepal."

April movement was a huge success and one of the historic events in Nepal but evil forces are conspiring to undermine the mandate of April movement. Nepal needs to fully integrate with international human rights regime and aspiration of full freedom and genuine democracy of Nepalese peoples need to be respected. It is the irony of Nepali history that no action has taken against any perpetrator and violator. Recent agreements between seven party alliances are historic and positive one but lot depends on the sincere implementation of the agreement. Nepal can not afford violence and war.

Genuine, just and democratic peace is the need of the hour in Nepal. International community and civil society has to be watchful on Nepal and support the full democratization and integration with the international human rights regime. International big power should not conspire against the will of Nepalese people and at the expense of people of Nepal should not support king and military. People of Nepal aspiring for full and genuine democracy and want to get rid of monarchy and all the feudal institution. International power should respect and allow to prevail the will of the people of Nepal. United nation has an extremely important role to play in Nepal and closely monitor the peace process . United Nation should use its resource and expertise to facilitate to build a genuine peace in the Nepal. It has to enhance it’s capability to effectively tackle the situation. International criminal tribunal need to be set up to conduct trial against the perpetrator. State and Maoist both need to abide by international human rights norms. Violation of international human rights norms and humanitarian norms shall not be allowed at any cost. Human rights and human dignity is the paramount. Military need to be fully democratized and fully put under civilian control. Total restructuring of the state is the need of the hour. People want a massive and positive change in order to build more just and fair socio- economic order. We the people of Nepal shall allow writing our own constitution and allow being the master of our own fate. New constitution should not only establish a political democracy but it also establishes a social and economic democracy too.

In the country like Nepal Political democracy is essential but it is not enough. We need a vast socio-economic restructuring of the society. Our democracy must be inclusive and equitable and guarantee not only the civil and political rights of people but economic, social and cultural rights of people. In order to build genuine human rights culture in south Asia we need to have south Asian court of human rights. South Asian leader should show their political will to adopt south Asian human rights charter. It would be the biggest safeguard for south Asian people against military and undemocratic regime. Since it is an era of globalization of human rights so south Asia region should not be lagging behind in this context.