Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Judiciary acted under royal duress: Ex-acting CJ

Former acting Chief Justice Bhairav Prasad Lamsal on monday told the Investigation Commission headed by former Appellate Court Judge Madhav Prasad Ojha that the royal regime had directly or indirectly pressurised the judiciary.Lamsal, currently an ex-officio member of the Judicial Council (JC), apprised the Commission, that has been investigating into the alleged use of excessive force by the dissolved Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC), of the intervention by the royal regime in the judiciary. “The RCCC had worked as if it was above the Supreme Court and it had arrested the District Court Judge Birendra Kumar Karna,” a member of the Commission said quoting Lamsal.
Lamsal attended before the commission and recorded his statement today. “I had not given permission to the RCCC to arrest the judge,” Lamsal claimed. He also told the Commission that without his permission, the RCCC had quoted him in a fraudulent manner while prosecuting judge Karna in a corruption case. Lamsal also added that the RCCC had encroached upon the authority of the Judicial Council while taking action against Karna. “It was the jurisdiction of the Judicial Council and not the RCCC to take action against any judge,” a member of the Commission Ram Prasad Gaudel quoted Lamsal as saying. “I told them to send the case to the Judicial Council, but they did not do so,” Lamsal added.This was the first time an ex-officio member of the JC has been interrogated by any panel.
“The RCCC worked as if it could overrule the apex court’s verdict,” Lamsal said. RCCC’s Investigation Officer and Spok-esperson Prem Raj Karki claimed they had worked as per orders from above. The Commission interrogated Investigation Officers Krishna Prasad Sapkota, Pratap Sharma Paudel and Rajendra Prasad Pokhrel.

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