Friday, December 28, 2007
Ananta Raj Luitel
Kathmandu, December 27:The Judicial Council (JC) today dismissed Supreme Court ad hoc judge Pawan Kumar Ojha two years after his appointment.The JC took the decision unanimously.The JC decided to make permanent two other judges, Rajendra Prasad Koirala and Tahir Ali Ansari, who were appointed ad hoc judges along with Ojha.The practice followed till now was to either extend the tenure of ad hoc judges or to make them permanent judges . Ad hoc judge Paramananda Jha was demoted from the apex court two years ago after a controversy over one of the judgements he delivered .Just four months before the end of the royal regime, Ojha was appointed ad hoc judge in the SC. He had supported the unconstitutionally-formed Royal Commission for Corruption Control that detained democratic leaders. King Gyanendra nominated him as Attorney General after he seized power in 2005.There were only two permanent posts and we selected just two,” JC member Basudev Dhungana said. “We selected them based on the Judicial Council (Procedure) Regulation 1999, which says the JC should select judges with competency, courage, performance, “ he said.Following the decision the JC secretariat forwarded the names of Koirala and Ansari to the Parliament Secretariat to conduct hearing, according to JC spokesperson Nahakul Subedi.After being shown the door, Ojha congratulated the media for the ‘success for their goal’ to oust him from court. “I must congratulate the entire media world,” Ojha said sarcastically.“I do not react against the decision. People should judge whether it is partial or not,” Ojha added. “Pawan Kumar Ojha is nothing but people should get a valid answer as there are people to judge the decision.”Ojha added that he was ready to face the parliament but he missed the chance. “I was prepared to face the parliamentary hearing because the lawmakers are not ‘tigers’ and there was no need to be scared of them.”He expressed displeasure with the JC for not informing him officially. He attended office today but returned in the afternoon after he got to know of the JC’s decision t. “Officially I did not get the decision,” Ojha complained. “I have to share many things but will do so after consulting my friends soon.”
Ananta Raj Luitel /himalayantimes
Thursday, December 27, 2007
A meeting of the Council held today, however, gave permanent status to two other ad hoc judges- Rajendra Prasad Koirala and Tahir Ali Ansari-
though they were also retiring today, according to our correspondent Kiran Chapagain.
The move is seen as the council’s decision to punish justice Ojha, who has a history of supporting the royal regime.
Ojha was inducted as the Attorney General of the country following the royal takeover.
Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri chairs the Council.
The Judicial Council decision comes at a time when parliament was insisting that ad hoc judges should face parliamentary hearings for confirmation.
The Judicial Council members were also debating the pros and cons of the constitutional provision that requires judges of the Supreme Court to be approved by parliament before their appointment.
Some members have argued that even ad hoc judges should face the parliament while some others have opposed the idea.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed serious concern over growing human rights abuses in Terai region.
In a statement on Tuesday, the rights watchdog said it had been receiving information form various sources about growing cases of murder, extortion, abduction and intimidation of ordinary people, government employees and political cadres alike in eastern and central Terai. Such an environment of fear has caused growing displacement of people from the region, the NHRC said.
The NHRC also asked the Nepal government to enhance security in the region and guarantee the rights of the people to live and work in a fearless manner.
Though the commission urged “all concerned groups” to show respect to human rights while exercising their rights, it did not mention categorically which groups were involved in violation of rights.
According to the commission, human rights monitors have been assessing the situation in districts like Bara, Parsa, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari and Dhanusha.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the government to enact laws that ensure secrecy in the judicial process for cases involving people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) or sensitive issues of women and children.
The apex court also said it would formulate a set of guidelines for courts and the government outlining how such cases should be dealt with in court until necessary new laws are enacted. The guidelines would be effective from January 24, 2008, the court ruled. The apex court, however, did not give details of the guidelines.
Under existing law some sensitive cases concerning women and children are heard in camera but the whole judicial process is not kept secret. But today's order requires courts and the government to maintain secrecy throughout the judicial process from the time of filing of cases till after the verdicts are handed down.
Justices Khil Raj Regmi and Kalyan Shrestha issued the order in response to public interest litigation brought by the Forum for Women, Law and Development, a women's rights NGO.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
No decision yet on ad hoc judges’ tenure
Due to the absence of Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bikram Nembang in today’s meeting of the Judicial Council, the council could not take a decision on extending the tenure of three ad hoc judges of the Supreme Court.“The meeting could not decide anything as the Law Minister did not attend the meeting due to his busy schedule in the parliament,” secretary of the council Prakash Kumar Dhungana told journalists. He added that the meeting will continue tomorrow.The council has been discussing on whether or not to extend the tenure of ad hoc judges Pawan Kumar Ojha, Rajendra Prasad Koirala and Tahir Ali Ansari. It has also been discussing the issue of appointing an executive director of the Nepal Judicial Academy.“We hope that we will be able to take a decision tomorrow,” a member of the council said. Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri, Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and members Basudev Dhungana and Motikaji Sthapit attended today’s meeting. “We have been awaiting Law Minister’s views on the matter,” he added.According to him, some members of the council have proposed to extend the tenure of the judges by two more years and they may not face a parliamentary hearing, too.
Friday, December 21, 2007
JC mulls over tenure of ad hoc judges
The Judicial Council dwelled on whether or not to extend the tenure of three ad hoc judges of the Supreme Court — Pawan Kumar Ojha, Rajendra Prasad Koirala and Tahir Ali Ansari.A member of the council, who attended the meeting, told this daily that they have been considering whether ad hoc judges are needed at all. “Some of the members do not want to extend the ad hoc judges’ tenure but it is still a matter under discussion,” the member added. According to him, the council will take a decision by Sunday or Monday.Chairman of the council Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bik-ram Nembang, seniormost SC justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and council members Bashudev Dhungana and Motikaji Sthapit attended the meeting.“We are also discussing on whether there is a need of parliamentary hearing on appointment and extension of the term of ad hoc judges,” the member added.Some of the council members are reportedly against extending the tenure of Ojha as he had supported the royal takeover of February 1, 2005. King Gyanendra had awarded him with the Attorney General’s post during the royal regime and he was later promoted as ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court.
Court scraps cases against THT, Kantipur
The Kathmandu District Court quashed defamation cases against two leading dailies — The Himalayan Times and Kantipur — filed by sacked judge Kedar Prasad Pyakurel.Stating that the defamation charge against THT and Kantipur were baseless, the KDC scrapped the cases. A single bench of judge Tej Bahadur Karki looked into the case against THT, while a separate single bench of judge Sushma Lata Mathema heard the case against Kantipur.The benches stated that the cases were baseless and the plaintiff could not justifyhis claim.Advocates Krishna Prasad Pokhrel, Yogendra Adhikari and Ananta Raj Luitel, who is also a senior correspondent with THT, pleaded on behalf of THT. Advocate Ram Krishna Nirala defended Kantipur while Pyakurel himself argued before the benches in both cases.Saying that the contents of news about his sacking by King Gyanendra on March 17, 2006, were defamatory, Pyakurel had sued Managing Director of APCA House Ravin Lama, editor of THT Ram Pradhan and senior correspondent Luitel.Pyakurel had filed a similar case against the management and journalist of KantipurPublications.The king, on the recommendation of Judicial Council, had sacked Puakurel, Ganesh Panjiyar and Chitra Dev Joshi from their posts as judges on the charge of incompetence.The Council had recommended the king to sack them for tarnishing the image of the judiciary, following an investigation into their alleged involvement in irregularities.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Sobhraj to face fake passport case too
The hearing against suspected international serial killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj has been extended for a few months. The bench was supposed to pronounce the verdict today but it issued an order to reopen a fake passport possession case against Sobhraj. “I am surprised as we did not expect an extension of hearing. All our efforts have gone in vain,” Sobhraj’s lawyer Rajaram Dhakal told .“Reopening of the fake passport case would have been appropriate in the initial phase when the apex court had started the hearing,” Dhakal added.A division bench of justices Anup Raj Sharma and Top Bahadur Magar said there was a need to reopen fake passport possession case against Sobhraj. The case was scrapped bythe Kathmandu District Court and was upheld by the Patan Appellate Court.The lower courts have convicted Sobhraj of killing American National Connie Jo Bronzich in Nepal in 1975.The bench said there was a need to reopen hearing on fake passport possession case, as there was contradiction between the murder case verdict and fake passport possession case verdict. The bench, however, said there was no need to proceed hearing in the contempt of court case filed by Sobhraj against the government.Sobhraj had filed contempt charge against the government as he claimed that the government authorities had produced fabricated documents in order to mislead the court.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and other top leaders of the seven-party alliance to compensate Maoist victims within six months.
The order, which upholds what the court termed the victims' right to life, property and other fundamental rights, comes at a time when the government continues to be indifferent to the demands of Maoist victims for compensation and rehabilitation. The exact number of such victims is still unknown.
"The interim constitution has guaranteed Maoist victims' rights to life, property, education of their children, employment and other fundamental rights. Even after one year since the constitution was promulgated, nothing has been done to compensate the victims," Justices Bal Ram KC and Tahir Ali Ansari said, while ordering Koirala and other leaders.
The court passed the order in response to a writ petition filed by Bhoj Raj Timalsena, coordinator of the Maoist Victims' Struggle Committee. The committee moved the courts last April after the government showed continued indifference to their demands for compensation, memorandums and protests.
The apex court also ordered the government to form a commission to ascertain the actual situation of Maoist victims before providing them any relief material. Such a committee should comprise representatives of political parties from each development region, Maoist victims and individuals of the government’s choice.
The decision on the writ petition was delayed since Maoist Chairman Prachanda, one of the defendants, continued to ignore the show cause notice from the Supreme Court. But Prachanda accepted the notice when the court sent it to him by post. However, he has still not replied to the notice, according to court officials.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
The JC headed by Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel recommends the appointment of the judges’ action against any judge involved in corruption and irregularities.
“We have been thinking to let them continue as ad hoc judges,” the source said, adding: “But we have been thinking whether parliamentary hearing is needed to continue for the ad hoc judges.” According to him, there is no clarity in the Interim Constitution whether or not parliamentary hearing is needed for the ad hoc judges. “We will consult the parliament in this regard,” he added.
A member of the JC Basudev Dhungana said that they have been thinking what should be done in this regard. “We will decide on this soon,” Dhungana added.
Ad hoc judges Pawan Kumar Ojha, Rajendra Prasad Koirala and Tahir Ali Ansari are going to complete their tenure on December 29. Some of the JC members want to let them continue as ad hoc judges so that they do not need to face the hearing, but some others do not want to extend their tenure.They were appointed on December 28, 2005. Ojha was chosen as ad hoc judge of the apex court when he was appointed AG after the royal takeover on February 1, 2005.
However, a member of the parliamentary hearing committee, Khimlal Devkota, said that even if anyone is going to be appointed SC ad hoc judge, he should face parliamentary hearing.
“He or she should face the hearing because he will decide over the property, life and liberty of the people. Besides, ad hoc judges also draw salary from the state treasury,” Devkota added.
The much-awaited verdict on the corruption case against Governor Bijaya Nath Bhattarai did not come even on Friday as judges remained divided over the authenticity of a document.
Majority of sitting judges at the Special Court, where the case is being considered, then ordered Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank, to furnish proof of the authenticity of the letter from KPMG Sri Lanka, a consulting firm. A three-member bench has been taking up the case.
The tribunal has given a seven-day deadline for the central bank to furnish proof, while ordering its administration to present the case before the bench on December 29.
The verdict has already been deferred twice by the tribunal.
Judges Komal Nath Sharma and Cholendra SJB Rana questioned the letter from KPMG, Sri Lanka and issued an order for verification. Though Chairman of the tribunal Bhoop Dhoj Adhikari said there was no need to verify the authenticity of the document, the opinion of Sharma and Rana prevailed.
Lawyers said though it was quite common for judges to be divided while passing a verdict, it was very uncommon for judges to be divided while passing an order.
Bhattarai, along with central bank officer Surendraman Pradhan, are facing a corruption charge filed by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), the constitutional anti-graft body.
CIAA has accused Bhattarai and Pradhan of causing a loss amounting Rs 24.5 million to the public by not claiming compensations after terminating a consulting agreement unilaterally.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
A high-level security committee headed by Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi has decided to enforce a new security plan at the Supreme Court premises from January 15.
The plan aims at beefing up security measures to check the uncontrolled entry of what court
officials call "crowds", according to Hemanta Rawal, co-spokesperson of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court was forced to come up with the security plan as insecurity increased for judges and lawyers in recent days, especially on account of crowds gathered together by parties to litigation.
"Only the people concerned will be allowed to enter the Supreme Court premises and court
chambers beginning January 15. We are arranging separate entry passes for lawyers, government pleaders, court clients and journalists," Rawal said.
The committee held its meeting at the Supreme Court on Tuesday. High-ranking police officials were also invited to the meeting to seek their input.
The three-member committee formed recently has Justices Anup Raj Sharma and Khil Raj Regmi as the other two members.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
In its recommendation, the ICJ has called the government not to provide immunity to any army personnel from prosecution when he or she causes death or loss while discharging their duty. The ICJ has called the government to repeal a provision in the Act that has given immunity to army personnel.
It also recommended to transfer offences of homicide and rape by army personnel, currently being dealt with by court martials, to civilian courts and to respect the internationally accepted principles while dealing with such cases.
“We have submitted the memorandum to the PM and the Speaker and they assured that they will do the needful in this regard,” a lawyer with the ICJ, Hari Phuyal, told this daily. Nicolas Hawan, the General Secretary of the ICJ, has signed the memorandum.The ICJ also called the government for urgent promulgation of domestic legislation to criminalise cases of torture and enforced disappearances in compliance with international law and standards.
“The Act should be amended to make clear that all offences that involve, either expressly or implicitly, serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law should in all circumstances be heard by ordinary civilian courts,” it said.
The ICJ states that Section 70 of the Act should be amended so as not to prevent court proceedings against any member of the Nepal Army who has already been “subjected to departmental action”. “Otherwise it may shield the person from criminal responsibility,” it added. It also recommended that the Act should require the army to cooperate with the Nepal Police, and prosecuting and judicial authorities.
The ICJ also sought amendment to Section 67 of the Act to ensure that all judges in court martials have necessary qualifications, skill, experience and security of tenure to discharge judicial functions.
“Section 81 (2) of the Act should be amended to ensure its conformity with Article 14 (3) (d) of the ICCPR and Principle 18 of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons Under any Form of Detention or Imprisonment while ensuring their rights to seek legal assistant of a counsel in a criminal offence,” it sated.
It also recommended amendment to Section 119 of the Act to ensure that everyone convicted of a criminal offence and penalised by a court martial has the right to appeal to an ordinary civilian court.
Monday, December 10, 2007
The Special Court today deferred the verdict on the case of suspended Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) governor Bijay Nath Bhattarai.
A bench of Special Court chairman Dhup Dhoj Adhikari and members Komal Nath Sharma and Cholendra SJB Rana postponed the verdict until December 15.
The court was to announce its verdict on this high profile corruption case today.
Bhattarai and another senior NRB official, Surendra Man Pradhan, have been accused of embezzling Rs 195.319 million that Nepal had received in foreign aid for financial sector reforms.
The Commission for Investigation for Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed cases against Bhattarai and co-accused Pradhan in January this year.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
JC refuses to name judges it cleared
The Judicial Council (JC) headed by Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri refused to disclose the names of the 85 judges who recently got its clean chit himalayan times reports .Responding to a THT letter , the JC stated that the complaints against 85 district and appellate court judges were baseless and it had decided not to proceed further on those complaints.“The job of the preliminary investigation is a secret matter in general,” the letter signed by JC’s joint secretary and spokesperson Nahakul Subedi stated.Clause three of the Right to Information Act, 2007, has made every authority responsible to make public information except what may pose a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the state, may pose a threat to rule of law and security situation, may threaten harmony between different tribes and community and may infringe on anyone’s privacy.“It is not the compulsion to make public the details of investigation on any judges as per Chapter 7 of the Judicial Council (Procedure) Regulation 1999,” the JC said in its letter to THT. “Since Article 27 has given the option to any authority not to make public the documents as per law, the JC is not compelled to disclose the names and grounds of giving clean chit to judges,” the letter stated.Commenting the JC’s stance, UML’s lawmaker Raghuji Panta told this daily that the JC should make public the names of the judges. “Since they got clean chit, it is the duty of the JC to make the judges names public as per Clause 3 of the RIA,” Panta said.
Forgery case against Rajendra Mahato
A leader of Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandidevi), Ram Sagar Mandal, filed a case of forgery at the Saptari district court against Rajendra Mahato, the leader of the disgruntled faction of the Nepal Sadbhavana Party.Saying that Mahato forged his signature to prove his presence at a general convention of the disgruntled faction in July, Mandal also named former acting president of the Saptari chapter of the NSP-A Sushil Jha as an accused. In his petition to the court, Mandal also claimed that by forging his signature and falsely showing his presence at a convention, which passed a resolution against NSP leader Anandidevi, Mahato and Jha had violated clause 1 and 3 of the Civil Code.NSP-A central disciplinary committee member Amarnath Mandal told that NSP-A leader Dinesh Sah had also filed a case of forgery against Mahato on the same ground.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Parliament approves bills
The Parliament unanimously approved the Nepal Trust Bill - 2007 for discussion in the parliamentary committee today.Minister of state oflaw, justice and parliamentary affairs, Indra Bahadur Gurung, on behalf of the government, tabled the Bill today at the parliament to seek its approval for discussion at the parliamentary committee, which will then send back the Bill to the Parliament for endorsement.The government had on November 16 promulgated the Nepal Trust Ordinance-2007 as per Article 88 of the Interim Constitution 2007 with an aim to “run, manage and utilise” the property of late king Birendra, queen Aishwarya and other members of their family.The parliament also unanimously approved the “Arms and Ammunition (second amendment) Bill -2007” for discussion at the panel to promulgate a law to ensure peace, law and order in the country.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the way for Ameco, the Beijing-based company, to overhaul two Boeing 757 engines belonging to state-run Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC).
The overhaul work became possible for the company after the court today vacated its own interim order of November 13 staying the repairs.
"The interim order has been vacated," Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi said without giving any reason. "The full written decision will come out tomorrow (Thursday). "
The issue had landed in court after the NAC deal with Ameco for repair of the engines came in for questioning and criticism. Amidst deeping controversy, the apex court had stayed the deal on November 13, and this prompted the Chinese company to seek US$ 11 million in compensation.
In the context of Ameco's claim for compensation, NAC had moved the court with a fresh application, seeking nullification of the interim order. Today's court decision was in response to the application.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
The finance ministry has approved the proposal of the Supreme Court (SC) to have a new post of registrar-general that is equal in power to equivalent posts in the executive and legislature.Besides this, the ministry has also approved adding 172 more posts, including four joint-registrars, 35 deputy registrars and others, Hemanta Rawal, deputy registrar of the Supreme Court, said on tuesday.“Two pillars of the state — the executive and legislature — have chief secretary and general secretary as the highest posts respectively. To create a position at the same level in the judiciary, another pillar of the state, the Supreme Court had proposed having the post of registrar-general,” Rawal said.He said that the Supreme Court received the letter about the approval from the ministry yesterday. According to him, the finance ministry has now forwarded the file to the ministry of general administration.The Supreme Court had proposed to the finance ministry to have the posts last year under the five-year strategy plan of the Supreme Court.“After the ministry of general administration gives the final approval to the proposal, it will help make the justice delivery system prompt and more effective,” Rawal added.
A meeting of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Committee (LJPAC) in the interim parliament on Tuesday requested the concerned authority to produce detailed information about the remuneration and perks scale of judges working at different levels of courts.
Before starting the clause-wise discussion over a Bill to amend Nepal Act related to remuneration and perks of judges working at different levels, the Committee reached the decision so that it would be easy to amend the Bill by adjusting it in accordance with the regulation related to the travel and daily allowance of ministers, lawmakers and other civil servants.
On August 20, during the budget session, the government had registered the Bill in parliament that proposed to provide Rs 31,800 and Rs 25,800 for Chief Justice (CJ) and justices of Supreme Court as monthly salary respectively, a hike of over 50 percent in the existing salary. Earlier, the CJ and Justices were collecting Rs 21,000 and Rs 17,000 respectively as salary.
Similarly, the draft has offered Rs 12,000 and Rs 9,000 per month to the CJ and justices -- an increase of Rs 6,000 and Rs 5,000 respectively -- for accommodation for those who don't have their own houses in Kathmandu valley.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Those transferred for their involvement in trying to influence the court proceedings as per the request of a petitioner included non-gazetted officials from the Supreme Court, the Appellate Court Patan and the Kathmandu District Court, Narayan Bhattarai to Khotang, Rajendra Wagle to Mustang, Ram Singh Dhami to Solukhumbu and Tulsi Ram Paudel to Pyuthan districts. The SC has decided to transfer 186 officials including those involved in the corruption scandal, it is learnt.
“The officials were transferred as per the recommendation of a judges’ panel and the others have got their transfer orders as per the regular process,” SC assistant Spokesperson Hemanta Rawal . According to him, the judges’ panel comprised of SC justices Top Bahadur Magar, Damodar Prasad Sharma and Ram Kumar Prasad Shah.
Monday, December 03, 2007
The parliament endorsed a proposal to hike the salary of judges working in all three tiers of courts, but the Supreme Court officials said they are not happy with the proposed hike. They said the hike is less than what they had proposed.The proposal on Some Acts Amendment Bill Relating to Judges’ Remuneration, Condition of Service and Facilities was sent to the parliamentary Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for a clause-wise discussion.The bill, tabled by Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bikram Nembang, has proposed salary hikes for Chief Justice and judges of all three tiers of courts.The government proposed Rs 31,800 as monthly salary of the CJ along with allowances, and Rs 25,800 as monthly salary of Supreme Court justices and allowances, but Supreme Court officials feel the proposed hike is not enough.If the proposal is passed, an appellate court chief judge will get 24,300 and judges will get 22,800 as monthly salary.
District court judges will get 18,800 as monthly salary. The judges will get housing allowance, petrol allowance, telephone and electricity allowance, and newspaper allowance. During official visits, they will get daily allowances.However, Supreme Court officials feel that the proposed increment is different from the Supreme Court’s suggestion that was forwarded to the government before July. “Our recommendation was a bit different from the government’s proposal,” spokesperson for the SC Til Prasad Shrestha told . The SC had forwarded its suggestion before the increase in the salary of civil servants.“The bill does not even uphold the spirit of the constitution that bars deduction in facilities enjoyed by judges,” he added. According to him, the bill violated the constitution while fixing new housing allowance.The judges have been enjoying half-month salary as housing allowance. The new proposal has proposed giving judges less than a half-month’s salary as housing allowance. “The proposed salary is comparatively higher than that of civil servants, but the state should provide enough salary to the judges so they will be committed to their duty,” president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Prakash Raut, said. “The justices should be empowered by every means to make sure their judgement is not affected.”"The bill does not even uphold the spirit of the constitution that bars deduction in facilities enjoyed by judges."
Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Kedarnath Upadhyaya on Sunday blamed "a major political party" for continued violation of human rights in the country. Upadhyaya, however, did not name the party.
Speaking at a program with representatives of political parties, organized by the commission, Chairperson Upadhyaya said, "The cadres of a major political party have continued violating human rights across the country."
He said people had hoped there would be peace and incidents of rights violations would stop after Maoists joined the peace process. "But there has been no improvement in the human rights condition," he said, adding, "The existence of the state is not felt in many parts of the country; especially in the east and mid-eastern regions."
He said the culture of impunity has grown. "Free press, educational institutions, business entrepreneurs and individuals have been terrorized across the country," he said.
While stating that absence of security has further deteriorated the human rights situation, he said the morale of security personnel has completely
eroded. "All political parties need to boost the morale of security personnel to protect human rights across the country," he said.
Gauri Pradhan, a commissioner, said NHRC would soon introduce its three-year strategic plan, based on the Comprehensive Peace Accord and the Interim Constitution.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has initiated an investigation into the deal between Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) and the Beijing-based Ameco company.
The constitutional anti-graft body initiated the probe after the deal involving overhaul of two Boeing 757 engines came in for public questioning.
CIAA secretary Bhagawati Prasad Kafle, in a written reply to the Supreme Court on Friday, said an investigation into the Rs 400 million deal is under way.
The matter has now landed in the Supreme Court, which is holding a hearing on it Monday.
Friday, November 30, 2007
SC directs NAC, tourism ministry for comments
The Supreme Court directed the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture (MoCTCA) and a petitioner to attend in its hearing on Monday.A division bench of Justices Bala Ram KC and Ram Kumar Prasad Shah issued the order directing advocate Nanda Prasad Adhikary, who had filed a case of public interest litigation (PIL), and NAC and MoTCAC to attend its hearing on Monday over the demand of vacating the SC’s stay order it had issued issued on November 14. The bench told the both parties that they couldn’t request to extend time for the case.The bench was acting on a demand of the NAC management that sought the vacation of the SC’s stay order to stop its process of overhauling Boeing 757 by a Chinese company, Ameco, Beijing. Justices Anup Raj Sharma and Sharada Prasad Pundit had issued the stay order on November 14, citing that the invocation of the special authority of Managing Director of the NAC, Gautam Das Shrestha, could not justify the urgency to decide on repairing the Boeing. The NAC MD had invoked the authority without calling tender form the eligible companies to repair the Boeing.Seeking the apex court’s intervention on the issue, Adhikary had filed the PIL, which charged Shrestha of violating Clause 66 of Public Procurement Act 2063.
It appeared very strange for people observing hearings at the district court on Thursday. The district court judge was in the center flanked by two lay judges. They heard a case and gave a verdict in a case of rape against a minor. Thus started a juvenile court for the first time in the district.
Along with judge Nabaraj Upadhaya, psychologist Mina Koirala and social activist Aruna Kafle presided over the court for cases involving minors.
"Such hearings will be effective in giving justice to the people," said Upadhaya. The juvenile court has been formed as per existing legislation concerning children.
The court has a judge, two child psychologists and two social activists for the purpose. However, only three of them including the judge will hear a given case. They will make inquiries with the children not in the court but in a private room.
The child psychologists and social activists, who were selected for the juvenile court, have been given training for six and three months respectively in legal procedures.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Lawyers on Wednesday called the Judicial Council (JC) to make public its recent decision that gave clean chit to 85 district and appellate court judges, following an inquiry into the complaints against them."The JC must make public the names of the judges who got the clean chit," vice-president of the Nepal Bar Association Hari Prasad Uprety said. "It cannot ignore its public accountability and its decisions can't be above the public's right to information."On last Thursday, the JC had decided to give clean chit to 85 judges and decided to investigate into the complaints against 22 more district and appellate court judges."The people have the right to know and comment on JC's decision under the Right to Information Act 2007," Uprety said, adding, "It will not only boost the morale of the judges who got the clean chit but also improve the image of the judiciary as a whole."Advocate Lav Mainali said the JC has no privilege to hide information once the inquiry is finished. "Since the Right to Information Act 2007 has already come into force, the JC cannot ignore it," he added. "I don't see any harm in making the names of the judges public. It will help only boost the judiciary's morale and to discourage people from filing unsubstantiated complaints against the judges," he added.Chairman of the Constitutional Lawyers' Forum Kumar Regmi said: "The JC works under the interim constitution and the Judicial Council Act, 1990, which do not sanction any privilege to it to hide its decisions.""The decisions of the JC on judges are matters of public importance and public should have access to these decisions," Regmi said, adding, hiding the information will only tarnish the judiciary's image and slide people's confidence on judges.
Encroachment is going unabated in the jungles along the Basanta corridor in Kailali, thanksto poor implementation of law and order and support from some political quarters, said a forest official . This corridor links Bardiya Wildlife Reserve with Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve.In the past six months, 3,000 households have occupied land in 30 places in the Basanta area alone, Man Bahadur Swar, district forest officer of Kailali, told.“Out of 47,000 hectares of jungle area here, at least 2,100 hectares have been encroached upon recently. If the encroachment goes on at this rate, there will be no forest at all in Kailali district in 10 years,” he said. The Kailali DFO recently carried out a survey in the area.With 2.08 lakh hectares of jungle, Kailali is one of the most densely-forested districts. In 2001, the government and local communities removed the encroachers, who had occupied some 5,000 hectares of land.The district can collect revenue equivalent to Rs one billion per year if the encroachment is brought to a halt, according to Swar.He said the jungle always suffers due to unstable political situation because neither the governments nor the leaders give priority to conservation.“Some organisations and some political parties are supporting the landless people and the freed Kamaiyas. The intention could be praiseworthy, but it is inviting fake squatters to destroy the jungles,” he said.Santosh Nepal, field coordinator of the Tarai Arc Landscape Programme, said: “The encroachment in the area is so rampant that the whole patch of jungle is now ‘decorated’ with plastic sheets donated by NGOs”. “Why they were given land may not be our concern. But why were they given forest land? This is going to create problems,” he said.
Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court seeking revision of an interim order relating to overhaul of two jet engines by a Chinese company.
In the application, the national flag carrier apprised the court of the compensation sought by Beijing-based Ameco following the November 13 interim order that prevented the company from overhauling two jet engines of NAC Boeing 757 aircraft.
In a recent letter to NAC, the company sought US$ 11 million in compensation and threatened litigation in the wake of the interim order.
The China-based company was awarded the bid to overhaul the engines of the troubled airline but the Supreme Court stopped the bid through its interim order.
Earlier this week, the Public Accounts Committee of parliament also ordered NAC to find a solution to the problem created by the interim order.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
-The Judicial Council headed by Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri last week gave clean chit to 85 district and appellate court judges against whom there were complaints of misusing of authority and indulging in irregularities while deciding cases. Nothing unexceptionable, this, on the face of it.Making public its decision today, JC member Motikaji Sthapit, the representative of the PM at the JC, said the JC is not compelled to make public on what basis it gave clean chit to those judges. Neither was he ready to make public the names of the judges who were found ‘clean’.“The names of the judges must be made public. Otherwise, it will be a violation of the Right to Information Act 2007,” President of Supreme Court Bar Association, Prakash Raut, told this daily.“We have decided to drop the cases as there were no grounds to initiate further process against the judges,” Sthapit added.Most of the complaints were pending in the JC for the past seven years.However, the Judicial Council has decided to probe charges against 22 appellate and district court judges. Sthapit dismissed demands from journalists to make public the names of the judges under the Right to Information Act, 2007.
JC member Motikaji Sthapit said the JC is thinking whether or not to make permanent three ad hoc SC judges. “The JC will decide on the issue soon.” Three ad hoc judges — Pawan Kumar Ojha, Rajendra Prasad Koirala and Tahir Ali Ansari — will complete their tenure by mid-December. Ojha was appointed a SC judge by king Gyanendra. He was the A-G and was promoted after defending the RCCC that had arrested a number of democratic leaders, including former PM Sher Bahadur Deuba. It was disbanded after the SC ruled it was unconstitutional. Defending the king’s move, Ojha had claimed that a Hindu King would always be above the constitution.
Ananta Raj Luitel @ himalyatimes
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
A judge at the Kathmandu District Court, Narayan Prasad Dahal, administered the oath of office to around 200 notaries public at the Office of the Attorney-General (A-G) on Monday. A-G Yagya Murti Banjade was also present on the occasion. Judge Dahal will administer the oath of office to other notaries public at the Attorney-General’s Office on Tuesday as well. — HNS
Former chief justice and chairman of the committee that drafted the 1990 Constitution, Former chief justice and chairman of the committee that drafted the 1990 Constitution, Biswonath Upadhyaya has accused the seven parties of betrayal.
Referring to the postponement of the Constituent Assembly (CA) election, Upadhyaya said this was the result of betrayal by the seven parties.
Speaking at a programme organised to discuss the role of civil society in the current context, he said that pressure from civil society was also not adequate.
Another former apex court judge and chairman of the committee that prepared the initial draft of interim constitution 2007, Laxman Prasad Aryal, urged the actors of civil society to come up with common voice to pressure the seven parties into holding the election.
The programme was organised by Human Rights Organisation of Nepal.
Amidst growing insecurity in courts across the country in recent days, the judiciary has proposed to the government that it have its own security, including marshals, so that it can arrange its security itself.
According to a proposal submitted to the Finance Ministry recently by the Supreme Court for approval, the judiciary plans to have 639 security personnel. The security strength will comprise of 265 court marshals and 374 general security personnel.
If approved, this will be the first time the judiciary is going to have its own security in its history. At present, the government is providing security only to the Supreme Court and the 16 appellate courts while there is no security arrangement for 75 district courts.
The judiciary has floated the security plan to the government at a time when insecurity among judges, lawyers and courts has become a matter of concern. The plan is being considered in the Finance Ministry.
Til Prasad Shrestha, spokesperson of the Supreme Court, said Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat "agreed to the plan in principle" at a recent meeting with Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri, judges and high-ranking officials of the apex court.
According to Shrestha, the court marshals, first of their kind in Nepal's judiciary, though they are common in judiciaries in other countries, will be responsible for internal security and maintenance of decorum during court sessions. Similarly, general security personnel will provide outer security ring to the courts.
The state coffers will have to bear an estimated 56.14 million rupees for the proposed security plan of the judiciary.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court administration also wants to set up an electronic gate at its entrance, Shrestha said.
Judicial administration to be revamped
In the meantime, the judiciary has also proposed a revamp of its bureaucracy in a bid to usher reform in the institution. The bureaucracy will be made top-heavy instead of the present-bottom heavy so that it will be effective in dispensing prompt justice to people.
According to the plan, altogether 570 junior posts will be scrapped while 206 officer-level posts will be added.
With the new posts proposed in civil and security service in the judiciary, the judiciary's human resources will be 5,272 against the present strength of 4,423.
The plan proposes to create a new post of registrar general to lead the judicial bureaucracy, while one more post of registrar will be added. At present the registrar is the head of judicial bureaucracy.
"The judiciary in many countries has the post of registrar general. Besides, the post is needed due to growing work load. The executive has chief secretary while the legislature has secretary general. So the judiciary needs a registrar general so as to be at par with the executive and the legislature," Shrestha told the Post.
The plan further proposed creation of five new posts of joint registrars, 38 deputy registrars and 90 section officers so as to make the judicial bureaucracy officer-oriented. The cost of to-be-added in terms of human resources is estimated to be Rs 18.88 million rupees.
"We are holding discussions with officials at the Finance Ministry regarding the financial aspects of our plan," said Shrestha.
Commercial bench with 12 judges to be set up
In a separate proposal to the government, the Supreme Court has asked the government to create 12 new posts of judge to set up commercial benches at six different appellate courts. The government has already decided to establish commercial benches but the decision is yet to materialize. Such benches will specialize in cases relating to trade and commerce.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Kathmandu District Court (KDC) on Friday held a murder case hearing in a rather unusual way - amidst tight security.
The court's Chief Judge Narayan Prasad Dahal said a security cordon was inevitable as a mob on Thursday had threatened two defense lawyers leading to deferral of the case till Friday. The mob wanted the lawyers not to plead on behalf of the accused.
The incident is just the tip of the iceberg. In recent days, lawyers as well as judges have been facing threats from mobs and sometimes from Maoist cadres and its affiliate organizations, which put at risk the people's right to independent justice and to be defended in a court of law, legal experts say.
"Mobs come into the court almost daily," says Chief Judge Dahal. "Mob activities are growing."
The Friday’s incident at the district court follows a threat issued by a Maoist trade union to advocates Jyoti Baniya and Ram Krishna Simkhada on November 15. The trade union even staged demonstration against lawyers and a lawsuit they had filed at the Supreme Court (SC).
According to Nepal Bar Association (NBA), at least 15 lawyers received threats in the course of discharging their professional duties during last six months alone.
One case of threat involves a high-profile abduction and murder case relating to minor Bibek Luintel.
A group of people who wanted one of the accused "punished", surrounded the houses of advocates Tika Ram Bhattarai and Lava Mainali for being the defense lawyers of the accused. Bhattarai's house was surrounded twice. Then the lawyers gave up the case.
The growing threats against advocates have resulted in the accused not being able to defend themselves in a court of law. For instance, Sakhina Manandhar, an accused in Bibek's murder, could not find a lawyer to defend her application (for bail) in the SC last Monday after her previous lawyers - Bhattarai and Mainali - quit the case. The SC decided on the application even though no lawyer represented Manandhar. She is still in custody.
"According to the principle of criminal justice, a case should not be decided in the absence of lawyers of an accused. Her right to be defended was not respected by the court. The court should not have decided the case," Bhattarai said.
In the meantime, Judge Dahal remembers that he had to hide lawyers on one or two occasions in his chamber to protect them from possible attacks from mobs.
Judges too face threats
In a recent instance, a group threatened Supreme Court Justice Ram Kumar Prasad Shrestha during a hearing. Justice Shrestha put off the hearing of a murder case recently.
"Hearings of at least three cases have been deferred recently due to mobs," says Hemanta Rawal, co-spokesperson of the Supreme Court. "The mobs try to influence judges."
Similarly, KDC Judge Dahal said that his colleague Shiva Naryan Yadav has already been escorted twice to his home from the court to avoid possible attack by mobs.
Judges say that pressure-tactic activities of mobs at the court premises or in the hearing chambers of the court affect their decisions. "We get mentally distracted. We cannot take normal decision," Supreme Court Justice Anup Raj Sharma says. "We generally defer the case to another day."
Many people throng the courts on the day of hearing to "influence". The parties believe that presenting a crowd at the courts on the day of hearing will influence judges to decide in their favor. SC Justice Sharma said the growing threat against lawyers and judges have been taken seriously by the Supreme Court. "The Security Committee of the Supreme Court met on Friday and discussed the issue. We are holding a meeting with Nepal Bar Association as well in this regard."
BY KIRAN CHAPAGAIN @ kathmandu post
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Any violence against women is crime: UN
The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Violence Against Women, Yakin Ertürk, and the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Councilon Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Manfred Nowak today said that many countries fail to recognise some forms of violence against women as crimes.They said this on the occasion of International Day Against Violence Against Womenwhich falls tomorrow.Saying that cultural or religious paradigms are still invoked to condone female genital mutilation, the execution and murder of women, marital rape and other forms of violence, they called for application of international instruments and development of strategies to condemn and punish torture.They have pointed an increased and explicit recognition of some forms of violence against women in international and national courts as amounting to torture and ill-treatment, the best known examples being rape by private or public actors in conflict or in custodial settings.Other forms of violence against women, such as physical orsexual violence in an intimate relationship or female genital mutilation, if committed with the acquiescence of the State, may qualify as torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as well.
A senior judge of the Supreme Court (SC) has said that the interim constitution has failed to build independent and effective judiciary.
Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, SC judge, suggested that the new constitution that would be written should correct such issues.
"Independent and effective judiciary and rule of law is imperative for the success of democracy. I think the interim constitution has failed in this regard," he said, speaking at a workshop on 'State Restructuring and Judicial Rights' held in Lalitpur, Saturday.
Rayamajhi said that provisions in the interim constitution such as authorising the government to deploy chief justice and judges; chief justice having to present annual reports to the Prime Minister; parliamentary hearing on judges' appointment; and inclusion of government official in judicial council as being against the norms of independent judiciary.
Meanwhile, at the same programme, another SC judge Anup Raj Sharma said that despite 'a big political change,' the working style and thinking of the courts could not change.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri on Friday said it was necessary to extend the jurisdiction of the Administrative Court in order to lessen the workload of the Supreme Court.
"If the Administrative Court is given authority to deal with cases related to transfer and promotion of employees of both government offices and state-owned corporations, it will greatly lessen the workload of the Supreme Court," Giri said.
Inaugurating a two-day program on "State, Structure and Judicial Authority", organized by the Administrative Court, Giri said he hoped that executive and legislative branches of the government would take steps to enact necessary laws for the extension of the court's jurisdiction.
The Supreme Court judges, high ranking bureaucrats, security officials, lawyers, civil society leaders, journalists and politicians are taking part in the program that aims to suggest ways to address the existing problems at the judiciary, according Kashi Raj Dahal, chairman of the court.
Speaking on the occasion, State Minister for Labor and Transportation, Ramesh Lekhak, said democracy cannot function without an independent judiciary. "For the success of democracy, an independent, strong and impartial judiciary is necessary," Lekhak said.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Threatened lawyers refuse to defend murder accused
A group of lawyers refused to defend the accused in the Devi Panta murder case under the jurisdiction of the Kathmandu District Court (KDC) after a group of people threatened them.Ram Sharan Panta, Hari Sharan Panta, Dipak Panta, Len Kumari Panta, Rudra Panta, Ram Krishna Panta and Japanese national Tomoko Yamana Hirotaka are the accused in the murder case himalayatimes reports.Chanting slogans, the people organised a protest outside the premises of the Kathmandu District Court and warned the lawyers not to defend the murder accused.A group of advocates, including Hari Krishna Karki, Sabita Baral and Khagendra Adhikari, were present before the bench to defend the accused.However, the advocates bacracked after the agitating people threatened them.The prosecutors accused Ram Sharan of killing his wife, Devi, on November 12 and others of the family of hatching conspiracies against her after he married Japanese national Hirotaka.They filed a chargesheet against the accused for the alleged killing of Devi, the first wife of Ram Sharan Panta, of Ichanguarayan village development committee-9, Kathmandu.As the prosecution lawyers — Surendra Thapa and Yam Baniya — presented their arguments, the defence lawyers told judge Sushma Lata Mathema, who was hearing the case, that they cannot defend their clients in such a situation and sought protection.“How can we defend the accused when people have been threatening us with dire consequences if we defended our clients?” advocate Karki told after the hearing.“We call on the judge to take up the issue seriously and talk to the Supreme Court and the government to ensure protection for the lawyers,” the advocate added.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Four alleged murderers, against whom police was preparing to file case, walked free Wednesday after office of the District Attorney here did not file a case at the court ekantipur reports.
According to police, the four alleged-- Shushila Shrestha, Dipak Kumar Poudel, Saroj Nepal and Binod Neupane-- of Bharatupur Municipality-11, had reportedly murdered one Padam Kumari Shrestha of Tanahu district nearly two months ago. They had already confessed to police that they had collaborated in the murder of Padam Kumari and thrown the body in the river.
"However, as we have to follow the legal process, we were compelled to release the alleged culprits," said Police Inspector Prakash Malla.
The main accused-- Sarashwoti Timalsena of the same place-- is however, still at large. Timalsena, along with the four had attempted abortion on Padam Kumari. But after the victim lost her life, they chose to dump the body in the river and maintained a tight lip over the incident.
District Attorney Purna Prasad Bastola maintained that police had asked time for "additional investigation".
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Civil Service Commission (CSC) not to proceed with any fresh recruitment into government service until the provision on automatic promotions is implemented.
The Supreme Court order follows the CSC's recent announcement of new vacancies in the government bureaucracy. The order issued by Justices Bal Ram KC and Pawan Kumar Ojha affects thousands of aspiring candidates and also the CSC's annual calendar.
Staying the recent vacancy announcements by the CSC, the Supreme Court cited the Civil Service Act 2007 and said that automatic promotions in the civil service should precede any fresh recruitment.
The provision on automatic promotion says that no vacancy will be called until eligible government employees are promoted. The provision was controversial even before the Civil Service Act was passed last July.
Today's court order was in response to a writ petition filed by a number of civil servants moving the courts to stop the CSC from making any new appointments in the civil service.
The CSC has not been able to recruit for the civil service since the last two years due to delay in enactment of the Civil Service Act. It began the appointment process after parliament passed the Act in July.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
SC order on holiday plea
Responding to a writ petition, which was filed seeking the declaration of major Muslim festivals as public holidays and the formation of a Muslim Promotion Commission, the Supreme Court issued show cause notices to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet, Speaker Subas Nembang and the Home Ministry.The bench has given the authorities 15 days to respond to the demand of the writ petitioner.A single bench of justice Gauri Dhakal issued the order. An advocate, Nur Mohammad, had filed the writ yesterday seeking an order to the government to respect rights of the Muslim community.
Newly appointed commissioners at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) are scrambling to settle a backlog of some 8,700 cases.
Considering the growing number of cases and their nature, the commissioners are busy arranging them according to priority.
"We need to first arrange the cases according to similarity of nature and priority so that they can be resolved quickly," said Gauri Pradhan, one of the commissioners.
Another commissioner, who requested to remain unnamed, said they feel they are in a quagmire and are trying to figure out where to start. "We feel that NHRC has a stash of problems, ranging from administrative to legal," he said.
NHRC has settled 1,350 cases and issued recommendations on 149 since it was established in 2000. However, the rate of implementation of the recommendations is quite dismal.
The government has acted upon only 53 of the total number of recommendations made by the Commission.
Among the body of cases, the Commission is now concentrating its attention on those concerning exhumation of the bodies of those killed during the decade-long armed conflict.
The Commission has received complaints concerning the exhumation of seven bodies - two by the Maoists and five by security forces.
Yagya Raj Adhikari, coordinator of the Protection Division at the Commission, said, "We are now collecting similar cases from our regional offices across the country. Once we have all the complaints concerning exhumation of the dead, we will go into action."
He, however, refused to give details of such exhumation-related cases for security reasons and said the Commission is looking for exhumation experts. "The European Union has assured us it will provide exhumation experts. And the process of receiving this assistance will see movement soon," he said.
Commission to introduce new strategic plan
Commissioner Pradhan said the Commission is planning to introduce a new strategic plan for the next two years. "Since the previous strategy plan comes to an end in 2008, we are now working to introduce a strategy plan for 2008 to 2010," he said.
He said the new strategic plan will include Commission activities on socio-economic issues. "We will aggressively introduce policies to address the issues of Dalits, indigenous people, women and other deprived communities with a focus on inclusiveness," he said.
Another ambitious plan the NHRC wants to unfold is on collaboration with all the commissions, such as the Dalit Commission and the Women's Commission among others.
Lack of new law another obstacle
Commissioner Pradhan said the Interim Constitution-2007 has included NHRC as a constitutional body. However, it is still functioning under the 1997 Human Rights Act. "We need a separate law now that the Commission has become a constitutional body," he said.
He also said NHRC has already formulated a draft bill and forwarded it to the government for endorsement through the winter session of the Interim Parliament.
BY GHANASHYAM OJHA @ kathmandupost
Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri on Monday sought the help of lawyers for improving the country's justice system.
"We know that the justice system is expensive and slow, so why is there no action to address it," the Chief Justice asked, " Bar and bench should work together in this regard."
Speaking at a program organized by Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) to honor him, Giri further asked lawyers for their help to make the justice system speedy and inexpensive.
"The Bar has an important role to play for independence of the judiciary," he said, "I will hold discussion with the Bar while appointing judges and awarding senior advocate titles to lawyers."
On the occasion, former Nepal Bar Association
(NBA) President Shambhu Thapa urged the newly-appointed Chief Justice to act boldly. "I also asked you to settle the charges against you," Thapa said.
Expressing his concern over what he called breach of constitution by seven parties in their activities, SCBA President Prakash Raut cautioned the Chief Justice that cases relating to violations may come to the court. "You (the Chief Justice) will be tested at that time. You should play an unprecedented role then," Raut said.
Similarly, NBA General Secretary Ram Kumar Shrestha expressed NBA's concern over growing security threat to lawyers in recent days. "There is no situation for lawyers to carry out their profession fearlessly. Lawyers have been threatened at their homes in recent days," Shrestha said.
Monday, November 19, 2007
SC order on Bibek case
The Supreme Court upheld an order of the Kathmandu District Court (KDC) to detain an accused in the Bibek Luitel murder case, Sakhina Manandhar alias Sabina, to proceed the casefurther.A division bench of justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Pawan Kumar Ojha issued an order to this effect following a hearing. Fearing reprisals from cadres of the Young Communist League, not a single lawyer defended Sabina in the court.All the accused, including Sakhina, have been kept in jail awaiting a court decision. The KDC had jailed them to proceed the Bibek murder case under Section 118 of the Court Management Chapter of the Civil Code, 1963.The KDC had remanded judicial custody to other accused in the case, Bhikhari Khan, Okil Ansari, Pappu Mandal and Pateni Palten Lama.
The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has begun looking into a case against the Nepal Wildlife Development Company Pvt Ltd.“We are looking into the case,” said Bishwaraj Dhakal, an under-secretary at the CIAA. However, he refused to reveal the details, citing sensitivity of the case. “We have begun collecting information.”Demanding that the company return their land, people of ward number 3 and 8 of Lapsiphedi VDC had moved the CIAA against the company on June 11. The same day, THT had run a story about illegal operation of the company and its owner Belize national Kent Bruce Crane.The company was registered at the Company Registrar’s Office and the Department of Industry with the objective of promoting “eco-tourism and hospitality business through the establishment of a golf course and a luxury resort in 1993”.However, the company did not go into operation. “We want our land back. The company should honour the agreement it had struck with the villagers if it wants to begin operation,” said Krishna Bahadur Gurung, a local.He claimed that the company had not even informed the locals while leasing their land. The VDC also did not seek opinion from the land-owners before issuing permission to the company to use the land. A pact was struck between the company and the villagers after the latter protested. The company had agreed to provide Rs 15,000 annually to a village committee comprising the affected land-owners.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has said that in the last one year, it attained a high degree of success in its cases filed at courts of law.
The chief commissioner of the top anti-graft body, Lalit Bahadur Limbu, said, "We have attained over 80 percent of success."
Limbu made the disclosure after submitting the annual report (2063/64 or 2006/07) of the CIAA to the Prime Minister on Friday.
The CIAA chief urged the government to help it adopt modern technologies in corruption investigations and has also requested for enlargement of its role.
After receiving the report, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala assured to implement its suggestions.
The report compiles the year-long activities and decisions of the CIAA.
In the last year, the CIAA had filed 115 cases of corruption. The report adds that during the period, the CIAA recovered Rs 40.7 million imposed as fines against corruption-convicted persons and has deposited the same as government revenue.
The report adds that the commission received 3564 complaints during the period, of which it initiated investigations in 2976 cases.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Can’t fix poll date, says SC
The Supreme Court said that the court cannot direct the government to hold the elections to the Constituent Assembly (CA) Citing that the provision is maintained under the responsibility and accountability of the state, a single bench of Justice Kalyan Shrestha issued the order.“Holding the elections on a specific date is more a moral question rather than legal one and the state is accountable on it,”the bench said, upholding the decision of the Registrar of the Supreme Court who had refused to register a petition by M S Thapa, chairman of Samabesi Morcha.“The court cannot intervene in such issues because it is not a justiciable issue.”
The Supreme Court on Thursday settled the long-standing controversy surrounding the 10 percent service charge being levied in hotels, deciding to allow hotels to collect the charge.
The court brought the controversy to an end by quashing a public interest litigation questioning the charge on the ground of consumers' rights. Consumer rights activist and advocate Jyoti Baniya had filed the petition.
Justices Tap Bahadur Magar and Pawan Kumar Ojha, while quashing the petition said, "The levying of service charge does not violate consumers' right."
In the meantime, hotel workers affiliated to Maoist trade union staged a protest rally against the lawsuit and advocate Baniya. They also vandalized Baniya's and and another advocate Ram Chandra Simkhada's offices for the lawsuit, according to Baniya and Simkhada.
Nepal Bar Association (NBA) has expressed concern over the Maoist trade union's activities against the advocates. "NBA warns of protests if professional lawyers are threatened while carrying out their profession in future," NBA President Bishwa Kanth Mainali said while condemning the trade union.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
SC stays NAC’s Boeing repair deal
The Supreme Court issued a stay order to Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) to stop the process of repairing and overhauling its Boeing 757 by a Chinese company, Ameco, Beijing.A division bench of justices Anup Raj Sharma and Sharada Prasad Pundit issued the order, saying that the decision taken by NAC Managing Director and approved later by the NAC board of directors cannot be justified.Invoking the prerogative of the MD under Clause 66 of the Public Procurement Act 2063, MD Gautam Das Shrestha had decided to award the repair and overhaul work to the Chinese company.“Since the decision could not justify the invocation of the prerogative powers of the Managing Director, the process should be put on hold,” the bench said. Given the seriousness of the case, the bench, however, has put the case on priority list for final hearing.Seeking apex court’s intervention to scrap the Rs 40 crore deal between NAC and the Ameco, advocate Nanda Prasad Adhikary had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the SC.The petitioner also sought an SC order to the CIAA to investigate into the controversial decision. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, MD Shrestha, the NAC, the CIAA and the Chinese company are the defendants in the petition.The advocate said the NAC decision violated the Financial Administration Regulation and other financial laws related to procurement. He claimed that the NAC violated the norms and prevented many competent companies from bidding for the repair and overhaul of the Boeing.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Lawyers with notary nod can now attest public documents
Attorney-General Yagya Murti Banjade said that the authority to authenticate and attest public documents has been given to lawyers having licences of notary public.“The authority was shifted to lawyers yesterday,” Banjade, who is the ex-officio chairman of the Notary Public Council Nepal (NPCN), told journalists. “Now the government officials will not exercise the authority to authenticate and attest any public document,” he added.Before this, gazetted officials used to exercise the authority. The concept of notary public was introduced in the country after the promulgation of the Notary Public Act 2007. A lawyer with the licence of notary public will authenticate public documents like personal licences, passports, citizenship certificates and court documents and also translate them.Yesterday, the NPCN issued licences to over 200 lawyers. The Kathmandu District Court Judge Narayan Prasad Dahal administered the oath of office to them. Other lawyers will get the licences within a few weeks, as 854 lawyers are found to be eligible to exercise the power. A lawyer having seven years of work experience can exercise the authority of notary public.According to the NPCN, 1695 lawyers had submitted forms seeking licences, but 1,377 were found to be eligible to exercise the authority.
Friday, November 09, 2007
SC to monitor military court
Supreme Court Justice Anup Raj Sharma said today that the apex court judges would regularly observe and monitor the military court like other public courts. “As the military court has come under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court we will regularly observe and monitor it,” Justice Sharma told .Yesterday, all the apex court judges participated in a dinner hosted by the Nepal Army in honour of Kedar Prasad Giri, who was appointed Chief Justice of the country.“We accepted their invite since the military court is now under SC,” Sharma added.Justice Sharma recently visited the lower courts in Kathmandu valley — Patan Appellate Court, the Special Court, the Administrative Court and the Kathmandu Revenue Tribunal — to observe lower courts’ decisions, an exercise carried out annually.Brig Gen BA Kumar Sharma, who is the Chief of the Legal Division of Nepal Army, added that the army would welcome the apex court judges for the monitoring the military court.“They will observe and direct us about the military court decisions,” he said, adding: “Now even a common man can watch the military court proceedings.”
The European Union has urged the Nepal government to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as early as possible.
Representatives of the EU in Nepal met with foreign secretary Gyan Chandra Acharya on Thursday as part of encouraging the government to ratify the Rome Statute.
“EU fully supports the ICC which was established in 2002 to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The EU is committed to working with international partners to prevent such crimes and putting an end to impunity,” a statement issued by the British Embassy, which holds the EU presidency, said.
“The EU urges the Government to now make final arrangements to accede to the Rome Statute as soon as possible,” Paul Bute, Chargé d’Affairs of the British Embassy, speaking on behalf of the EU, said.
The EU has welcomed the unanimous vote of Nepal's Parliament to urge the government to accede to the International Criminal Court.
The National Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC), the joint forum 106 human rights groups in Nepal, had earlier called on the government to accede to this founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
105 countries have already joined the ICC, which is the first permanent international court capable of trying individuals accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
Currently, only seven Asian countries - Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, Japan, Timor-Leste, and Tajikistan- are state parties to the ICC. In contrast, the majority of states in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean have joined the ICC.
The amendment, set to come into effect this week has also authorized the Police Chief to transfer police officials up to the rank of Superintendent of Police, a move that Home Ministry officials claim will help make the concerned district unit chiefs accountable and ensure effective law and order in the country.
Earlier, the police chief could transfer officials up to the level of Inspector while the Home Ministry could reshuffle senior level police officers.
As per the amendment, all police constables and followers will be recruited through open competition, while only 50 percent vacancies of Assistant Sub Inspectors (ASI) and Police Inspectors will be filled through this process.
The amended police regulation has made provision for 32 percent reservation for indigenous nationalities, 28 percent for Madhesis and 20 percent for women candidates in recruitment through open competition. Likewise, it has ensured 15 percent reservation for Dalits and 5 percent for those hailing from backward regions.
The backward regions, as stated in the amended regulation, include Accham, Kalikot, Jajarkot, Jumla, Dolpa, Bajhang, Bajura, Mugu and Humla districts.
The changes come in line with agreements reached between the government and various agitating groups including Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) and Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF) in the recent past.
In terms of accountability and efficiency in the police force, the amended provision allowing the Police Chief to transfer up to Superintendent Level police officers is the most important.
Officials at the Home Ministry said the provision was brought in as per demand made by Police Headquarters. "This will help realize the concept of right man in the right place," claimed an official.
Senior police officials at Nepal Police Headquarters said there was a trend among district in-charges not to cooperate fully in times of need due to the existing provision. The newly introduced provision will enable the police chief to call back such officials and depute someone else to maintain effective law and order, said officials.
Currently, Superintendent of Police (SP) level officers act as chief of various 28 tarai districts including Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Kaski while Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) level officers head the remaining districts in the country.
As per the regulation, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) is authorized to transfer police officials up to inspector level in his region. With the implementation of this amendment, the government can now transfer only 80 senior officials in the total 53,557 police force. This includes 55 Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), 19 Deputy Inspector Generals (DIGs), and 6 Additional Inspector Generals (AIGs).