Sunday, September 30, 2007

EC Extends Nomination Deadline

Election commission today extended the deadline for filing the nomination for both the proportional representation system and first-past-the-pole system of constituent assembly elections.A meeting of the election commission took a decision to extend the deadline for submitting the closed list of candidates for PR system by five days and filing of nomination of candidates for first-past-the-pole system by three days.Earlier today, seven parties and the government had separately written to the EC to reschedule the nomination deadline by five days.As per the EC’s previous schedule, the parties had to submit their nominations for the proportional representation system today and for the first-past-the-pole system on October 5.The parties had yesterday agreed to ask EC to postpone the deadline filing of nominations by five days.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rayamajhi Commission accused can contest CA polls: SC
Giving its final verdict on the controversial Constituent Assembly (CA) Member Election Act-2007, the Supreme Court Thursday ruled that the individuals implicated by the Rayamajhi Commission report can contest the CA elections slated for November 22.
The Act prevents individuals, who are accused by the Rayamajhi Commission of human rights abuse and misuse of state coffers during the king's direct rule from February 2005 to April 2006, from joining the electoral fray.
The controversy landed in court after a dozen individuals found culpable by the Commission moved the apex court, questioning the constitutionality of the legal provision.
However, the division bench of five justices was divided on the verdict.
Majority of the bench comprising justices Balram KC, Top Bahadur Magar and Kalyan Shrestha ruled that those accused by the Rayamajhi Commission be allowed to take part in the elections.
They stated that the provision of the CA member election law contradicted the Interim Constitution.
But, justices Anup Raj Sharma and Damodar Sharma had argued that the law should be upheld since it was all about "legislative wisdom."
On August 27, the ministers and administrators of the erstwhile King-led government had registered a case at the apex court demanding the scrapping of the provision of the Act that bars them from contesting the elections.
In the case filed at the SC, former ministers, administrators and political appointees who served during the royal government had claimed that Clause 19 (G) of the Act was against the Interim Constitution-2007.
Ex-royal ministers Kamal Thapa, Tanka Dhakal, Durga Shrestha, Roshan Karki, Bbuwan Pathak, Durga Shrestha, and former regional administrator Ganesh Sherchan are among the former royal officials who had moved the apex court seeking annulment of the Clause 19 (G) of the Act and a permission to participate in the election process and the CA election.
Speakers of the Interim Legislature-Parliament Subash Nemwang and the Election Commission were been made defendants in the case.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rights situation abysmal: NHRC

A member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said that the international community does not regard human rights situation in Nepal as good. Inaugurating a two-day Wider Human rights Exhibition in Nepalgunj, Dr KB Rokaya said, “It is the primary duty of the NHRC to improve the human rights situation in Nepal.”Though Nepalgunj is a sensitive place on religious and communal grounds, religious and communal harmony has been maintained due to restraints exercised by clerics, political parties, human right activists and journalists, Rokaya said. He said the NHRC will launch an investigation into complaints lodged in the NHRC on cases of disappearance.Right activists CP Singh and Sushil Lakhe, Muslim woman worker Sajida Siddiki also expressed views.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Serious rights violations in riot affected areas: NBA

Nepal Bar Association (NBA) Sunday stated that the human rights were seriously violated during the riots in Kapilvastu and Rupandehi districts.
The NBA has sent a team headed by its Vice-chairman Mukunda Sharma Poudel to the riot affected area to investigate the losses.
Stating that the NBA was saddened by the incidence, it has urged the government to provide relief to the victims, treatment to the injured and action against those involved in the violent incidents.
Holding a meeting Friday, the NBA had also decided to hold a nationwide rally on October 4 to push for the Constituent Assembly elections and to protest deteriorating security situation in the country.
On the same day, the NBA also plans to submit a memorandum to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and the Chief District Officers or other the head of the local bodies across the country.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Judicial panel to probe Kapilvastu violence
Responding to the unprecedented mayhem in Kapilvastu district, an emergency meeting of the cabinet on Thursday formed a judicial commission to carry out a probe, announced immediate relief and appealed to people to maintain communal harmony.
The meeting also condemned the violence, while appealing for calm and restraint.
According to Minister for Health Giriraj Mani Pokharel, appellate court judge Lokendra Mallik has been named as head of the three-member probe commission. Other members of the commission are Joint Attorney General Pushpa Raj Koirala and Deputy Inspector General Niraj Pun. The commission has been mandated to investigate the mayhem and prepare a report within one month.
SC moved against NAC vacancy advertisement

Advocate Sanumaiya Maharjan filed a petition at the Supreme Court against the Nepal Airlines Corporation’s (NAC) bid to appoint 'underqualified persons' as airlines maintenance engineers.
In the petition filed against Nepal Civil Aviation Authority, the NAC chairman Madhav Prasad Ghimire and General Manager Gautam Das Shrestha, the NAC board of directors and the Vacancies Fulfilment Committee, advocate Maharjan has claimed that the NAC is preparing to appoint underqualified persons, thereby putting lives of air passengers at risk and that the vacancy call should be quashed.
“The NAC vacancy advertisement published on August 31 to appoint nine A and C engineers and seven Avionics Engineer to work for aircraft maintenance has mentioned that anyone with qualification of BE or equivalent in Aeronautical/Mechanical engineering and of BE or equivalent in Aeronautical (Avionics)/Electrical/Electronics/Communication are eligible to apply for the posts respectively; but this is against the NAC rule itself, which requires that anyone applying for the posts requiring to work for aircraft maintenance should be qualified as Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME),” the petitioner has said.
Maintenance of aircraft by underqualified persons poses risk to passengers, she has said, adding that NAC is preparing to appoint aircraft maintenance engineers who do not meet the qualification as required by the NAC Regulation of Employees and the Civil Aviation Act 2053 BS and Regulation 2058 BS.
“Only qualified AMEs should be appointed to the posts and not BEs in Aeronautical Avoinics because the NAC authorities are going to post the new appointees to support aircraft maintenance,” the petition stated. “This is violation of the national law and international standards,” the petitioner added.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Constitutional crisis looming: Experts

The constitution would not be completely defunct because they will remain in the interim parliament. If they resign from the parliament, it will definitely be defunct— Daman Nath Dhungana

With the Maoists walking out of the government , constitutional experts hinted that it might invite constitutional crisis.According to them, though the Maoists’ decision to walk out of the government would not affect the process of the government immediately, it will raise serious questions on the political process.Former speaker and senior advocate Daman Nath Dhungana said the Maoists’ decision has forced the peace process and the interim constitution into a “vulnerable condition”. “The new political development has raised questions on the formation of the government,” Dhungana told .He, however, said there are further negotiation phases and it would be wrong to draw a conclusion about the entire peace process based on their decision to resign from the government. “The constitution would not be completely defunct because they will remain in the interim parliament.” “If they resign even from the parliament, it would definitely be defunct,” he added.Articles 38 and 45 of the Interim Constitution state that the government and the parliament would form and function as per the consensus between the seven parties and the Maoists.President of the Nepal Bar Association Bishwokanta Mainali said any political party could join and leave the government and that may not raise questions on the legitimacy of the government. “It may affect the peace process, but it does not raise any question on the legitimacy of the government and the parliament,” he added.“Certainly, this will make the government politically and constitutionally weak,” Mainali said, adding: “Basically, this is not a constitutional document but a political one. Such a situation may invite civil war,” he added.Purnaman Shakya, a constitutional expert, said the Maoists’ decision might invite derailment of the Interim Constitution though it does not affect the existing government. “But it may invite crisis for the entire peace process,” he said.

SC makes public verdict on Maina’s case

The Supreme Court made public the two-year-old Military Court’s verdict on the Maina Sunuwar case. The move came as per the decision by the SC’s division bench comprising justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Ram Prasad Shrestha to make public the Military Court’s verdict which was sealed as a secret document.The court, referring to a provision of the Right to Information Act 2007 for the first time, established that the people have right to access to such a document and there was no need to keep secret the text of the verdict.The bench also directed the government to investigate into the rationality of Maina’s mother Devi Sunuwar’s demand to prosecute Maina’s case in the civil court and submit a report in three months. Responding to a writ petition filed by Devi Sunuwar, the court said the SC Registrar’s order to keep secret the document was illegal.The Military Court chaired by Major General Kiran Sumsher Thapa had convicted three army officials — Colonel Babi Khatri, Lt Cols Sunil Prasad Adhikary and Amit Pun — of negligence during Maina Sunuwar’s interrogation after her arrest. Sunuwar was arrested on February 17, 2004 from her house at Kharelthok, Kavre, and was taken to an army barrack at Panchkhal. “Maina was not killed while being transported from the place of her arrest to the army barrack. She died due to her physical and mental situation during the questioning after being arrested,” the Military Court verdict stated.Maina died at the ground in front of the Panchkhal barrack on February 17 in the afternoon due to sheer negligence shown by the army personnel regarding her health. “The army officials concentrated only on recording her statement,” the verdict said, adding the cause of Maina’s death could not be determined because a post-mortem was not performed. “Maina died due to her poor health. She started vomiting after taking a meal and the army officials did not do anything to help her get well”.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

EC to enforce code of conduct from Sept 18
The Election Commission has decided to enforce the CA Member Election Code of Conduct from September 18 in a phase-wise manner.
In a statement issued Saturday, the EC said that the code would come into effect for government, semi-government and local bodies on Sept 18. Political parties and candidates would have to comply with it, effective from September 30 and October 5, respectively following the registration of candidacy for proportional electoral system and first-past-the-post, it added.
For the media, the code would become operational from October 11 when the EC distributes election symbols to candidates contesting for first-past-the-post.
Later, speaking at an interaction program on CA election and information dissemination organized by South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA), Nepal, on Saturday, Chief Election Commissioner Bhojraj Pokharel urged all political parties, their candidates, government and media to cooperate with the EC by internalizing the letter and spirit of the code of conduct to make the CA poll free, fair and credible.
In order to create a conducive environment by ensuring security situation, Pokharel urged the government and concerned authority to take immediate initiatives to resolve surfacing disputes and improve security situation across the country.
Underlining the need of credible reporting for credible election, he said, "Media should play proactive role to create election-friendly environment by carrying out impartial and factual reporting."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

SC order on rule governing medical education

The Supreme Court issued an order to government authorities to appear in court on September 21 for a hearing on whether or not to issue a stay order on a petition on the selection of students for medical sciences education.A single bench of justice Tahir Ali Ansari issued the order to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet, Ministry of Health and Population, Ministry of Education and Sports, Medical Education Department of the Tribhuvan University and the Nepal Medical Council.The bench also issued notices to the authorities, directing them to clarify why they refused to enrol Ram Binaya Shah in a medical education course.Shah, 34, of Tarapatti village development committee in Dhanusha district, had challenged the enrolment system that bars persons aged above 25 years from pursuing medical education.According to Shah, though he has passed proficiency level (health lab) exams, the TribhuvanUniversity refused his application to enrol for the MBBS BDS programme because he has crossed the age of 25.This rule has barred hundreds of students from pursuing medical education, the petitioner claimed.

Friday, September 14, 2007

SC order to TU rector

KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court has issued an order, directing TU rector Prof Surya Lal Amatya and registrar Bhim Raj Adhikari not to perform their duties. Justice Pawan Kumar Ojha issued the order. — RSS
CC officials in confusion over next meet

Officials at the Constitutional Council (CC) are in a confusion over what should be done with the divided report of the parliament on the nomination of Justice Kedar Prasad Giri as next Chief Justice.
The dilemma emerged as there is no Constitutional Council Act and working procedure of the CC, as to what should be done when parliamentary hearing committee remains divided on the nominee for Chief Justice, an official at the CC said.
The officials are debating over two options at present. The first being that the report of the parliamentary committee should be sent to the prime minister - head of the CC - for decision and there is no need to call another meeting of the CC. The second argument is that a fresh meeting of the CC should be called to discuss the report of the parliamentary committee and let the CC nominate a new justice from among those eligible.
The appointment of the chief justice is in limbo after the Parliamentary Special Hearing Committee failed to endorse the name of Giri unanimously.
In the meantime, a senior member of the CC suggested that the CC meeting should be held to discuss the report of the parliamentary committee.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Parliamentary committee endorses NHRC nominations

The parliamentary special hearing committee has unanimously endorsed the names of the chairman and members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The meeting of the parliamentary committee Wednesday morning completed the hearing on the NHRC nominations at its office in parliament secretariat.
The endorsed names will now be sent to the Prime Minister who appoints them.
Former chief justice Kedar Nath Upadhyaya has been proposed to head the NHRC while K.B Rokaya, Ram Nagina Singh, Lila Pathak and Gauri Pradhan have been proposed as members.
NHRC remained without top officials for more than one and half year after the then members resigned en masse under the pressure from the reinstated House of Representatives.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hearings on proposed NHRC office bearers underway
A discussion on the complaints filed against the names of the people recommended to the posts of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) office bearers is underway at the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee on Wednesday.
The hearing started at 9 this morning.
The hearing on the proposed NHRC Commissioner Kedar Nath Upadhaya and members Ram Nagina Singh and Dr KB Roykaya is continuing, said the Special Committee.
The meeting of Sunday’s Parliamentary Hearing Committee had formed two separate panels to launch investigation into the complaints against the people recommended for the posts of NHRC office bearers and the envoys.
There are no complaints filed against other recommended names of persons for the NHRC except members Rokaya and Singh.
Likewise, the Parliamentary Hearing Committee has also summoned persons proposed for ambassadors for hearing today afternoon.
Earlier, panels formed for hearing the complaints filed against the names of persons proposed for the posts of NHRC office bearers and the envoys had submitted their reports to the commitee on Tuesday.
On August 30, the Constitutional Council (CC) had recommended Upadhaya as the NHRC chairman, former apex court justice Singh and rights activists Gauri Pradahan, Lila Pathak and Dr Rokaya to the post of the members.
The government had also forwarded the names of 22 persons for the diplomatic appointment to the parliamentary special hearing committee for its approval.
Over one hundred complaints have been lodged against Shailaja Acharya, a Nepali Congress leader, proposed for the post of Nepali ambassador to India among those recommended for the envoys.
Cyber Law to Come into Force, Finally

The Electronic Transaction Act is finally coming into effect three years after its endorsement, as the Ministry of Environment Science and Technology (MoEST) is all set to appoint the Controller of the Certification Authority (CCA), who is responsible to carry on its operation.The Act was not implemented due to the absence of the controller. The Act was drafted six years ago and was endorsed as an ordinance in September 2004. After its endorsement, Deepak Rauniyar was appointed the controller, but before he could start his work, his appointment was cancelled following the success of Jana Andolan II.The MoEST has ultimately advertised and has received applications for the post after lots of homework. "We will soon have the controller, who will implement the ETA in Nepal for the first time," said Purusottam Ghimire, spokesperson of the MoEST. After the appointment, Nepal will formally have e-transactions and cyber law.The controller has the key responsibility of dispatching electronic records, issuing licences to certifying authorities of digital signature to maintain confidentiality of electronic transaction.Supervision and monitoring of the activities of the certifying authorities, to fix the standards to be maintained by certifying authorities in respect to the verification of digital signature also fall under the controller's responsibility. The controller has to fix the standards to be maintained by certifying authorities in respect to the verification of digital signatures to maintain confidentiality, integrity and authenticity in the electronic world.It not just helps making transactions simpler, easier, swifter and cost effective, but also serves as the authority to check cyber crime. It has the provision of digital signature and autonomous Cyber Courts to check cyber crime and systems of penalising cyber criminals.The electronic transaction is the use of computerised electronic system in any kind of transaction that will increase work efficiency, productivity in any kind of transaction between the service provider and the sever taker.The House of Representatives approved the ETA on December 4, 2006. The Act is divided into 12 sections and 80 clauses with detailed information on role and rights of controller, certification authority, customers, government and all the stakeholders concerned.
Panel split over new CJ
The Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee (PHSC) Tuesday failed to agree on the next Chief Justice (CJ) recommended by the Constitutional Council with the committee members expressing divided opinion whether or not they should give a final go ahead to Kedar Prasad Giri to head the Judiciary.
The PHSC should come to a unanimous decision whether to accept any proposal or not. The Legislature Parliament Regulations, however, do not bar a person from being appointed to any constitutional body including ambassadorial appointments despite the divided opinion among the PHSC members. The procedures are such that the recommendation is sent back to the Council, which will have a final say whether or not to approve the initial recommendation, according to the Legislature Parliament Regulations.
The PHSC meeting held today decided to forward the report and information received on the recommendation for a new CJ to the Constitutional Council, as the Committee could not unanimously agree on Giri's name.
As per the provision, the Committee has decided to send the proceedings, actions and complaints filed by the public and other reports on the nomination of Giri to the Constitutional Council, parliamentarian Amod Prasad Upadhyaya, who chaired the meeting said.
It is the first time in Nepalese history the parliamentary committee conducted a hearing on the complaints against the person recommended for the coveted post of CJ. He is second in rank after Prime Minister as per the provision of the Interim Constitution.
Parliamentarians Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, Tek Bahadur Chokhyal, Dr. Minendra Rijal, and Gopal Man Shrestha supported Giri's appointment while parliamentarians Lilamani Pokhrel, Pashupati Chaulagai, Dilaram Acharya, Khimlal Devkota, Astalaxmi Shakya and Janardan Sharma opposed Giri's recommendation. Parliamentarian Nawaraj Subedi had expressed a written dissent against the recommendation.
Talking to the press, Amod Prasad Upadhyaya said that the agreement and disagreement on the name was personal rather than of their respective parties. A total of 16 complaints were filed against Giri on behalf of the public, when the committee had called for the filing of complaints through different media.
The PHSC has been discussing on the complaints filed against Giri for the last 10 days while a nine-member committee headed by parliamentarian Dilendra Prasad Badu had submitted a report after studying on the complaints filed against Giri on Sunday.
Presenting himself before the PHSC at 12:15 noon acting CJ Giri greeted the parliamentarians without maintaining eye contact and listened to the questions raised by the parliamentarians.
Upadhyaya from the chair permitted the parliamentarians to put forward their queries to Giri who has been recommended to lead the independent judiciary.
Giri furnished his replies to the queries raised at the end of the questioning by the parliamentarians. He claimed that the complaints filed against him were baseless and said that he was committed to the interim constitution formulated as per the spirit of people's movement. "I came here honoring the rules and sovereignty of the parliament. We have already taken oath of office and secrecy before the parliament, " he said in his reply.
Giri said the bench he headed had 'boldly' decided to dissolve the Royal Commission for Control of Corruption (RCCC) formed by the erstwhile royal regime and claimed that the Court has not ordered to remove Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills from the list of bank defaulters. The media had reported wrongly regarding the issue, he said. "I had overstayed in America for 15 days, as I could not return home after getting feelers that there were disgruntled groups who were targeting me over my verdict to dissolve the RCCC."
He said that the rules and regulations related to judiciary should be amended as per the aspiration of Loktantrik system. "Nowadays, I have stopped scanning through the media contents as they were more inclined to torture somebody instead of following the principle of healthy journalism."
Meanwhile, the PHSC has decided to conduct hearing on the complaints filed against persons who were recommended by the Constitutional Council to represent different diplomatic missions last Wednesday.
By Liladhar Upadhyaya @ gorkhapatra

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

SC verdict on election law on Sept 24
The Supreme Court on Monday said it would decide on the status of the legal provision that bars the accused named by Rayamajhi Commission from contesting the Constituent Election, on September 24.
Taking up a writ petition against the legal provision, the Supreme Court, however, refused to issue an interim order as sought by the petitioners - a dozen former royal ministers and administrators, including Kamal Thapa. They have questioned the constitutionality of the provision in the Election to Members of the Constituent Assembly Act.
After a day-long hearing on the petition, a special bench comprising Justices Ram Prasad Shrestha, Bal Ram KC and Tap Bahadur Magar also ruled that the case not be deferred on September 24. The bench also ordered Parliament Secretariat, the Election Commission and the Speaker to furnish their written replies regarding the provision.

Monday, September 10, 2007

House panel to grill Giri tomorrow

The Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee (PHSC) decided that ‘clarification’ from Officiating Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri would be recorded on Tuesday to decide whether or not to accept him for the post of Chief Justice.The PHSC took the decision following a “serious discussion” at a meeting today after a report was submitted by the sub-committee headed by MP Dilendra Prasad Badu. The sub-committee, which was formed to study on the complaints against Giri, has recommended that some of the complaints, among a total of 16 complaints, are “serious in nature.”Though Giri had informed that he was ready to attend before the PHSC at any time today, the MPs decided to call him on Tuesday at 11 am because they would take some hours to discuss the issue.During today’s discussions, MPs were seriously divided on the charges against Giri with MPs of UML, Maoists and Jana Morcha claiming that Giri cannot hold the CJ’s post and MPs of the Nepali Congress (NC) and the NC (D) dismissing their claim. MPs of both Congresses said the complaints against Giri were baseless and it would be inappropriate to be indecisive on the issue.Stating that Giri has no ‘good track’ record nor enough capacity to hold the post, leftist MPs, including Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, Janardan Sharma, Khimlal Devkota, Lilamani Pokhrel and Nava Raj Subedi, today said Giri cannot hold the post.“The decision of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) on Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills and his decision in the FM radio case during the royal regime were regrettable; thus, we should not accept the Constitutional Council’s recommendation to appoint him as Chief Justice,” said Nava Raj Subedi. Jana Morcha Nepal’s MP Pokhrel said that the PHSC cannot bypass the PAC’s recommendation to impeach him.Both congress’s MPs Chakra Prasad Banstola, Dr Minendra Rijal and Dr Ram Baran Yadav said it would not be good to stop Giri from being appointed CJ as he has long experience in the judiciary.Maoist MP Janardan Sharma said the PHSC is not compelled to accept every decision passed by the Constitutional Council because that would be against the spirit of Jana Andolan-II.
Charges against Giri:• Giri did not protect the rights of FM radios to air news during the royal regime• Giri was loyal to the royal regime• The PAC had recommended Giri’s impeachment in the Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills case• Giri had transferred public land in individuals’ names• He was involved in irregularities while deciding on cases• He favoured civic election held by the royal regime• He had worked against Nepal’s diplomatic relations with the US as he had issued a stay order against the US embassy while he was Chief judge of Patan Appellate Court

Sunday, September 09, 2007

House probe panel meet on CJ-designate ends inconclusively
A meeting of the parliamentary panel formed to probe complaints filed against Chief Justice-designate Kedar Prasad Giri has ended inconclusively Sunday morning.
The nine-member panel was formed after more than a dozen complaints were registered at the parliamentary hearing committee against Giri.
At this juncture, Nepal has no Chief Justice. The last Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel retired from his post on Friday after servicing for about two and a half years.
On August 30, a meeting of the Constitutional Council chaired by the Prime Minister had recommended Supreme Court Justice Giri to succeed Poudel.
Though the panel formed by the parliamentary Special Hearing Committee to probe complaints filed against Giri was expected to arrive at a decision on Friday itself, it could not do so after the lawmakers remained divided over his name. The meeting was then adjourned.
Most individuals have raised serious moral questions against Giri, saying he had failed to maintain professional ethics in his long judicial career.
Some of them have also reminded the parliamentarians about a controversial verdict related to financial embezzlement in Mahalaxmi Sugar Mill.
Later, as some commercial banks filed complaints against Giri in the parliament, the Public Accounts Committee had also discussed whether the House should impeach Giri.
A meeting of the parliamentary hearing committee is due to take up Giri’s case later today.
At present, there are five Supreme Court Justices eligible for the post of the Chief Justice.They are Kedar Prasad Giri (senior most), Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Anup Raj Sharma, Ram Prasad Shrestha and Khil Raj Regmi.

Friday, September 07, 2007

CJ Poudel retires, his successor still uncertain

Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel retired from his post on Friday. Poudel serviced as the chief justice for about two and a half years.
The justices and employees of the Supreme Court bid farewell to Poudel amidst a function held at the court.
However, media persons were not allowed to cover the event. Journalists were allowed in such functions in the past.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary hearing committee is yet to take a final decision on the name of Poudel’s successor, Kedar Prasad Giri.
On August 30, a meeting of the constitutional council chaired by the Prime Minister had recommended Supreme Court Justice Giri to succeed Poudel.
Though a panel formed by the parliamentary Special Hearing Committee to probe complaints filed against Giri was expected to arrive at a decision today, it could not do so after the lawmakers remained divided over his name.
The nine-member panel was formed after more than a dozen complaints were registered at the parliamentary hearing committee against the Chief Justice-designate Giri.
Most individuals have raised serious moral questions against Giri, saying he had failed to maintain professional ethics in his long judicial career.
Some of them have also reminded the parliamentarians about a controversial verdict related to financial embezzlement in Mahalaxmi Sugar Mill.
Later, as some commercial banks filed complaints against Giri in the parliament, the Public Accounts Committee had also discussed whether the House should impeach Giri.
The meeting of the probe panel has been adjourned till Sunday morning while the parliamentary hearing committee is meeting in the afternoon.
At present, there are five Supreme Court Justices eligible for the post of the Chief Justice.
They are Kedar Prasad Giri (senior most), Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Anup Raj Sharma, Ram Prasad Shrestha and Khil Raj Regmi.
Giri may be made the acting CJ
Saying that the complaints filed against Chief Justice-designate Kedar Prasad Giri are serious, the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee (PHSC) put off a hearing on the Constitutional Council’s recommendation to appoint him Chief Justice.
“Since the complaints we have received are of a serious nature, we have put off the hearing,” Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, a member of the PHSC and CPN-UML Chief Whip told .
The committee has decided to first study the case “seriously” and then decide whether to accept the Prime Minister-headed Council’s recommendation.
According to Pandey, the committee has set up a nine-member sub-committee under MP Dilendra Prasad Badu to probe the complaints. “The committee is expected to submit its report in tomorrow’s meeting,” Pandey said. The committee has received around 16 complaints against Giri. The complainants have urged the PHSC not to accept the recommendation.
According to another member of the PHSC, Giri has been accused of being involved in irregularities and, as such, not capable of taking up the top judiciary post.
The complainants claimed Giri was against the freedom of the press, as he failed to uphold the same during the royal regime. Yet another member of the committee said if no decision is taken soon, Giri may be made the acting CJ after incumbent CJ Dilip Kumar Paudel retires friday.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

SC limits govt power to withdraw cases

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court restricted the power of the government to withdraw criminal cases pending in various courts.The court directed the government not to withdraw criminal cases that have been decided by trial courts and whose appeals are pending in higher courts. A division bench of Justices Bala Ram KC and Rajendra Prasad Koirala said the withdrawal of such cases would tantamount to misuse of power by the government.The bench was responding to a government request to withdraw a murder case against a group of seven persons including one Biku Mijar, who is currently serving a life term. Mijar was convicted of murder by the Dhanusha District Court, while the Janakpur Appellate Court had upheld the verdict. Mijar’s case reached the SC and the government had filed an appeal in the Appellate Court after the District Court acquitted six others accused in the same case.Following a Cabinet decision on June 21, the government had requested the SC to withdraw the cases against Mijar and the six others. The government has withdrawn around 400 cases against Maoist leaders and cadres, including Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai, by exercising a power under Clause 29 of the Government Case Act 1992 after the Maoists joined the peace process.“Cases in which the accused have been convicted in a trial court and whose appeals are pending in higher courts cannot be withdrawn,” the bench observed.“The government can exercise the power to withdraw cases only to serve a larger public interest. If a student leader or a worker of a factory is arrested and a case filed against him/her and if that development invites unrest, the government can exercise such a power,” the text of the judgment read.
Ananta Raj Luitel @ himalayatimes

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

House panel to call Giri tomorrow

The Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee is all set to call Chief Justice-designate Kedar Prasad Giri to face a hearing on Thursday.“We are all set to call him on Thursday to clarify four allegations we have received against him,” joint secretary of the Parliament Tek Prasad Dhungana told . “On Thursday, MPs will select issues raised by applicants in order to place before Giri and seek his clarification,” he added.Dr Hirakaji Manandhar, Ramananda Singh, and journalist Tanka Panta have filed separate complaints accusing justice Giri of irregularities. They have requested the House panel to bar his appointment to the top post of the Judiciary.Journalist Panta, who is also the vice-president of the Parliamentary Affairs Journalists’ Forum, said the journalists’ body is investigating about Giri.The complaints were based on several civil cases decided by Giri and hisrole to remove Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills from blacklist that caused a loss worth millions of rupees to the state coffers.
Maoist ‘kangaroo courts’ to resume

CPN-Maoist on Tuesday decided to reactivate its 'kangaroo courts' across the country.
A meeting of the Revolutionary People's Council (RPC) took the decision in this regard.
"As the common people have failed to receive justice from the current state mechanism and action has not been taken against the corrupt and criminals, we have decided to reactivate such a mechanism to provide justice to the people," said Dr Baburam Bhattarai, coordinator of the council.
He further said that after such a mechanism is set up, people would start taking action against the corrupt and criminals across the country. "It's not exactly the people's court, but it is a mechanism that provides justice to people," Dr Bhattarai said.
The Maoists had dissolved all Kangaroo courts following intense pressure from national and international bodies in the past.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Two more contenders emerge for post of CJ

At a time when the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee is seeking public opinion on the proposed appointment of a justice as the Chief Justice (CJ), two more Supreme Court judges “claimed” today that they, too, are eligible for the top post.“Judges Sharada Prasad Pundit and Sharada Shrestha are also eligible for the top post,” said a source close to the two judges. According to the source, the two judges are furious with the media for not even mentioning their names as eligible candidates for the post of CJ. “They are also eligible for the post of CJ as they also have worked as the apex court judges for three years,” the source said.“The media have been maintaining that only five judges — Kedar Prasad Giri, Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Anup Raj Sharma, Khil Raj Regmi and Ram Prasad Shrestha — are eligible for the top post. But judges Pundit and Shrestha are also eligible for the post,” the source said. The claim comes at a time when the parliamentary hearing committee has been seeking public opinion on the proposed appointment of Kedar Prasad Giri as the CJ.The Judicial Council (JC) had also sent personal details of the seven judges while urging the Constitutional Council to initiate the process to appoint the CJ. “Yes, we have sent the details of seven justices who are eligible for the top post,” secretary of the JC, Prakash Kumar Dhungana, said.A judge of the Supreme Court said they are also eligible for the top post, but they want newspaper reports to mention them as eligible candidates because they will retire soon.

More Rayamajhi-indicted persons move SC

A group of persons, whom the Rayamajhi Commission had found guilty of abusing authority during the royal regime, moved the Supreme Court seeking its intervention against preventing them from contesting the Constituent Assembly election.Those filing two separate petitions include former ministers Keshar Bahadur Bista and Govinda Chaudhary and former administrators Prem Lal Maharjan and Tikaram Adhikary.The former ministers have challenged Clause 19 (G) of the Constituent Assembly Member Election Act 2007 claiming that the provision, which bars people indicted by the high-level commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi from contesting the election to CA, contradicted with Articles 12 (1)(2)(3) 13 (1)(2) and 24 of the Interim Constitution.Today’s petitions followed after the Supreme Court, in a similar petition filed by others indicted by the Rayamajhi Commission, said it would conduct hearing on September10 on whether or not to issue stay order as demanded by petitioners — former ministers including Kamal Thapa and Tanka Dhakal.

Monday, September 03, 2007

SC moved for rights

A writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court seeking its order to the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet and the Ministry of Education to promulgate an Act to secure the citizens’ right to free education, health, job and social security.Chairman of the All Nepal National Women’s Association (Revolutionary) Amrita Thapa and treasurer Manu Humagain filed the petition. They sought the apex court order to ensure these rights by promulgating an Act.
Giri’s nomination for CJ opposed

A complaint was today filed at the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee opposing Justice Kedar Prasad Giri’s nomination for the post of the country’s Chief Justice.In the complaint, an official of the Nepal Agriculture Research Council, Dr Hirakaji Manandhar, said Giri was incompetent and lacked the capacity to become a Chief Justice.“Such a person cannot hold a dignified post like that of the Chief Justice and, as such, he should not be appointed,” Manandhar’s petition read.Manandhar also claimed that Giri’s appointment would be a “national shame” and full of injustice and demanded that the Parliament impeach him.The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee had recommended that the House impeach Giri and other three judges on charges of illegally removing the Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills from a bank loan defaulters’ black list.A person who had been arrested on the charge of trying to kill Justice Giri last year also opposed the Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala-headed Constitutional Council’s decision to nominate Giri.In a statement, Prabhat Kumar Gupta threatened to commit suicide if Giri was appointed the Chief Justice of the country.Gupta further said that he has begun a fast-unto-death from yesterday in the Dillibazaar jail.