Tuesday, October 23, 2007

OHCHR hails decision to institute quotas in police agencies
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) has welcomed the decision last week of a cabinet meeting to allocate quotas for women and members of marginalised groups - Janajatis/Adivasis, Madheshis, Dalits and people from backward areas – in vacant posts in Nepal Police and Armed Police Force (APF).
“The police forces’ adoption of quotas for filling vacant posts can serve as an example to all civil services of the steps they can take in order to make their recruiting processes inclusive,” a release issued by the OHCHR said.
OHCHR also remained that it had long been urging the police forces – and other government institutions – to take steps to make their workforces more inclusive. In March 2007, the Office had written to the APF asking for a breakdown of its personnel belonging to marginalised groups, following violent incidents that starkly highlighted the lack of inclusiveness in police forces.
"During riots in Nepalgunj in December 2006, the Nepal Police was accused of acting partially. The issue resurfaced again in the January and February 2007 Madheshi Andolan in Terai districts. The recent violence in some Western Terai districts again stresses the need for such inclusive hiring measures."
OHCHR, however, expressed disappointment over the appointments in 28 secretary-level posts last week because only three persons from marginalised groups got chances.
“OHCHR-Nepal suggests that the quotas announced last week be applied across the ranks of the police forces, ensuring representation of women and marginalized groups in the officer ranks. It also urges the NP and APF to take a further step and adopt an inclusive hiring policy for all future recruitment,” the statement read.
“Making provisions to include historically marginalized groups in the police forces and other civil services will signal that the commitment to inclusion made by political leaders is indeed genuine. It will also address some current demands of these groups, thus strengthening the peace process as it moves toward Constituent Assembly elections,” said Richard Bennett, Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal.
Cases filed at SC, NHRC during Dashain

A number of cases have been filed at the Supreme Court (SC) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) during the Dashain. Two habeas corpus writs were lodged at the Supreme Court during the Dashain holidays.
Even hearings were conducted on separate writs seeking release of Pradip Kumar Pakhrin and Pragyan Shumshere Rana.
Pakhrin has been released following an order issued by a single bench of justice Gauri Dhakal.
However, justice Dhakal has quashed the writ seeking release of Rana, who has been arrested on charge of fraud.
Similarly, three complaints were registered at the NHRC during the Dashain holidays. The complaints pertain to weaknesses of the police administration.
The NHRC has also monitored the situation of the inmates who are on a hunger strike at the Dillibazaar central jail.
The inmates are demanding general amnesty.
Both the SC and the NHRC remain open throughout the festival.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

tea party in CJ's residence

Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri has called on judges and court staffers to enhance the image of the judiciary by delivering justice promptly.“We judges and officials have to keep people’s faith towards the judiciary. We must be above any kind of suspicion,” Giri said. The Chief Justice was addressing his colleagues at a tea party organised at his official residence in Baluwatar on Wednesday to exchange Dashain greetings.Giri also urged the public office holders to be more responsible and accountable to the people. “Otherwise, people can question the judiciary as a whole,” Giri added. “I hope we will be able to promote justice and live up to people’s expectations,” he added.The Chief Justice also stressed the need to ensure justice for all. Justices of various courts, ministers and high-ranking judicial officials attended the tea party.

Half of SC verdicts awaiting execution

A Supreme Court (SC) figure shows that over 50 per cent verdicts of the apex court on policy-related issues are waiting execution for the past 10 years.
The SC figure shows that around 150 important directives were issued after the promulgation of the 1990 Constitution, but just a few have been implemented.
Twelve years after the issuance of an order by the apex court, the parliament promulgated the Right to Information Act 2007.
Among others, eight-year-old directives to prevent road construction on the banks of the Bagmati river; and execute Social Behaviour Reform Act 1976 are awaiting implementation.
A figure of the Monitoring Division of the SC states that over 150 directives were issued after 1990; but the execution level is extremely low. It had issued around 100 directives, 30 PIL directives and 27 non-PIL directives in a number of issues related to policy reform. The SC record shows that out of 150 directives issued during the period, 20 were implemented, 25 were not implemented and 26 are in the process of implementation.The fate of other directives are unknown. Ten PIL directives were implemented, three were not implemented, while 17 are in the process of implementation.
Among 27 non-PIL directives, nine were implemented, three have not been implemented, while 14 directives are in the process of implementation.
Three years ago, the apex court had directed the Attorney-General to make procedure to compensate to road victims easy. The government is yet to follow the court order.“We found that several orders were not implemented,” chief of the Monitoring Division of the SC, Shreekanta Baral, told.
Four years ago, the SC had directed the government four year ago to promulgate an Act criminalise sexual harassment after conducting a study. The government is yet to implement the verdict.
Attorney-General Yagya Murti Banjade said it will take time to execute several SC directives because the “government has to draft policies and promulgate relevant Acts.”“In some cases, the court had issued orders to several agencies at the same time, making it difficult to implement these orders.”
Ananta Raj Luitel@ himalayatimes

SC quashes petition

The Supreme Court quashed a habeas corpus petition against the Metropolitan Police Range (MPR), Hanumandhoka, filed demanding the release of Pragyan SJB Rana who has been detained on the charge of cheating people.A single bench of Justice Gauri Dhakal quashed the petition stating that Rana’s detention does not need apex court’s intervention. Demanding the apex court’s order against the MPR, Hanumandhoka, and chief of MPR, Maharajgunj, Bikash Raj Khanal, and District Government Lawyers’ Office, Kathmandu, two petitions were lodged seeking the release of Rana and Pradip Kumar Pakhrin.Rana’s son Pradipta and Pakhrin’s relative Dipak Tamang had lodged the petitions seeking the apex court’s intervention. The duo were held on the charge of cheating people. However, Pakhrin was freed after the petitions were lodged.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

SC orders cops to produce accused

The Supreme Court directed the Metropolitan Police Range Hanumandhoka, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Maharajgunj Bikash Raj Khanal and District Government Lawyers’ Office Kathmandu to produce Pragyan SJB Rana and Pradip Kumar Pakhrin, who have been detained on the charge of cheating, in the court on Wednesday. A single bench of Justice Rajendra Kumar Bhandari issued the order.The bench directed the authorities to produce the two by 12 AM on Wednesday along with written explanations on the need to detain them. The bench issued the order following a hearing today.Seeking the release of the duo, Rana’s son Pradipta and Pakhrin’s relative Dipak Tamang had filed separate writ petitions this morning. The petitioners have accused the police of detaining the two illegally.The police had arrested and produced Rana in the Kathmandu District Court. The court had directed that Rana be subjected to an investigation on cheating and forgery charges. “But the authority to detain him expired on October 5. The police have been detaining him illegally since then,” Rana’s son claimed in the petition.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

SC denies registering writ against poll suspension
The Supreme Court on Wednesday has rejected registering a writ petition brought up by a group called Inclusive Front demanding an order to the government and the Seven Party Alliance against their decision to suspend the Constituent Assembly elections on November 22.
The group led by MS Thapa claimed that decision was against the spirit of the constitutional provisions which stated that the constituent assembly elections would be held within mid-December and that suspension of the polls was against the constitution.
The petitioner further said a clause in the Responsibilities, Directive Principles and Policies of the State of the interim constitution has provision for holding the polls within Mangsir, so the decision to suspend was unconstitutional.
The apex court said the provision is under the principle of state responsibility and it is not a justifiable matter

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

SC scraps order

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a certiorari order and scrapped the decision by the royal regime to shut down the Communication Corner Pvt Ltd two years ago. A division bench of Justices Sharada Shrestha and Bala Ram KC issued the verdict following today’s final hearing. The Communication Corner had moved the SC on 30 May 2005 challenging the then government’s decision to shut down the company’s operation. The apex court had issued a stay order that prevented the Ministry of Information and Communications from shutting the company’s operations.

JC Advised to Sack Appellate Court Judge

A team led by former judge Madhav Ojha to probe the constitutionality of the now-defunct Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC), has recommended the sacking of Appellate Court Judge Shambhu Khadka, who was the secretary of the RCCC.It has also recommended stern action against joint government attorneys Prem Raj Karki and Rajendra Pokhrel and the then Pyuthan CDO Ram Prasad Ghimire, who worked in different capacities in the unconstitutional body."We received the report through Ministry of Home Affairs on Sunday," secretary of the Judicial Council, Prakash Kumar Dhungana said.He said the sealed report would be produced before the JC meeting that would decide what kind of action should be taken against anyone indicted in the report.However, a member of the probe panel, Ram Prasad Gaudel, said the report had recommended the JC to sack judge Shambhu Khadha for failing to perform his duty as per the constitution and existing law by working as secretary of the RCCC, which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court."We concluded that Khadka failed to save the image of a judge by working as an administrative official in an unconstitutional body," Gaudel added.King Gyanendra had directly deployed Khadka to take the post of secretary of the RCCC, but the Judicial Council had barred him from taking the post because his appointement had not come through the JC and was inconsonant with the procedure."The Judicial Council should bar him from continuing to work as a judge because he had already quit his post," Gaudel added.The Ojha commission has recommended departmental action against all those, including 25 police personnel, who worked for the unconstitutional body, as per the Anti-Corruption Act 2002.

Monday, October 08, 2007

CJ to review CIAA jurisdiction

Newly appointed Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri announced that he would review the structure of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority and the Special Court, as questions have been raised about their decisions.Prime Mister Girija Prasad Koirala, as the acting head of state, administered the oath of office to CJ at the state hall in Singhadurbar. In the ceremony, photo journalists were allowed but not the journalists.Giri, meanwhile, has issued seven-point working plan to make justice system effective. Talking to mediapersons in his chamber after taking charge as the CJ, he said he would play a neutral role while providing justice.“I don’t care what happened during the parliamentary hearing where the lawmakers performed their duty as per the Constitution,” Giri said. His appointment as CJ was delayed by 29 days, as the parliamentary hearing special committee was divided on his appointment.When asked whether he would take up politically sensitive cases, as he was perceived as Nepali Congress-backed CJ, he said: “I’ll work impartially, as we judges do not care what happened in the past.” Claiming that he has become the first CJ of Loktantrik Nepal, Giri, however, thanked PM Koirala, Constitutional Council and all those involved in the appointment process.During the September 11 parliamentary hearing, lawmakers of CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist had opposed his appointment.“I am thinking of reviewing the jurisdiction of the CIAA and the Special Court,”Giri said. He said he would adopt panel system to decide cases through special judges. He said cases of national importance would get priority.He added that he would review and evaluate the judiciary’s strategic plan.To make easy access to justice, the Chief Justice would issue and implement citizens’ charter and give priority to mediation and reconciliation while settling disputes. He would also work to remove legal hurdles in procedural acts and see to it that court verdicts were implemented. The CJ added that he would work to amend existing acts to ensure women, Dalits and disabled have easy access to justice.Giri said he would work to make the Judicial Council and Judicial Service Commission more effective and transparent. He added that he would work on setting up juvenile benches and commercial benches and draft codes of different laws.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Giri takes the oath of office as new CJ
The newly appointed Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri took the oath of office Sunday afternoon.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, as head of the Constitutional Council (CC), appointed Giri the Chief Justice of Nepal on Friday. Giri was serving as acting Chief Justice of Nepal.The PM administered the oath of office to Giri at the conference hall of the National Planning Commission this afternoon.
However, the parliamentary Hearings Special Committee was divided over Giri’s name, with the Nepali Congress in favour of Giri’s appointment as CJ and the CPN-UML, CPN-M and other left parties standing against.
The PM took the decision to this effect without calling a meeting of the CC, though confirmation hearings in parliament on September 11 had failed to clear Giri.
The post of Chief Justice was lying vacant since September 8 after the then Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel retired.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Giri appointed new Chief Justice
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala Friday appointed Kedar Prasad Giri as Chief Justice of Nepal.
Giri had been serving as acting Chief Justice till date.
Former Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel had retired on September 7.
The parliamentary Special Hearing Committee is questioning chief Justice-designate Kedar Prasad Giri Tuesday afternoon.
The Constitutional Council last month had recommended Giri’s name for the Chief Justice, however, the panel in the parliamentary hearing committee had not been unanimous on his name.
Following for CJ Poudel’s retirement, the country was without a Chief Justice for the last 28 days and Giri had been serving as the acting CJ.
EC cancels all election programmes
The Election Commission Friday decided to cancel all election programmes after the government asked it to suspend the Constituent Assembly elections slated for November 22.
Although the commission had finished all the necessary preparations to hold the elections on the given date, the decision has been taken as per the government’s request to suspend the entire election process, the EC stated in a press statement today.
The letter to the EC states that the CPN-M has filed a motion to call for a special House session with two major demands – declaration of a republic and fully proportional electoral system – and that it will take time to discuss the issues, thus the government, as per an agreement reached among the seven parties, requests to suspend all the election programmes.
The letter also has apprised the EC that a new date will be finalized through a seven-party agreement.
The EC admitted that the will of the EC alone was not sufficient to hold the elections, and that the EC was forced to cancel all the election programmes due to the government’s decision.
As per article 63(2) of the interim constitution of Nepal, the government had decided to hold the polls on November 22.
"We thank all the political parties, leaders, the media, the general public and international community for extending their support during the commission’s preparation work for the polls," said joint secretary at the EC, Laxman Bhattarai.
The government today faxed a request letter to the EC to cancel all election programmes, including today’s nominations and the November polls.
A meeting of the seven parties held at Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's residence at Baluwatar this morning took the decision.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) Friday said that the party has agreed to suspend the November 22 elections to maintain the seven-party unity and to continue the peace process.
Issuing a press release today, the CPN-M said that the party agreed to suspend the polls unless a decision is taken through the special House session to declare the country a republic and adopt a fully proportional electoral system.
However, the press statement stressed that the party still believes in holding the polls on November 22, provided its demands including an immediate declaration of a republic and the adoption of a fully proportional electoral system are met.
Earlier on September 30, the EC had extended the nomination deadline by five days following the government's request.
A letter from the Prime Minister’s Office this morning to the commission, however, does not mention a new poll date.
The seven political parties during today’s meeting agreed to postpone the November 22 polls.
This is the second time the polls have been postponed.
However CPN-UML, Janamorcha Nepal and Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party have written notes of dissent on the agreement.
CPN-UML leader Jhalanath Khanal had said yesterday, after the meeting, that UML, was of the opinion that the polls must be held on time.
During yesterday’s meeting the parties had agreed to suspend the entire election programmes till the special House session.
While the legitimacy and constitutionality of the government and parliament is being questioned by experts with the polls postponed for a second time, some opine that a further amendment to the constitution could save the legitimacy once the special House session begins.
The CPN-Maoist along with the Left Front and the Nepal Communist Party of Nepal (United) on September 28 had registered a motion at the Prime Minister’s Office seeking a special House session.
As per the constitution, the prime minister has to summon a special House session within 15 days of the filing of the motion.
NBA submits memo to PM for timely CA polls
Nepal Bar Association (NBA) on Thursday submitted a memornadum to the Office of the Prime Minister at Singhadurbar to press the government and the seven parties to hold the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections as scheduled on November 22.
The NBA office bearers also staged a demonstration at its central office at Ramshahpath. They were expected to submit the scheduled to memorandum to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala this afternoon but submitted it to Prime Minister's office after they could not get an appointment with the PM at latter's official residence at Baluwatar.
The memorandum also stressed actions to be taken those involved in criminal activities to end impunity, and special security plan to be made to ensure security of life and property of law practitioners and to resolve problems surfaced regarding right to profession.
Stating that recent strikes and other unruly activities have obscured the possibility of the elections, NBA has submitted a seven-point memorandum to the Prime Minister, said NBA president Bishwo Kanta Mainali.
District-based advocates also submitted memorandum to the Chief District Officers, Mainali added.
SC upholds EC decision on NSP-A
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the decision of the Election Commission (EC) to recognize the Anandidevi Sing-led faction as the legitimate Nepal Sadbhavana Party-Anandidevi (NSP-A).
A group of NSP-A dissidents led by former Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Rajendra Mahato had moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday questioning the constitutionality of the EC’s decision.
A division bench comprising Justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Rajendra Kumar Bhandari issued the verdict.
On September 28 the EC had decided to recognize the Anandi Devi Singh-led faction as the legitimate NSP-A, and had asked the Mahato-led faction to register with the commission as another party by September 29, if it wanted to contest the November 22 polls.
Following the EC decision, Mahato had tendered his resignation and announced agitation to thwart the CA polls in the Terai.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed at the Supreme Court seeking its order to the government to set up a High Level Commission to determine inclusive state and a separate State Restructuring Commission as guaranteed by the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007.A group of four lawyers including advocate Chandra Kanta Gyawali filed the public interest litigation.Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet have been made the defendants in the petition.The petitioners have demanded the apex court order to the government to set up the State Restructuring Commission as per Article 138 (2) of the Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007 which has a provision of setting up such a commission to conduct a study on restructuring of the state and the federal system in the country.The petitioners claimed that a separate High Level Commission should be formed to decide what kind of inclusive state be adopted in the country as required by Article 138 (1) of the Constitution.“Unless an intensive study is carried out by such commissions, it will be difficult to decide what kind of state restructuring and federal system should be adopted,” the petitioners claimed.“Since the constitution has stated that the country is going to adopt a progressive restructure, a study should be conducted to suggest the type of structure,” the PIL stated.
NBA submitting memo to PM today
Demanding an end to the ongoing political deadlock to ensure peace and security in the country, the Nepal Bar Association is submitting a memorandum to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala Thursday afternoon.
Stating that recent strikes and other unruly activities have obscured the possibility of the election, NBA is submitting a seven-point memorandum to the Prime Minister, said NBA president Bishwo Kanta Mainali.
The Bar members will gather at NBA office premises and take out a rally, said Mainali.
Similarly advocates associated to NBA branches across the country will submit a memorandum to the respective Chief District Offices.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Mahato moves SC against EC decision

The faction of Nepal Sadbhawana Party-Anandi Devi (NSP-A) led by Rajendra Mahato Tuesday moved the Supreme Court against the decision of the Election Commission (EC) not to recognize the faction as the party establishment side.
The petition seeks annulment of the EC’s decision to recognise the group led by Anandi Devi Singh as the legitimate party.
Meanwhile, the apex court has started hearing on the case from today itself, considering the urgency of the case as the date to file nominations for the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections is round the corner.
Irked by the EC’s decision, the Mahato-led faction has announced agitation and has threatened to thwart the November 22 election in the Terai. The faction has also defied the EC’s request to register itself with the Commission for the CA elections.
The NSP-A had undergone a vertical split after the Mahato faction held a special convention of the party in Birgunj to expel the party chairperson and some other senior leaders.

Monday, October 01, 2007

SC for strict action against criminal cops

The Supreme Court directed the prosecuting authority and the lower courts to award maximum sentence to those who commit crimes by misusing their uniforms.In a judicial step taken to end impunity in custodial violence, the SC issued the stricture by adivision bench of Justices Balram KC and Tahir Ali Ansari in response to a rape case filed against a cop who, while on duty in Nepal Police uniform, committed the crime by taking a girl in custody.The apex court directed the authorities to penalise anyone who commits crime by misusing the state uniform and terrorise the people by brandishing state-owned weapons with maximum sentence for their betrayal of the faith of and responsibility given by the state.“Be sensitive and penalise criminals who misuse the state uniform, a symbol of state responsibility towards protection of commoners, and cause to degrade public faith in it,” the bench said and directed the Appellate Courts to exercise their discretion while penalising such criminals with maximum punishment even if the prosecuting authority does not demand such punishment. While upholding the Patan Appellate Court verdict, the apex court slapped a four-year jail term on Sub-Inspector Rakesh Kumar Singh, who raped Himali Gole, 18, after taking her into custody by brandishing a gun, in 1996.Singh had challenged the Patan Appellate Court verdict, which upheld the Dolakha District Court verdict to sentence him for four years and compensate the victim withhalf of his property as per Clause 10 under Rape Chapter of Muluki Ain 1963.Women have been facing crimes like this since long, so the culprits should be penalised with stern actions, the bench said while underlining Right to Equality guaranteed by the Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007 and Right to Equality Act 2006.“The cop misused his uniform and weapon belonging to the Nepal Police. He led a team that raided Himali’s house at Gauripudi VDC of Dolakha district while conducting an operation to keep an eye on Maoist activities, brandished weapon and took into custody the girl and her family members, took the girl to a neighbouring house and raped her,” the bench observed.“He took the girl in police custody and prevented other people from visiting her by deploying his juniors outside the house where he raped the girl,” the bench observed.The bench maintained that the cop had committed crime against humanity and had betrayed the state responsibility to maintain law and order.“He did not only fail to perform his duty of protecting the common people, but betrayed the faith of the state, thus he should be given maximum punishment,” the bench said.The bench also directed the Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police to prosecute the cop on crime against humanity for terrorising Himali’s family while committing the crime and also for misusing the police uniform, under Clause 35 of Police Act 2012 BS.
Legal Provisions Biased Against Women: Study

Women lawmakers and lawyers said on Sunday that women in the country have been suffering due to a number of legal provisions that discriminate against women.Though some laws have been promulgated after Jana Andolan-II to address discrimination, a number of discriminatory legal provisions are still in place, they said.According to a study conducted by the Forum for Women, Law and Development, 94 provisions of 88 Acts are discriminatory."Though we have promulgated Acts to make the way for issuance of citizenship certificates in the name of mothers, guarantee 33 per cent representation of women in public posts and abolish violence against women, we are yet to tackle several challenges," CPN-UML lawmaker Urmila Aryal said.NC lawmaker Kamala Panta Acharya, however, said the patriarchal mindset prevalent in the society is hindering efforts aimed at bringing about gender equality. Political fronts, bureaucracy and social and economic sectors are biased against women.Advocate Sapana Pradhan Malla said that after Jana Andolan-II, women have been getting equal opportunity in many sectors, including employment and education. She also stressed the need to fight against existing biased provisions.President of the Nepal Bar Association, Bishwokanta Mainali, called the women leaders and lawyers not to create an environment to divide houses as some of their agendas have been creating such a situation. He stressed the need to "adhere to our own culture."