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.
Juvenile court opens in Morang
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

JC Draws Flak for Hiding Info About Judges' Names

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.
Kailali jungles face encroachment

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.

Razen Manandhar@himalayatimes
NAC moves SC over Ameco row
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

Govt body flouts SC directive again and again

:The Supreme Court sought help from government secretaries to implement its directives issued to the Land Reform Office to submit documents related to a case pending in the court.The apex court sought help from the secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, secretary at the Ministry of Land Reform and the Director General of the Department of Land Reform.The Supreme Court said the Saptari-based Land Reform Office did not send documents related to a case despite its six directives. The Supreme Court, in writing, asked the government authorities to implement its directives and warned to initiate a contempt of court case if the directive is not implemented.The SC was acting on a writ petition filed by Sabina Thapa against the government. Thapa had moved the Supreme Court after she lost a case at the Land Reform Office.The court added that the judicial process has been disturbed and it has been unable to issue a verdict on the case due to the negligence of the Land Reform Office.
Judicial Council gives clean chit to 85 judges

-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

Oath administered

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
Upadhyaya charges seven parties of betrayal
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.
Judiciary proposes own security
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

SC directs govt to promulgate Act for refugees

Making public the full text judgment on the detention of four Pakistani citizens, the Supreme Court directed the government to promulgate an Act for refugees.“The government should promulgate an Act in this regard,” the full text of the judgment states. Though the verdict was pronounced on September 24, the division bench of judges Sharada Prasad Pundit and Bala Ram KC made public the judgment today.The bench states that the apex court cannot intervene in the executive domain directing whether or not sign any international treaty on refugees. Following detention, Pakistani nationals Usman Javed, Kaishif Mehomood, Mehmood Rasid and Memhood Rasid had moved the apex court, claiming that their rights as asylum-seekers were violated after the government authority took them into custody.The apex court also directed the government and the Department of Immigration to review 10-year imprisonment it slapped on them on the charge of staying in Nepal without permission. It also directed the government not to deport the four Pakistanis not to deport them to Pakistan, where their lives are in threat.The bench, however, states that the refugees do not have the right to violate the law of the country, where they are staying as refugees.As their lives were under threat in Pakistan, the four visited Nepal with Pakistani passports in 2005. Advocates Hari Phuyal, Prakash Mani Sharma and Basanta Prakash Adhikari had pleaded on their behalf in the apex court.
NRB guv case verdicts put off again

Two keenly awaited judgments, one by the Supreme Court and another by the Special Court, were put off today as the judges involved in the hearing of the cases were busy today with the marriage of their respective daughters.The apex court, which had put off its judgment in the case of alleged international killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj, today put off its judgment again as Justice Top Bahadur Magar was busy with his daughter’s marriage. His daughter got married today.Judge Komal Nath Sharma took leave for his daughter’s marriage and so the Special Court postponed the issuance of judgment in the corruption case filed by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) against the Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, Bijaya Nath Bhattarai, and Executive Director Surendra Man Pradhan.A division bench of Supreme Court Justices Anup Raj Sharma and Top Bahadur Magar has been considering the case against Sobhraj and a three-member bench of Special Court judges Bhoopdhoj Adhikary, Komal Nath Sharma and Cholendra SJB Rana has been considering the case against Bhattarai and Pradhan.Today was the second postponement of judgment in Sobhraj’s case and the third in the Governer’s case.The judgment on Sobhraj was postponed on November 4 after Justice Anup Raj Sharma went on a visit of lower courts in Kathmandu Valley.According to a Joint Registrar of the apex court, Shreekanta Paudel, the judgment in Sobhraj case will be on December 19.Sobhraj had moved the apex court after the Patan Appellate Court had upheld the judgment of the Kathmandu District Court that had slapped a 20-year jail sentence on him.The two top officials of the Nepal Rastra Bank Bhattarai and Pradhan have been awaiting the Special Court verdict for four months after the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority filed a corruption case against them. The case related to irregularities in a Financial Sector Reform Project at the Nepal Rastra Bank.
Judges, lawyers face threats
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

SC Shelves Sobhraj Case Verdict Yet Again

The Supreme Court put off the pronouncement of judgment on an appeal filed by suspected international serial killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj against a lower court’s decision to convict him on the charge of killing an American national, Connie Jo Bronzich.According to assistant spokesperson for the Supreme Court Hemanta Rawal, the pronouncement has been postponed because Justice Top Bahadur Magar, who has been looking into the case, has taken a leave of absence.A division bench of justices comprising Magar and Anup Raj Sharma were scheduled to pronounce the verdict . Earlier, SC had put off the announcement of the final verdict on November 4 as justice Sharma had gone to inspect several courts, including the Patan Appellate Court, Special Court, the Administrative Court and the Revenue Tribunal.The bench has been considering Charles Sobhraj’s appeal against the conviction on the alleged killing of Bronzich and a separate appeal filed by the government challenging the lower court’s decision to issue clean chit to Sobhraj on a case relating to the possession of a fake passport while entering Nepal in 1975.

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.
SC judge points at lapses in interim constitution
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

Notary public code issued

The Notary Public Council Nepal (NPCN) issued the code of conduct for notaries public with the objective of serving the commoners effectively.The NPCN has issued certificates to seven-year-old experienced lawyers to work as notaries public. They can verify, attest, authenticate public documents and affidavits. They can also attest personal certificates and translate them. Invoking Clause 37 of the Act Relating to Notary Public, 2007, the NPCN issued the code of conduct prohibiting the notaries public from involving themselves in corrupt and illegal activities and misusing theauthority delegated by the state. If any notary public is found to be involved in attesting fake document, he may be jailed for up to four years and be fined Rs 2 lakh.At a training programme organised by the NPCN today, Attorney General Yagya Murti Banjade called notaries public to be cautious while exercising their authority.Banjade, who is also chairman of the NPCN, called the lawyers to work in line with the authority given to them. Now the gazetted government officials will not exercise the notary public authority.
Broaden admin court jurisdiction: CJ
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

Alleged murderers walk free as no case filed
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

SC stays civil servants recruitment
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.

Cases backlog leaves NHRC confused
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
Help improve judicial system : CJ
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

Writ petition filed
Freedom Forum Sunday has filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court seeking order to declare null and void the Clause 4 (1) of the Crime and Punishment Act against the State- 2046 arguing the Clause contravenes with the provision of the Interim Constitution 2063.The provision of the Act prohibits dragging issues related to monarchy and its family to public and for public discussion and publishing materials related to the king and royal family, a press statement issued by the Forum said.

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.
CIAA opens Lapsiphedi land case

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

NBA condemns threats against legal professionals

Nepal Bar Association (NBA), the umbrella organisation of lawyers in the country, has denounced the threats of physical attack on legal professionals by the Maoist-affiliated trade union. Saying that hotel workers affiliated to Maoist trade union issued threats to advocates Jyoti Baniya and Ramchandra Simkhada for filing a writ petition at the Supreme Court against the 10 percent ‘service charge’ levied by hotels and restaurants, NBA has expressed serious concern over the Maoist trade union’s activities against the advocates. “NBA warns of protest if professional lawyers are threatened while carrying out their profession in future,” NBA President Bishwo Kanta Mainali said in a statement Thursday On Thursday, the union workers had staged a protest rally against the lawsuit and advocate Baniya. They had also vandalised the offices of Baniya and Simkhada for filing the lawsuit. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Thursday brought the controversy to an end by quashing the public interest litigation questioning the charge on the ground of consumers’ rights, deciding to allow hotels to collect the 10 percent service charge.
CIAA boasts of high success rate
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

Nude children on air: The rights question

A scene of a soap opera Bhagya Aa Aafno aired by Nepal Television has seven-year-old Saugat Bohara being bathed nude on screen by his parents.This is against the children's Act and also the international convention to show a child nude on or off screen, said Siru (single name) of CWIN.�Even with good intentions children should not be portrayed nude visually or on documentation even if that is meant to give a positive message to others," said advocate Upendra Keshari Neupane.This showed soaps or teledramas often knowingly or unknowingly breach child rights and legal framework connected to the international convention on child rights. Saughat Bohora, 7, who said he is shy to take a bath nude in front of his parents felt utterly uncomfortable while doing the shot. But the makers of the teleserial demanded that the shot be taken without him wearing undergarments.Director of the serial Ramesh Koirala confessing his mistake told The Rising Nepal that he did not have any idea about child rights and child abuse.�If I had known all these things I would not have made this mistake," he said and added my legal advisor did not say anything regarding this matter,"But legal advisor Khagendra Bohara said the boy is his son and they had tried to put undergarment on him but it was not available at the spot. �There was no ill intention in presenting the boy in the nude," Bohara said.He, however, said it was the duty of Nepal Television which aired the teledrama to censor the scenes and make appropriate for viewing as our team had send the serials to Nepal Television several months ago before it was aired.Jaya Singh Shah Manager of Production Department at Nepal Television, however refuted Bohora's claims. He said that this matter is not related to his department. �It is not our concern whether the soaps have been censored according to legal frameworks," he said.He further said that there is a telefilm censor committee formed by different individuals. �It is their job to censor the serials and submit them to Nepal Television for airing."According to Clause 16 of the Children's Act 2048, pictures or visual portraying the children nude degrades their morality. It has also mentioned any visual, photograph or even sketches related to child pornography is child abuse and is against child rights and is a crime, said Neupane.While the Child Right Convention 1989 has been built on varied legal systems and cultural traditions, the Convention is a universally agreed set of non-negotiable standards and obligations. It sets out these rights in 54 Articles and two Optional Protocols. It spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have are the right to survive; to develop to the fullest; to have protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life.The four core principles of the Convention are: non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child.As Nepal has also ratified the convention, it should follow CRC in all its activities and manifestations that also includes the films, said Neupane.
By Eliza Rana @ risingnepal

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.”
Service charge to go on: SC
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 Game for Healthy Criticism of Judges

Healthy criticism of judges is allowed, the Supreme Court on Thursday said in the full text of a judgement pronounced eleven months ago."The power of contempt of court cannot be exercised against anyone if the person is found to have spoken or publicised truth or commented in a fair manner. It will be a case of misuse of this power if it is exercised against anyone for speaking the truth," the judgment states.A division bench of justices Bala Ram KC and Ram Kumar Prasad Shah interpreted the power of contempt of court, quashing a contempt of court case, which was filed against the publisher of Himal Media, Kanak Mani Dixit, editor Rajendra Dahal and cartoonist Rabin Sayami four years ago.Opposing the publication of a cartoon in the Himal fortnightly, which had portrayed the Chief Justice as a monkey, a Kathmandu resident, Santosh Bhattarai, had moved the court.The bench, however, stated that the court can initiate strong action against the person if the latter is found to have tried to scandalise the court with an ulterior motive.The Interim Constitution has taken the court as a trustee of the people, the bench observed, adding, "Scandalising of the judiciary can be prevented through the contempt of court power.""Administrative action of the judges can be questioned, but action cannot be initiated against any judges on that ground alone," the judgment said. The bench also said that discussions on personal matters of any judges or their administrative decisions cannot be taken as the contempt of court.In addition, the bench observed that criticism of the Constitutional Council cannot be taken as a contempt of court charge just because the Chief Justice (CJ) is a member of the council."If anyone scandalises action of the CJ or any judges while they are performing their judicial duties and thus tries to question the credibility of the judiciary, such an action can be taken as a contemptuous action," the bench observed. @himayatimes
Credit Bureau Can Blacklist Loan Defaulters: SC

The Supreme Court stated on Thursday that the Credit Information Bureau (CIB) has the authority to black-list any businessman or group if the latter does not pay back the loan taken from any financial institution.A three-member full bench of justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Bala Ram KC and Kalyan Shrestha issued the verdict.Quashing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Ishwor Prasad Adhikary, the bench upheld the CIB's authority.The petitioner had sought the court order to the authorities, including Nepal Rastra Bank, the government and the Ministry of Finance not to give the CIB the authority to blacklist defaulters.The petitioner had claimed that the Nepal Rastra Bank Act 2058 BS does not permit anyone to black-list anyone or any group.

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.”
EU urges Nepal govt to accede to Rome Statute
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.
Govt brings amendment in Police Regulations

The government has made the 12th amendment to Nepal Police Regulations, 2049 BS, making provision of reservation for women and marginalized groups while recruiting police personnel through open competition.
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).

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Nepal Army hosts dinner for Chief Justice

The Legal Department of the Nepali Army (NA) on wednesday organised a dinner at the Army headquarters in honour of newly-appointed Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri.All justices of the apex court, Attorney-General Yagya Murti Banjade, high-ranking officials of the SC, lawmakers, including Speaker Subas Chandra Nembang, and high-profile lawyersattended the dinner.This is the first time that the NA has hosted such a dinner in honour of a newly-appointed CJ.“We do not see any ulterior motive behind this party,” justice Bala Ram KC told after attending the dinner.“We have been attending parties organised by various embassies and we do not feel that attending such parties is against the judges’ code of conduct.”“Since the apex court is to hear appeal of the military court, the legal department of the NAfelt the need to organise the party,” another high-ranking official of the SC said.Former general secretary of the Nepal Bar Association and legal adviser to the CPN UML, Agni Kharel, objected to the CJ’s presence at the welcome party.“What factors made the army to welcome the CJ?”He said, “Several cases, in which the army is the defendant, have been pending in the SC, and the Chief of Army Staff General Rookmangud Katawal has been facing a case relating to his alleged fake birth date in certificates.”A former justice of the Supreme Court Krishna Jung Rayamajhi expressed surprise over the CJ’s presence in a welcome party organised by the NA.Rayamajhi, who probed into the loss of life and properties during the Jana-Andolan-II, said,“The CJ must maintain the highest level of impartiality. He should not be present at welcome parties organised by any executive wing of the state.”Rayamajhi, however, said the CJ can attend public functions organised by the civil society and lawyers’ organisations.However, a high-ranking official of the SC said that the NA may have felt the need to organise the party because, following the promulgation of the Military Act, the military court has come under the purview of the Supreme Court.
Ananta Raj Luitel @ himalayatimes
Three European heads of governments write letter to Nepal PM urging prompt solution on adoption row
Prime Ministers of three European countries have written a letter to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala urging him to find a prompt solution on blocked adoption of children on humanitarian grounds
The letter by the Prime Minister of France François FILLON, Prime Minister of Italy Romano PRODI and Prime Minister of Spain Jose-Luis ZAPATERO was handed over to PM Koirala by the ambassador of France to Nepal on November 7.
"This high level initiative (was) made by France on behalf of these three countries in order to draw the attention of the Nepalese authorities, especially the prime minister on the difficult and dramatic situation of 340 families of these countries whose adoption files are blocked since March 2007," states a press release issued by the French embassy in Kathmandu.
The files on inter-country adoption were blocked after the government decided to bring out new laws to govern the adoption of children following lobbies by rights organisations.
"Respecting Nepal's effort on bringing a new law on adoption, the three European heads of government have wished
for humanitarian reasons that a prompt solution be found in order that the families whose adoption files are on process
before March 2007 could have their applications finalised as soon as possible," states the press release.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

No improvement in HR situation: NHRC
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday said there has been no remarkable achievement in human rights situation in the country even after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) between the government and Maoists on 22 November 2006.
Making public the report on the Status of Human Rights under CPA, the NHRC said the law and order situation could not improve as expected due to the tarai movement, Maoist high-handedness and security force's reluctance to step in.
"Incidents of robbery and other criminal activities are increasing, but the police administration has not been able to arrest and bring the guilty to book," said NHRC. The report further said Maoists and tarai based agitating groups have attacked various police stations and beaten up and mistreated government staff.
Expressing serious concern over the deteriorating security situation in the tarai, NHRC said the human rights situation became vulnerable and fragile due to continued killings, abductions, arson and vandalism by Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF), JTMM (Goit and Jwala Singh) factions, Madhesi Mukti Tigers Group, Tarai Cobra, Madhesi Tigers, Tarai Bagi and other armed groups including Chure Bhawar Pradesh Ekata Samaj demanding federal autonomy in Tarai region, and due to the other agitations in eastern and central Tarai.
"Acts of killings and abductions from Maoists has decreased a bit but human rights situation could not improve due to atrocities and acts of abductions, beatings, property seizure and donation campaigns being carried out in some places by the Maoist sister organization, Young Communist League (YCL)," the report said.
NHRC had collected information via various sources through monitoring and investigation in 37 districts of the country.
NHRC revealed that at least 115 persons were killed in various incidents including the Kapilvastu and Gaur carnage during this period.
According to NHRC, 30 persons were killed during Gaur incident, 11 persons by JTMM (Jwala Singh), 9 persons by JTMM (Goit), 5 persons by Maoists, 16 persons by unidentified groups and 5 persons by other parties.
NHRC also received information about the killing of 10 persons by Nepal Army and Police. The report also revealed that 15 persons were killed and over 47 people injured in stray bomb explosions. Similarly, the killing of 14 persons was verified in the Kapilvastu incident.
NHRC received a total of 726 complaints related to human rights violations through its various offices during this period. The highest number of complaints - 141- were related to abduction/disappearance, 140 complaints were related to torture and mistreatment and 102 were related to killings.
Expressing deep concern over the continued attack and threat against media persons, NHRC said the administration seems reluctant to take action against the guilty even after identification .
The bomb attack on a vehicle carrying media people and incidents of attacks and threats against human rights workers have increased insecurity among human rights defenders and media society, the report said.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Aryal says House proposals were anti-constitutional
A senior constitutional expert has deplored the passage of what he called as 'anti-constitutional proposals' by the parliament.
Talking to Kantipur Television, Laxman Aryal – the chief of the drafting committee, which drafted the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007 and former judge of Supreme Court – said, "The proposals are against the constitution. Such proposals should not have been brought into the parliament. If they wanted to change something in the constitution, they could have brought constitutional amendment proposal."
"I see the parliament did an anarchic thing (by allowing such proposal," he said, adding that it devalued the stature of the House.
Aryal said that the proposals would add political complications and make the election uncertain.

Monday, November 05, 2007

SC shelves Sobhraj case verdict

The Supreme Court on sundayput off the pronouncement of judgment on an appeal filed by suspected international serial killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj against a lower court’s decision to convict him on the charge of killing an American national, Connie Jo Bronzich.According to spokesperson for the Supreme Court Til Prasad Shrestha, the pronouncement has been postponed because Justice Anup Raj Sharma, whohas been looking into the case, has gone to inspect several courts, including the Patan Appellate Court, Special Court, the Administrative Court and the Revenue Tribunal.Judges of the Supreme Court inspect these courts annually.A division bench of justices comprising Sharma and Top Bahadur Magar were scheduled to pronounce the verdict today.The bench has been considering Charles Sobhraj’s appeal against the conviction on the alleged killing of Bronzich and a separate appeal filed by the government challenging the lower court’s decision to issue clean chit to Sobhraj on a case relating to the possession of a fake passport while entering Nepal in 1975.Sobhraj is also likely to face another trial in the Bhaktapur District Court on a case related to the alleged killing of Canadian national Laurent Armond Carriare.The Carriere murder case has been pending in the Bhaktapur District Court for 32 years.
Cabinet decides to formulate strict law on abduction
A meeting of the council of ministers held at the PMO in Singha Durbar Monday morning decided to formulate law on abduction, with provisions that will empower the government to take stern against individuals involved in kidnappings.
The initiation comes amidst growing protest over lack of concern from the government in the abduction of journalist Birendra Shah of Bara, allegedly by the Maoists a month ago.
Similarly, the cabinet also approved all the agreements reached with the ethnic groups in the past and decided to forward the drafts to concerned authorities for implementation.
Ministers said after the meeting that the government was also going to give holidays to all ethnic and religious groups in their festivals considering the fact that Nepal is a secular nation.
Court sends five accused in Dhiraj murder case to judicial custody
Lalitpur District court on Sunday passed a verdict to send five persons accused of kidnapping and subsequently killing an eight year old boy Dhiraj Adhikari a month ago to jail for judicial detention.
Those sent to Nakkhu jail for judicial custody, include Nabin Shrestha (21), his elder brother Raj Kumar Shrestha (23) of Sainbu-8, Tika Ram Shresta (23) who used to work as a bouncer at Liza club in Sundhara, Bhoj Kumar Lama, driver of the cab that carried the boy's dead body, and Raju Lama from Tika Bhairav of Lalitpur district. On October 8, Dhiraj, an eight year old boy who studied in class two at Sahid Dharma Bhakta School, Sainbu, was brutally killed by his abductors.
The passed proposals do not have constitutional meaning, say legal experts
Legal and constitutional experts have said that the proposals on public importance passed by the parliament, Sunday, on republic and proportional representation system do not have legal/constitutional meaning.
"They may have certain political meaning. But I fail to see their constitutional significance. For those proposals to have any legal weight, there has to be the constitutional amendment," Lalit Bahadur Basnet, a constitutional lawyer, told . And for any constitutional amendment to be approved, it needs two-third majority, which is not possible without the support of Nepali Congress.
Likewise, another constitutional lawyer Bhimarjun Acharya also told media that the proposals as political resolutions do not have legal force.
Maoists abduct Rukum court employees
Maoists in Rukum district have abducted two court staffers, the Supreme Court administration said on Sunday.
According to a Supreme Court statement, court staff Sashi Ram Bista and Khadka Bahadur Khadka were abducted from Kholagaun area of the district while they were on duty. They were there to implement a court verdict.
The Supreme Court has condemned the abduction and has demanded that Maoists release Bista and Khadka immediately.
Similarly, Nepal Judiciary Employees Concern
Committee has also condemned Maoists for the abduction and asked civil society, human rights activists and the government to take initiative for their release.
NHRC urges government to defend human rights
Citing the human rights situation in the country, Chief of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Kedar Nath Upadhaya and other officials on Sunday submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala at his official residence in Baluwatar.
Demanding that the concerned parties be responsible in defending and preserving human rights as per the Comprehensive Peace Accord signed by the government and Maoists, NHRC stressed immediate action over its recommendations said an NHRC statement.
Stating that human rights defenders have been facing security intervention, and the government is failing to maintain the security situation, NHRC requested the PM in the statement to ensure people's fundamental rights to live and be involved in their profession.
Admitting that preservation of human rights is a pillar of peace, security and development in the country, NHRC further demanded that the government to give priority in this regard, said the NHRC in its memorandum.
Besides this, the NHRC chief also urged the government to help the commission work in the human rights sector as a free, sovereign and impartial institution under the Paris Principle, added the NHRC statement.
During an interaction with NHRC officials, the PM gave his commitment to help the commission in every respect from the government's side.
Petition on state restructuring quashed

The Supreme Court on Sunday quashed a writ petition that sought formation of a commission for state restructuring, without holding even an initial hearing. As the petition was presented for an initial hearing Sunday, Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri quashed the petition without hearing pleading of lawyers, according to Chandra Kanta Gyawali, who filed the petition.
'While quashing the petition, he told us that we should go to the parliament and the prime minister with a large group demanding formation of a commission," Gyawali said.
Besides Gyawali, advocates Dinesh Tripathi and Hari Phuyal were present before the bench to plead on behalf of the petitioner "But none of us were allowed to plead," Tripathi said, "Instead, CJ told us not to bring such issues before the court."

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Special Court jurisdiction in for review: CJ

Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri said that the Special Court’s jurisdiction will be reviewed soon.“We will do it as soon as possible,” Giri told reporters after a programme where he launched NJA Law Journal published by Nepal Judicial Academy. He added that the judicial leadership is working on making justice accessible to the common people.Senior Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi said that they have been concentrating on appointing impartial judges as there is an impression that the members of the Judicial Council have been bringing their near and dear ones for the post of judges.“We are worried on how toremove the impression,” Rayamajhi added. He also called lawyers and journalists to work together with the judgesPresident of Supreme Court Bar Association Prakash Raut called for opposing the parliamentary hearing of Chief Justice and Supreme Court judges’ appointment as it is a ruse to humiliate the judiciary

Friday, November 02, 2007

NHRC not to back plea for amnesty:Upadhyaya

Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Kedar Nath Upadhyaya said that the rights body cannot support the demand for general amnesty by the inmates who have been agitating in several jails.“I cannot take any stance in favour of their general amnesty,” Upadhyaya, who is also a former Chief Justice, said. “They have been serving sentences after being convicted in criminal charges,” he added.Upadhyaya was addressing a press conference organised by NHRC to make public its investigation report on the abduction of journalist Birendra Shah by Maoist cadres. The rights body suggested the government to implement the recommendations made by the High-Level Prison Reform Commission.The commission headed by member of parliament Ram Bahadur Gurung has recommended the government to reform prisons and give pardon to those who have completed 75 per cent of their terms and who have significantly improved their behaviour.

Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula had recently told the parliament that the government will implement the report and it has been gathering details on the inmates who can be pardoned.Upadhyaya said the government should take an appropriate decision on this regard.“We want to see that the government raised the amount given to the jailinmates for their daily accommodation and health care and gave attention to their human rights,” the chairman of the NHRC further said.“NHRC cannot stand in favour or against giving general amnesty to the inmates, as they have been serving sentences in criminal charges,” he said, adding, “It is a political matter whether or not to grant a general amnesty to them.”Upadhyaya called on the government to provide transportation costs to the inmates while producing them to courts and returning them to jails. He said the NHRC wants the conditions in jails improved.

4 serial blasts accused are sent to jail

Citing the available evidence proved their involvement in the two-month-old serial blasts in the Valley, the Kathmandu District Court today sent four blasts accused to jail.A single bench of judge Narayan Prasad Dahal sent them to jail in order to proceed the criminal charges against them following today’s initial hearing. Jagat Narayan Sharma, Sanjeev Sah, Upendra Sah, and Ram Lakhan Sharma were sent to jail.The bench held that since their involvement have initially been established, the cases should be proceed further keeping the accused in jail as per the Clause 118 (2) of Court Management chapter of Muluki Ain 1963.Two students of the Vishwo Niketan School — Anisha KC and Sandhya Khadka — were killed in the blast at Tripureshwor and ten people were hurt at Sundhara.The bench also demanded Rs 20,000 bail in connection with their involvement in the blasts. The accused have been facing two separate charges of killing the students and planting bombs in the public places.Other accused — Raj Narayan Thakur Sharma, Ramakanta Thakur, Ajaya Kumar Shahani, Dhuran Thakuar and Pashindar Kumar Baitha alias Phuchhe —are evading arrest. Main conspirators Kaushal Shahani, Jagat Sah, Babban Singh, and Ram Priya alias Ram Bhagat Shahani are also at large.Seeking their imprisonment to proceed the cases further, government attorney Yam Bahadur Baniya pleaded on behalf of the government and a group of lawyers, including Bijaya Kumar Singh, defended the blasts accused.Seeking life term to 14 accused, the Office of the Kathmandu District Government Attorney had lodged cases in the court on Sunday. The prosecutor charged them of committing the crimes prohibited under the Section 13 (3) and 15 of the Murder Chapter of 1963 Ain and Clause 4 (1) and 10 (1) of the Act Relating to Explosive Means 1961.If convicted, the accused will face 20-year life term as per the Section 13 (3) 1963 Ain for killing, and 2-year jail sentence or Rs 20,000 fine or both for being involved in the blasts as per the Clause 10 (1) of the 1961 Act.

@Himalayan News Service

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sobhraj’s lawyer slams Nepal Police

Paris-based lawyer of suspected international serial killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj has accused the Nepal Police of pressuring judiciary to continue Sobhraj’s jail life here.The lawyer, Isabelle Coutant Peyre, said: “Not satisfied with having illegally kept Sobhraj incarcerated for over four years on the basis of poorly falsified documents, the Nepal Police is attempting to exert more pressure on the judiciary.”She heavily came down on SSP of the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police and Chief of the Crime Branch Upendra Kanta Aryal for commenting on another trial, relating to the murder of a Canadian national, Laurent Armond Carriere, facing Sobhraj.Aryal had told that the trial on the pending case will start once the Supreme Court issues its verdict in connection with the murder of American national Connie Jo Bronzich on November 4.Sobhraj’s lawyer said in a press release: “Sobhraj has not been involved in Carrière’s death, a case he had never even been considered a suspect in by the Bhaktapur District Court which is the original jurisdiction, no more that he has been with that of Connie Jo Bronzich’s in Nepal in 1975, 32 years ago.”