Friday, December 28, 2007

Shown the door by JC, Justice Ojha ‘congratulates’ the media

Ananta Raj Luitel
Kathmandu, December 27:The Judicial Council (JC) today dismissed Supreme Court ad hoc judge Pawan Kumar Ojha two years after his appointment.The JC took the decision unanimously.The JC decided to make permanent two other judges, Rajendra Prasad Koirala and Tahir Ali Ansari, who were appointed ad hoc judges along with Ojha.The practice followed till now was to either extend the tenure of ad hoc judges or to make them permanent judges . Ad hoc judge Paramananda Jha was demoted from the apex court two years ago after a controversy over one of the judgements he delivered .Just four months before the end of the royal regime, Ojha was appointed ad hoc judge in the SC. He had supported the unconstitutionally-formed Royal Commission for Corruption Control that detained democratic leaders. King Gyanendra nominated him as Attorney General after he seized power in 2005.There were only two permanent posts and we selected just two,” JC member Basudev Dhungana said. “We selected them based on the Judicial Council (Procedure) Regulation 1999, which says the JC should select judges with competency, courage, performance, “ he said.Following the decision the JC secretariat forwarded the names of Koirala and Ansari to the Parliament Secretariat to conduct hearing, according to JC spokesperson Nahakul Subedi.After being shown the door, Ojha congratulated the media for the ‘success for their goal’ to oust him from court. “I must congratulate the entire media world,” Ojha said sarcastically.“I do not react against the decision. People should judge whether it is partial or not,” Ojha added. “Pawan Kumar Ojha is nothing but people should get a valid answer as there are people to judge the decision.”Ojha added that he was ready to face the parliament but he missed the chance. “I was prepared to face the parliamentary hearing because the lawmakers are not ‘tigers’ and there was no need to be scared of them.”He expressed displeasure with the JC for not informing him officially. He attended office today but returned in the afternoon after he got to know of the JC’s decision t. “Officially I did not get the decision,” Ojha complained. “I have to share many things but will do so after consulting my friends soon.”

Ananta Raj Luitel /himalayantimes
Judicial Employees Threaten Strike

The Nepal National Employees' Organisation (NNEO), an organisation of judicial staffers, on Thursday called the government to withdraw the bill proposing a hike in the salary and allowances of judges."We want the government to withdraw the bill and introduce a new one to proportionally increase the salary of the judges and other judicial staff together," chairman of the organisation Birendra Basnet said in a press release issued on Thursday.The organisation accused the government of neglecting the other judicial staff except the judges. "The government always pampers judges but neglects the 5,000 staff who have been helping the judges in delivering justice to the people," the press release stated.The organisation also warned of staging a general strike in the courts if the government did not withdraw the bill and introduce a new bill addressing the concerns of the judicial staff as well.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Judge Pawan Ojha retires

Ad hoc Supreme Court judge Pawan Kumar Ojha has retired from office on Thursday after the Judicial Council did not make his position permanent Kantipur Reports .
A meeting of the Council held today, however, gave permanent status to two other ad hoc judges- Rajendra Prasad Koirala and Tahir Ali Ansari-
though they were also retiring today, according to our correspondent Kiran Chapagain.
The move is seen as the council’s decision to punish justice Ojha, who has a history of supporting the royal regime.
Ojha was inducted as the Attorney General of the country following the royal takeover.
Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri chairs the Council.
The Judicial Council decision comes at a time when parliament was insisting that ad hoc judges should face parliamentary hearings for confirmation.
The Judicial Council members were also debating the pros and cons of the constitutional provision that requires judges of the Supreme Court to be approved by parliament before their appointment.
Some members have argued that even ad hoc judges should face the parliament while some others have opposed the idea.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Human rights abuses growing in Terai: NHRC
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed serious concern over growing human rights abuses in Terai region.
In a statement on Tuesday, the rights watchdog said it had been receiving information form various sources about growing cases of murder, extortion, abduction and intimidation of ordinary people, government employees and political cadres alike in eastern and central Terai. Such an environment of fear has caused growing displacement of people from the region, the NHRC said.
The NHRC also asked the Nepal government to enhance security in the region and guarantee the rights of the people to live and work in a fearless manner.
Though the commission urged “all concerned groups” to show respect to human rights while exercising their rights, it did not mention categorically which groups were involved in violation of rights.
According to the commission, human rights monitors have been assessing the situation in districts like Bara, Parsa, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari and Dhanusha.
SC orders secrecy in PLWHA related cases
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the government to enact laws that ensure secrecy in the judicial process for cases involving people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) or sensitive issues of women and children.
The apex court also said it would formulate a set of guidelines for courts and the government outlining how such cases should be dealt with in court until necessary new laws are enacted. The guidelines would be effective from January 24, 2008, the court ruled. The apex court, however, did not give details of the guidelines.
Under existing law some sensitive cases concerning women and children are heard in camera but the whole judicial process is not kept secret. But today's order requires courts and the government to maintain secrecy throughout the judicial process from the time of filing of cases till after the verdicts are handed down.
Justices Khil Raj Regmi and Kalyan Shrestha issued the order in response to public interest litigation brought by the Forum for Women, Law and Development, a women's rights NGO.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

No decision yet on ad hoc judges’ tenure

Due to the absence of Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bikram Nembang in today’s meeting of the Judicial Council, the council could not take a decision on extending the tenure of three ad hoc judges of the Supreme Court.“The meeting could not decide anything as the Law Minister did not attend the meeting due to his busy schedule in the parliament,” secretary of the council Prakash Kumar Dhungana told journalists. He added that the meeting will continue tomorrow.The council has been discussing on whether or not to extend the tenure of ad hoc judges Pawan Kumar Ojha, Rajendra Prasad Koirala and Tahir Ali Ansari. It has also been discussing the issue of appointing an executive director of the Nepal Judicial Academy.“We hope that we will be able to take a decision tomorrow,” a member of the council said. Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri, Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and members Basudev Dhungana and Motikaji Sthapit attended today’s meeting. “We have been awaiting Law Minister’s views on the matter,” he added.According to him, some members of the council have proposed to extend the tenure of the judges by two more years and they may not face a parliamentary hearing, too.

Friday, December 21, 2007

JC mulls over tenure of ad hoc judges

The Judicial Council dwelled on whether or not to extend the tenure of three ad hoc judges of the Supreme Court — Pawan Kumar Ojha, Rajendra Prasad Koirala and Tahir Ali Ansari.A member of the council, who attended the meeting, told this daily that they have been considering whether ad hoc judges are needed at all. “Some of the members do not want to extend the ad hoc judges’ tenure but it is still a matter under discussion,” the member added. According to him, the council will take a decision by Sunday or Monday.Chairman of the council Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bik-ram Nembang, seniormost SC justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and council members Bashudev Dhungana and Motikaji Sthapit attended the meeting.“We are also discussing on whether there is a need of parliamentary hearing on appointment and extension of the term of ad hoc judges,” the member added.Some of the council members are reportedly against extending the tenure of Ojha as he had supported the royal takeover of February 1, 2005. King Gyanendra had awarded him with the Attorney General’s post during the royal regime and he was later promoted as ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court.

Court scraps cases against THT, Kantipur

The Kathmandu District Court quashed defamation cases against two leading dailies — The Himalayan Times and Kantipur — filed by sacked judge Kedar Prasad Pyakurel.Stating that the defamation charge against THT and Kantipur were baseless, the KDC scrapped the cases. A single bench of judge Tej Bahadur Karki looked into the case against THT, while a separate single bench of judge Sushma Lata Mathema heard the case against Kantipur.The benches stated that the cases were baseless and the plaintiff could not justifyhis claim.Advocates Krishna Prasad Pokhrel, Yogendra Adhikari and Ananta Raj Luitel, who is also a senior correspondent with THT, pleaded on behalf of THT. Advocate Ram Krishna Nirala defended Kantipur while Pyakurel himself argued before the benches in both cases.Saying that the contents of news about his sacking by King Gyanendra on March 17, 2006, were defamatory, Pyakurel had sued Managing Director of APCA House Ravin Lama, editor of THT Ram Pradhan and senior correspondent Luitel.Pyakurel had filed a similar case against the management and journalist of KantipurPublications.The king, on the recommendation of Judicial Council, had sacked Puakurel, Ganesh Panjiyar and Chitra Dev Joshi from their posts as judges on the charge of incompetence.The Council had recommended the king to sack them for tarnishing the image of the judiciary, following an investigation into their alleged involvement in irregularities.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sobhraj to face fake passport case too

The hearing against suspected international serial killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj has been extended for a few months. The bench was supposed to pronounce the verdict today but it issued an order to reopen a fake passport possession case against Sobhraj. “I am surprised as we did not expect an extension of hearing. All our efforts have gone in vain,” Sobhraj’s lawyer Rajaram Dhakal told .“Reopening of the fake passport case would have been appropriate in the initial phase when the apex court had started the hearing,” Dhakal added.A division bench of justices Anup Raj Sharma and Top Bahadur Magar said there was a need to reopen fake passport possession case against Sobhraj. The case was scrapped bythe Kathmandu District Court and was upheld by the Patan Appellate Court.The lower courts have convicted Sobhraj of killing American National Connie Jo Bronzich in Nepal in 1975.The bench said there was a need to reopen hearing on fake passport possession case, as there was contradiction between the murder case verdict and fake passport possession case verdict. The bench, however, said there was no need to proceed hearing in the contempt of court case filed by Sobhraj against the government.Sobhraj had filed contempt charge against the government as he claimed that the government authorities had produced fabricated documents in order to mislead the court.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Enact anti-torture law

In a separate writ petition, the Supreme Court on Sunday ordered the government to enact an anti-torture law with a provision that criminalizes torture. Justices Bal Ram KC and Tahir Ali Ansari passed the order in response to a writ petition seeking a court order to the government to criminalize torture. Human rights lawyers said the order has paved the way for the government to implement the Convention against Torture (CAT). "The order is an important step to implement CAT and now it is binding on the government to abide by the convention," said human rights lawyer Hari Phuyal.
Compensate Maoist victims by June: SC
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and other top leaders of the seven-party alliance to compensate Maoist victims within six months.
The order, which upholds what the court termed the victims' right to life, property and other fundamental rights, comes at a time when the government continues to be indifferent to the demands of Maoist victims for compensation and rehabilitation. The exact number of such victims is still unknown.
"The interim constitution has guaranteed Maoist victims' rights to life, property, education of their children, employment and other fundamental rights. Even after one year since the constitution was promulgated, nothing has been done to compensate the victims," Justices Bal Ram KC and Tahir Ali Ansari said, while ordering Koirala and other leaders.
The court passed the order in response to a writ petition filed by Bhoj Raj Timalsena, coordinator of the Maoist Victims' Struggle Committee. The committee moved the courts last April after the government showed continued indifference to their demands for compensation, memorandums and protests.
The apex court also ordered the government to form a commission to ascertain the actual situation of Maoist victims before providing them any relief material. Such a committee should comprise representatives of political parties from each development region, Maoist victims and individuals of the government’s choice.
The decision on the writ petition was delayed since Maoist Chairman Prachanda, one of the defendants, continued to ignore the show cause notice from the Supreme Court. But Prachanda accepted the notice when the court sent it to him by post. However, he has still not replied to the notice, according to court officials.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Judicial Council deliberating on ad hoc judges’ tenure extension

The Judicial Council (JC) is in confusion whether or not to make permanent three ad hoc judges, whose term is going to end soon.“We have been planning what should be done on this issue,” a highly-placed JC source told reports himalayatimes .
The JC headed by Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel recommends the appointment of the judges’ action against any judge involved in corruption and irregularities.
“We have been thinking to let them continue as ad hoc judges,” the source said, adding: “But we have been thinking whether parliamentary hearing is needed to continue for the ad hoc judges.” According to him, there is no clarity in the Interim Constitution whether or not parliamentary hearing is needed for the ad hoc judges. “We will consult the parliament in this regard,” he added.
A member of the JC Basudev Dhungana said that they have been thinking what should be done in this regard. “We will decide on this soon,” Dhungana added.
Ad hoc judges Pawan Kumar Ojha, Rajendra Prasad Koirala and Tahir Ali Ansari are going to complete their tenure on December 29. Some of the JC members want to let them continue as ad hoc judges so that they do not need to face the hearing, but some others do not want to extend their tenure.They were appointed on December 28, 2005. Ojha was chosen as ad hoc judge of the apex court when he was appointed AG after the royal takeover on February 1, 2005.
However, a member of the parliamentary hearing committee, Khimlal Devkota, said that even if anyone is going to be appointed SC ad hoc judge, he should face parliamentary hearing.
“He or she should face the hearing because he will decide over the property, life and liberty of the people. Besides, ad hoc judges also draw salary from the state treasury,” Devkota added.
Verdict on governor case deferred again
The much-awaited verdict on the corruption case against Governor Bijaya Nath Bhattarai did not come even on Friday as judges remained divided over the authenticity of a document.
Majority of sitting judges at the Special Court, where the case is being considered, then ordered Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank, to furnish proof of the authenticity of the letter from KPMG Sri Lanka, a consulting firm. A three-member bench has been taking up the case.
The tribunal has given a seven-day deadline for the central bank to furnish proof, while ordering its administration to present the case before the bench on December 29.
The verdict has already been deferred twice by the tribunal.
Judges Komal Nath Sharma and Cholendra SJB Rana questioned the letter from KPMG, Sri Lanka and issued an order for verification. Though Chairman of the tribunal Bhoop Dhoj Adhikari said there was no need to verify the authenticity of the document, the opinion of Sharma and Rana prevailed.
Lawyers said though it was quite common for judges to be divided while passing a verdict, it was very uncommon for judges to be divided while passing an order.
Bhattarai, along with central bank officer Surendraman Pradhan, are facing a corruption charge filed by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), the constitutional anti-graft body.
CIAA has accused Bhattarai and Pradhan of causing a loss amounting Rs 24.5 million to the public by not claiming compensations after terminating a consulting agreement unilaterally.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

NBA veep’s call to end impunity

Nepal Bar Association central vice-chairman Hari Prasad Uprety warned Nepal was facing an absence of rule of law, saying that if the political uncertainty lingered any longer the country would disintegrate.Speaking to journalists here, Uprety said the inertia of the seven politicalparties has plunged the country intoa whirlpool.“Impunity prevails. Unless the constituent assembly polls are held at the earliest, there is every danger of the country breaking up,” he said.Pointing out that the resignation of Madhesi MPs was a sign of fragmentation, he said, “The root cause of problems is that all power and privilege are vested in the seven parties. This state of affairs must end and an elected government should be ushered in by holding the constituent assembly polls.”Uprety said it was the government’s duty to identify the factors forand against the secessionist struggle going on Tarai.Stating that the present government was not a government of the people, Uprety said, “Reactionary and secessionist forces may gain ground in this situation.”He said that Maoists were complicating the situation and trying to grabpower by exploiting the regional, cultural and caste sentiments of marginalised people in Tarai.He added that it was impractical to press for a republic before holding the constituent assembly polls.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

SC Orders to Halt PSC Results

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an order to government authorities, including the Public Service Commission (PSC), not to publish the result of gazetted officers' examination held in February.The PSC is going to fulfil the vacant posts of joint secretaries and under secretaries through an open competition as announced in October.A division bench of Justices Bal Ram KC and Gauri Dhakal issued the order directing the authorities -- the Prime Minister's Office and Cabinet; the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs; the Ministry of General Administration; and the PSC -- to conduct examination allocating reservation seats for women and announce the result of both the vacancies.The bench directed to allocate vacancies under reservation seats for women and publish the result at the same time.The bench was acting in a writ petition filed by some government officials, including Undersecretary at the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Leela Gadtaula. The petitioners challenged the PSC vacancy violated the rights of women who are supposed to get 33 per cent reservation seats as per Civil Service Act 2007.Some women officers had challenged the PSC vacancy announced on October. The PSC has been conducting exams for the first class and second class gazetted officers in government services.
New security plan at SC from mid-Jan
A high-level security committee headed by Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi has decided to enforce a new security plan at the Supreme Court premises from January 15.
The plan aims at beefing up security measures to check the uncontrolled entry of what court
officials call "crowds", according to Hemanta Rawal, co-spokesperson of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court was forced to come up with the security plan as insecurity increased for judges and lawyers in recent days, especially on account of crowds gathered together by parties to litigation.
"Only the people concerned will be allowed to enter the Supreme Court premises and court
chambers beginning January 15. We are arranging separate entry passes for lawyers, government pleaders, court clients and journalists," Rawal said.
The committee held its meeting at the Supreme Court on Tuesday. High-ranking police officials were also invited to the meeting to seek their input.
The three-member committee formed recently has Justices Anup Raj Sharma and Khil Raj Regmi as the other two members.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

ICJ recommends changes in Military Act

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) submitted a 14-point recommendation to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Speaker Shuvas Nembang, calling them for an amendment to the Nepal Military Act 2006.
In its recommendation, the ICJ has called the government not to provide immunity to any army personnel from prosecution when he or she causes death or loss while discharging their duty. The ICJ has called the government to repeal a provision in the Act that has given immunity to army personnel.
It also recommended to transfer offences of homicide and rape by army personnel, currently being dealt with by court martials, to civilian courts and to respect the internationally accepted principles while dealing with such cases.
“We have submitted the memorandum to the PM and the Speaker and they assured that they will do the needful in this regard,” a lawyer with the ICJ, Hari Phuyal, told this daily. Nicolas Hawan, the General Secretary of the ICJ, has signed the memorandum.The ICJ also called the government for urgent promulgation of domestic legislation to criminalise cases of torture and enforced disappearances in compliance with international law and standards.
“The Act should be amended to make clear that all offences that involve, either expressly or implicitly, serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law should in all circumstances be heard by ordinary civilian courts,” it said.
The ICJ states that Section 70 of the Act should be amended so as not to prevent court proceedings against any member of the Nepal Army who has already been “subjected to departmental action”. “Otherwise it may shield the person from criminal responsibility,” it added. It also recommended that the Act should require the army to cooperate with the Nepal Police, and prosecuting and judicial authorities.
The ICJ also sought amendment to Section 67 of the Act to ensure that all judges in court martials have necessary qualifications, skill, experience and security of tenure to discharge judicial functions.
“Section 81 (2) of the Act should be amended to ensure its conformity with Article 14 (3) (d) of the ICCPR and Principle 18 of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons Under any Form of Detention or Imprisonment while ensuring their rights to seek legal assistant of a counsel in a criminal offence,” it sated.
It also recommended amendment to Section 119 of the Act to ensure that everyone convicted of a criminal offence and penalised by a court martial has the right to appeal to an ordinary civilian court.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Special Court defers verdict on suspended NRB guv’s case
The Special Court today deferred the verdict on the case of suspended Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) governor Bijay Nath Bhattarai.
A bench of Special Court chairman Dhup Dhoj Adhikari and members Komal Nath Sharma and Cholendra SJB Rana postponed the verdict until December 15.
The court was to announce its verdict on this high profile corruption case today.
Bhattarai and another senior NRB official, Surendra Man Pradhan, have been accused of embezzling Rs 195.319 million that Nepal had received in foreign aid for financial sector reforms.
The Commission for Investigation for Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed cases against Bhattarai and co-accused Pradhan in January this year.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Judiciary restructuring panel gets SC go-ahead

The Supreme Court has approved of a committee formed six months ago to study and recommend the structure, hierarchy and jurisdiction of the judiciary in a federal setup.The committee was formed under Justice Anup Raj Sharma in April this year citing the changed context and the provisions of the Interim Constitution, which state that the country is going for a federal setup.The High-level Direction Committee headed by Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri endorsed the committee yesterday.“The High-level Direction Committee has approved of the committee so that it now can start its job,” SC’s assistant spokesperson Hemanta Rawal said.Justice Kalyan Shrestha, attorney-general Yagya Murti Banjade, judge Keshari Raj Pundit, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs secretary Dr Kul Ratna Bhurtel and SC registrar Dr Ram Krishna Timalsena, Dean at the Faculty of Law at the Tribhuvan University Kanak Bikram Thapa, assistant professor Purna Man Shakya, president of the Nepal Bar Association Bishwo Kanta Mainali and others are the members.

Friday, December 07, 2007

JC refuses to name judges it cleared

The Judicial Council (JC) headed by Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri refused to disclose the names of the 85 judges who recently got its clean chit himalayan times reports .Responding to a THT letter , the JC stated that the complaints against 85 district and appellate court judges were baseless and it had decided not to proceed further on those complaints.“The job of the preliminary investigation is a secret matter in general,” the letter signed by JC’s joint secretary and spokesperson Nahakul Subedi stated.Clause three of the Right to Information Act, 2007, has made every authority responsible to make public information except what may pose a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the state, may pose a threat to rule of law and security situation, may threaten harmony between different tribes and community and may infringe on anyone’s privacy.“It is not the compulsion to make public the details of investigation on any judges as per Chapter 7 of the Judicial Council (Procedure) Regulation 1999,” the JC said in its letter to THT. “Since Article 27 has given the option to any authority not to make public the documents as per law, the JC is not compelled to disclose the names and grounds of giving clean chit to judges,” the letter stated.Commenting the JC’s stance, UML’s lawmaker Raghuji Panta told this daily that the JC should make public the names of the judges. “Since they got clean chit, it is the duty of the JC to make the judges names public as per Clause 3 of the RIA,” Panta said.

Forgery case against Rajendra Mahato

A leader of Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandidevi), Ram Sagar Mandal, filed a case of forgery at the Saptari district court against Rajendra Mahato, the leader of the disgruntled faction of the Nepal Sadbhavana Party.Saying that Mahato forged his signature to prove his presence at a general convention of the disgruntled faction in July, Mandal also named former acting president of the Saptari chapter of the NSP-A Sushil Jha as an accused. In his petition to the court, Mandal also claimed that by forging his signature and falsely showing his presence at a convention, which passed a resolution against NSP leader Anandidevi, Mahato and Jha had violated clause 1 and 3 of the Civil Code.NSP-A central disciplinary committee member Amarnath Mandal told that NSP-A leader Dinesh Sah had also filed a case of forgery against Mahato on the same ground.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Parliament approves bills

The Parliament unanimously approved the Nepal Trust Bill - 2007 for discussion in the parliamentary committee today.Minister of state oflaw, justice and parliamentary affairs, Indra Bahadur Gurung, on behalf of the government, tabled the Bill today at the parliament to seek its approval for discussion at the parliamentary committee, which will then send back the Bill to the Parliament for endorsement.The government had on November 16 promulgated the Nepal Trust Ordinance-2007 as per Article 88 of the Interim Constitution 2007 with an aim to “run, manage and utilise” the property of late king Birendra, queen Aishwarya and other members of their family.The parliament also unanimously approved the “Arms and Ammunition (second amendment) Bill -2007” for discussion at the panel to promulgate a law to ensure peace, law and order in the country.
SC ends Ameco row
The Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the way for Ameco, the Beijing-based company, to overhaul two Boeing 757 engines belonging to state-run Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC).
The overhaul work became possible for the company after the court today vacated its own interim order of November 13 staying the repairs.
"The interim order has been vacated," Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi said without giving any reason. "The full written decision will come out tomorrow (Thursday). "
The issue had landed in court after the NAC deal with Ameco for repair of the engines came in for questioning and criticism. Amidst deeping controversy, the apex court had stayed the deal on November 13, and this prompted the Chinese company to seek US$ 11 million in compensation.
In the context of Ameco's claim for compensation, NAC had moved the court with a fresh application, seeking nullification of the interim order. Today's court decision was in response to the application.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

SC’s idea of registrar-general’s post gets finance ministry’s nod
The finance ministry has approved the proposal of the Supreme Court (SC) to have a new post of registrar-general that is equal in power to equivalent posts in the executive and legislature.Besides this, the ministry has also approved adding 172 more posts, including four joint-registrars, 35 deputy registrars and others, Hemanta Rawal, deputy registrar of the Supreme Court, said on tuesday.“Two pillars of the state — the executive and legislature — have chief secretary and general secretary as the highest posts respectively. To create a position at the same level in the judiciary, another pillar of the state, the Supreme Court had proposed having the post of registrar-general,” Rawal said.He said that the Supreme Court received the letter about the approval from the ministry yesterday. According to him, the finance ministry has now forwarded the file to the ministry of general administration.The Supreme Court had proposed to the finance ministry to have the posts last year under the five-year strategy plan of the Supreme Court.“After the ministry of general administration gives the final approval to the proposal, it will help make the justice delivery system prompt and more effective,” Rawal added.
Panel seeks info on judiciary’s pay, perks
A meeting of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Committee (LJPAC) in the interim parliament on Tuesday requested the concerned authority to produce detailed information about the remuneration and perks scale of judges working at different levels of courts.
Before starting the clause-wise discussion over a Bill to amend Nepal Act related to remuneration and perks of judges working at different levels, the Committee reached the decision so that it would be easy to amend the Bill by adjusting it in accordance with the regulation related to the travel and daily allowance of ministers, lawmakers and other civil servants.
On August 20, during the budget session, the government had registered the Bill in parliament that proposed to provide Rs 31,800 and Rs 25,800 for Chief Justice (CJ) and justices of Supreme Court as monthly salary respectively, a hike of over 50 percent in the existing salary. Earlier, the CJ and Justices were collecting Rs 21,000 and Rs 17,000 respectively as salary.
Similarly, the draft has offered Rs 12,000 and Rs 9,000 per month to the CJ and justices -- an increase of Rs 6,000 and Rs 5,000 respectively -- for accommodation for those who don't have their own houses in Kathmandu valley.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

SC transferred some officials as punishment

Responding to a recommendation by a panel of judges, the Supreme Court transferred some of its officials to some remote districts as punishment for their involvement in a controversial corruption scandal.
Those transferred for their involvement in trying to influence the court proceedings as per the request of a petitioner included non-gazetted officials from the Supreme Court, the Appellate Court Patan and the Kathmandu District Court, Narayan Bhattarai to Khotang, Rajendra Wagle to Mustang, Ram Singh Dhami to Solukhumbu and Tulsi Ram Paudel to Pyuthan districts. The SC has decided to transfer 186 officials including those involved in the corruption scandal, it is learnt.
“The officials were transferred as per the recommendation of a judges’ panel and the others have got their transfer orders as per the regular process,” SC assistant Spokesperson Hemanta Rawal . According to him, the judges’ panel comprised of SC justices Top Bahadur Magar, Damodar Prasad Sharma and Ram Kumar Prasad Shah.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Proposed salary hike doesn’t satisfy SC officials

The parliament endorsed a proposal to hike the salary of judges working in all three tiers of courts, but the Supreme Court officials said they are not happy with the proposed hike. They said the hike is less than what they had proposed.The proposal on Some Acts Amendment Bill Relating to Judges’ Remuneration, Condition of Service and Facilities was sent to the parliamentary Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for a clause-wise discussion.The bill, tabled by Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bikram Nembang, has proposed salary hikes for Chief Justice and judges of all three tiers of courts.The government proposed Rs 31,800 as monthly salary of the CJ along with allowances, and Rs 25,800 as monthly salary of Supreme Court justices and allowances, but Supreme Court officials feel the proposed hike is not enough.If the proposal is passed, an appellate court chief judge will get 24,300 and judges will get 22,800 as monthly salary.

District court judges will get 18,800 as monthly salary. The judges will get housing allowance, petrol allowance, telephone and electricity allowance, and newspaper allowance. During official visits, they will get daily allowances.However, Supreme Court officials feel that the proposed increment is different from the Supreme Court’s suggestion that was forwarded to the government before July. “Our recommendation was a bit different from the government’s proposal,” spokesperson for the SC Til Prasad Shrestha told . The SC had forwarded its suggestion before the increase in the salary of civil servants.“The bill does not even uphold the spirit of the constitution that bars deduction in facilities enjoyed by judges,” he added. According to him, the bill violated the constitution while fixing new housing allowance.The judges have been enjoying half-month salary as housing allowance. The new proposal has proposed giving judges less than a half-month’s salary as housing allowance. “The proposed salary is comparatively higher than that of civil servants, but the state should provide enough salary to the judges so they will be committed to their duty,” president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Prakash Raut, said. “The justices should be empowered by every means to make sure their judgement is not affected.”"The bill does not even uphold the spirit of the constitution that bars deduction in facilities enjoyed by judges."

Major party continuing HR violations :Upadhyaya
Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Kedarnath Upadhyaya on Sunday blamed "a major political party" for continued violation of human rights in the country. Upadhyaya, however, did not name the party.
Speaking at a program with representatives of political parties, organized by the commission, Chairperson Upadhyaya said, "The cadres of a major political party have continued violating human rights across the country."
He said people had hoped there would be peace and incidents of rights violations would stop after Maoists joined the peace process. "But there has been no improvement in the human rights condition," he said, adding, "The existence of the state is not felt in many parts of the country; especially in the east and mid-eastern regions."
He said the culture of impunity has grown. "Free press, educational institutions, business entrepreneurs and individuals have been terrorized across the country," he said.
While stating that absence of security has further deteriorated the human rights situation, he said the morale of security personnel has completely
eroded. "All political parties need to boost the morale of security personnel to protect human rights across the country," he said.
Gauri Pradhan, a commissioner, said NHRC would soon introduce its three-year strategic plan, based on the Comprehensive Peace Accord and the Interim Constitution.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

CIAA probing Ameco deal
The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has initiated an investigation into the deal between Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) and the Beijing-based Ameco company.
The constitutional anti-graft body initiated the probe after the deal involving overhaul of two Boeing 757 engines came in for public questioning.
CIAA secretary Bhagawati Prasad Kafle, in a written reply to the Supreme Court on Friday, said an investigation into the Rs 400 million deal is under way.
The matter has now landed in the Supreme Court, which is holding a hearing on it Monday.