Monday, August 18, 2008

Supreme Court orders govt to provide relief to conflict victims
The Supreme Court (SC) has passed an order asking the government to provide compensation and relief to victims of conflict.
The apex court has asked the government to form a committee by including representatives of the victims and work as per its recommendation.
The court passed the order in response to a writ petition filed by victims demanding relief to over 60,000 who suffered from the conflict and many of whom were displaced.
The order was delivered by a bench comprising judges Balram KC and Tahir Ali Ansari.
The bench has asked the government not to back down from carrying out its duty towards protecting basic human rights.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Judge issued threat in court

A person threatened judge Bhola Nath Chaulagai not to issue an interim order on a murder case when hearing on the case was going on in the Baglung Court.Dhurb Pariyar of Narayansthan VDC threatened Chaulagai in the chamber, when the court was preparing to issue an interim order. "Pariyar threatened me, saying that the court detain the accused and not release him on bail," Chaulagai said.His threat violates the court's jurisdiction and endangeres judges' authority, Chaulagai said. Pariyar admitted that he threatened the judge. "I did so to pressure the court to probe the case in an impartial manner," he said. Relatives of Padam Bahadur Gautam, a murder suspect, also shouted slogans on the court premise, asking punishment for the guilty.Meanwhile, Baglung chapter of the Nepal Bar Association today condemned Chaulagai's act.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

CA court scraps case against Bhandari’s victory
The Constituent Assembly (CA) court Tuesday upheld the CA elections result of Mahottari district constituency-6.
The court verdict armoured the victory of Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) candidate Sarad Singh Bhandari from the constituency.
The CA court scrapped the petition filed against Bhandari saying that the case should have been filed before the final election results.
Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist, among other parties’ candidates, filed a joint petition claiming that there was vote rigging.
The CA court, prior to taking the decision, ordered the plaintiffs to furnish extra proofs.
Bhandari had won the election under first-past-the post system garnering 6862 votes, which was just 21 more than his nearest rival, NC candidate Sitaram Bhandari.
CIAA Indicts Three ex- Ministers
The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority today recommended the government to recover millions of rupees that ex-ministers Kamal Thapa, Tanka Dhakal and Shrish SJB Rana had misused from the state treasury while suppressing the Jana Andolan II.The CIAA's recommendation comes after a study of the two-year-old Ramayajhi Commission report by the anti-graft body.The CIAA report, however, has kept mum on the involvement of chairman of the then cabinet former king Gyanendra and two vice-chairmen Dr Tulsi Giri and Kirtinidhi Bista in the misuse of state treasury.The CIAA said cabinet had decided on February 8, 2007, not to take any action against former king Gyanendra, Dr Giri and Bista.The CIAA also said the then government had formulated a policy and working regulation under Article 41 of the 1990 Constitution, which was beyond the jurisdication of the CIAA.The CIAA has told the Prime Minister's Office and Cabinet to recover Rs 9,718,020 from Kamal Thapa, Rs 708,500 from Tanka Dhakal and Rs 3,618,500 from Shrish SJB Rana."We found them guilty of misusing the state treasury," Lalit Bahadur Limbu, acting chief of CIAA told this daily. "The misuse was an instance of misconduct, and not corruption. We did not see any ground to prosecute them on corruption charges. We have recommended the government to recover the amount from them," Limbu added."They misused their authority by drawing and distributing the money in violation of the CIAA Act 1991," he added.

-Ananta Raj Luitel

Monday, May 26, 2008

Lawyer cremated
The final rites of advocate Jagadish Acharya were performed at the Pashupati Aryaghat on Sunday.Some 300 lawyers participated in the funeral procession.The cadres of Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (Jwala Singh) had shot at Acharya on Friday at Kalaiya of Bara and he was undergoing treatment in Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu, where he died on Saturday.Issuing a press release, Nepal Bar Association condemned the attack and the Supreme Court,Appellate Court Patan and the three district courts in the Kathmandu valley postponed Sunday’s hearing after all lawyers participated in the procession.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Courts to be just an SMS away
If there is any institution in the country that is most conventional in its working style it is the judiciary. But this institution is now all set to take a giant leap towards modernization.
In its most recent move, the judiciary has come up with an IT plan that proposes to make the Supreme Court in the first phase and other courts in second phase just an SMS away from service seekers.
Officials at the Supreme Court said those seeking justice will not have to come to court all the way from different parts of the country just to receive general dates and the hearing schedules for their cases; they can get these right on their mobile phones as SMS.
If they do not have mobile phones, they can get the dates and schedules at their respective district courts even if the cases are under adjudication at the Supreme Court.
"If the plan is approved by the Full Court, then a person from Jhapa or any other place in the country will not have to travel all the way to Kathmandu for general dates and hearings dates; they can get the dates right at the district court or on their mobiles," said Dr. Ramkrishna Timalsena, registrar at the Supreme Court, speaking about the new IT plan at the judiciary.
The plan designed by Dipak Timalsena, IT chief at the Supreme Court, was presented before the Full Court on Firday, the apex policy-making body of the judiciary, for approval. Dr Timalsena told that the plan is expected to be approved very soon, most likely this week.
The new scheme will become possible once all the courts of law across the country are equipped with information technology and connected to the Supreme Court within one and half years, according to the plan being discussed in the Full Court. And once implemented, Supreme Court officials believe the plan will make justice delivery more speedy and less expensive.
Similarly, the plan envisages replacing the existing manual system of issuing general dates and hearing schedules, which is considered prone to corruption and bias, with software that automatically generates general dates and hearing schedules, reducing the chances of manipulation. The software then will send SMS to court users, with their general dates and hearing schedules.
IT chief Timalsena said that each appellate court has already been provided 10-20 computers and each district court five computers.
"Once all the courts are interconnected, court users will not have to come to the Supreme Court even to register their cases; they can register cases from a nearby court," added IT chief Timalsena.
Besides, the plan is also to make the judiciary paperless. "We have proposed that courts forward all the case files through IT, instead of the post office, so as to reduce delay in justice delivery," Timalsena said.
Dr Timalsena further added that the plan proposes to set up a toll free number at the Supreme Court so that court users across the country will automatically learn about their general dates, hearing schedules and court decisions.
In its bid to become high-tech, the Supreme Court has already been computerized and efforts are underway to connect the Supreme Court with other courts across the country, thereby rendering the judiciary ahead of other government entities in the use of information technology.
According to Timalsena, the judiciary plans to use IT even to serve subpoenas and to correspond with the Office of the Attorney General on matters of justice delivery, a move that is also likely to reduce delay.
To discourage judge-shopping, Supreme Court officials have proposed in the plan that parties who want to defer their hearings will have to apply online a day before the hearing date. At present, parties are allowed to postpone hearing right on the day of the hearing, something that has led to judge-shopping and is a matter of concern for the judiciary.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Advocate Shot At in Bara

An unidentified group opened fire on advocate Jagadish Acharya near his home in Kalaiya last night, leaving him seriously injured. Acharya was shot at near his home at Kalaiya-8 at around 8:45 pm, police said. He was shot in the thigh and is undergoing treatment in Birgunj. The gang which opened fire on him fled after firing a round in the air, police quoted locals as saying. Police have taken nearly 10 persons in custody for interrogation on suspicion of their involvement in the incident.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Implement all jail reform recommendations: SC
In a sweeping ruling, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the government to implement the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the rights of jail inmates and the reports of a number of jail reform commissions.
Both NHRC recommendations to the government in 2005 and the reports of commissions formed at different times in the past have stressed the need to seriously upgrade the present infrastructure at prisons across the country and guarantee prisoners their basic human rights like sanitation, room space, quality food and regular health checkups.
Taking up the public interest litigation filed by Pro-Public, an NGO, Justices Bal Ram KC and Tahir Ali Ansari also formed a three-member committee to oversee implementation of the recommendations and reports. The committee should comprise representatives of the Home Minister, the Ministry of Finance and NHRC, the court ruled. The court also ruled that implementation of the recommendations and reports should begin right from the start of the new fiscal year.
"There are already enough recommendations and studies on prison reform and there is no need for more studies. What is needed now is implementation of the recommendations and reports," the justices said in their verdict.
Non-implementation of the recommendations and reports has been a major concern. The jail inmates themselves have launched protests inside the prisons from time to time, demanding implementation.
According to studies carried out by NHRC and the jail reform commissions, the infrastructure at prisons is mostly very old and insufficient for the number of inmates at present. Consequently, the prisons are overcrowded. Besides, inmates have been deprived of quality food, regular health services and sanitary facilities. The condition of women inmates at many prisons is worse as there are often no separate toilets for them.
In the verdict, Justices KC and Ansari also ordered the government to ensure the educational rights of children living with their jail-inmate parents. According to NGO reports, there are 65 such children living in jails.
Similarly, the daily food allowance for inmates should be increased every time the government increases the salaries of civil servants to adjust for inflation, the court said.
The apex court also ordered implementation of the Prison Act in its letter and spirit so that no inmate is deprived of his or her basic right.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Stay on election declined

The Constituent Assembly Court (CA Court) refused to issue interlocutory stay order against Ramesh Rijal of Nepali Congress who had won a seat from Parsa-5 to the Constituent Assembly in the April 10 election.
A three-member bench of Justices Anup Raj Sharma, Top Bahadur Magar and Ram Kumar Prasad Shaha issued the order following today’s hearing.
The bench said the case would be decided in the final hearing and therefore there was no need to issue a stay order as demanded by the petitioners.
CPN-UML’s Jaya Prasad Kushwaha Tharu, Birendra Prasad Yadav of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum and Chhatra Bahadur Shrestha of the CPN-Maoist had filed the case challenging Rijal’s victory.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dr Dhungel advises not to amend statute
Amidst debate whether the interim constitution needs amendments immediately, a constitutional expert has advised political parties not to do so as that will lead to delay in drafting a new constitution.
In a programme organised in the capital Friday, the Dr Surya Dhungel also warned of the Constituent Assembly not completing the task of drafting a new constitution if parties get engaged in amending the current statute.
The process will also lengthen the transitional period, due to which experts’ fear of repeating the 1959 incident.
"If the transitional period is lengthened, the history of 1959 might repeat," said Dr Dhungel.
While Maoist leader CP Gajurel supported Dhungel's statement, UML leader KP Oli differed saying the interim constitution should be amended if the government is to be run properly.

CA Court stays Sindhuli-1 election result

The Constituent Assembly Court issued interlocutory stay order directing the government authorities not to include Bisam Lal Adhikary, who was declared winner from Sindhuli-1 under direct polls, in the CA until the court issues a final verdict on a case challenging his victory. The court asked the authorities not to include him in the swearing-in ceremony for CA members.A three-member bench of justices Anup Raj Sharma, Top Bahadur Magar and Ram Kumar Prasad Shaha issued the directives following today’s hearing on a case filed by Maoists’ defeated candidate from the constituency Shanti Man Karki against Adhikary’s win. Election Commission had declared CPN-UML Adhikary the winner.The bench, however, said the bench can re-consider the order after getting the reply from the defendants — Adhikary and the EC.Karki has claimed that Adhikary won the elections through irregularities. He has claimed that valid ballot papers were missing and invalid ballot papers were accepted during the vote counting. Karki had sought the court’s interlocutory order to authorities to bar Adhikary from participating in the CA process until the court issues a final verdict on the case.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

No Roadblock to Govt Formation: CJ

Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri on Wednesday ruled out any constitutional hindrance to government formation. He, however, called on parties to form the government after forging a consensus."I do not see any political impasse," Giri said."The consensus will work," he said, adding, "The option of forming a government with the support of two third of the Constituent Assembly should be searched only if consensus cannot be reached." The CJ was talking to media persons after felicitating newly-elected office bearers of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) at a programme organised by the Reporters' Club of Nepal.The CJ said that the new constitution should make the judiciary independent and competent. "An independent and competent judiciary is a must to protect rights of the people," he said. "I hope that members of the Constituent Assembly will promulgate the constitution respecting these principles of the judiciary."Giri urged the press to respect the boundaries set by the law. "The judiciary expects support from the fourth estate to protect rights of the people," he added."I found that the new leadership has a vision to establish harmonious relation with the judiciary. Such a thinking is a must," he added. "I want professional reporting of matters related to the judiciary," the CJ said.Newly-elected president of the FNJ Dharmendra Jha urged journalists to develop harmonious relations with the judiciary.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

SC bars French lawyer from defending Charles Sobhraj
The Supreme Court on tuesday rejected a plea by French lawyer Isabelle Coutant Peyre to defend Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj during the court proceedings.A division bench of Justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Kalyan Shrestha rejected the French lawyer’s request, which was made during today’s hearing.“The bench rejected her request saying that there is no such precedence here,” Raja Ram Dhakal, Sobhraj’s Nepali lawyer .
The bench, however, said a foreign lawyer could assist Nepali lawyers in any case.Former Attorney General Badri Bahdur Karki, senior advocate Basanta Ram Bhandari and advocate Dhakal defended Sobhraj during today’s hearing on fake passport case.Sobhraj’s counsel argued that the chargesheet against Sobhraj was silent on anyoffense under the Act Relating to Foreigners-1958 and the related regulation, so the charge of fake passport against Sobhraj was improper. They also argued thatthe apex court order to reopen the fake passport case against Sobhraj was baseless.The lawyers claimed that there was no evidence to prove his presence in the country in 1975.
Court summons KC over Baglung-2 poll
The Constituent Assembly Court (CAC) Tuesday said it will discuss issuing an interim order over the election in Baglung-2 where Chitra Bahadur KC of Rastriya Janamorcha won. The discussion will take place May 22. Acting on an application filed by Mani Bhadra Sharma of Nepali Congress, the CAC ordered KC to be present at court to take part in the discussion. In the application, Sharma accused KC of poll rigging and booth capturing and demanded a re-poll in the constituency.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

SC Tells Govt to Regulate Medicine Market

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a directive order to government authorities to reform the health sector by regulating prices of medical supplies.A division bench of justices Bala Ram KC and Top Bahadur Magar issued the order in response to a PIL filed in the apex court, seeking its intervention to regulate the prices of medicines.The bench told the authorities to form a panel and adopt a proper policy on pricing of pharmaceutical products. The bench asked the government to form the panel under the coordination of a senior official of the Nepal Medical Council and include representatives of the Ministry of Health and Pharmaceutical Management Department in teh panel.The bench told the authorities to complete the study within six months and submit a copy of the report to the apex court.The PIL was filed by advocate Jyoti Baniya. Baniya has also sought the apex court order to publish the prices of lifesaving drugs in the Nepal Gazette. Baniya claimed there was no regulation regarding the supply, quality and prices of drugs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

SC Penalises NRB Guv, ED on Corruption Charges

The Supreme Court today penalised two top officials of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) -- governor Bijaya Nath Bhattarai and executive director Surendra Man Pradhan in a corruption case.Issuing a verdict in a corruption case filed against Bhattari and Pradhan, a single bench justice Tahir Ali Ansari said: "SC found that the duo embezzled 51,732 US Dollars by terminating a contract signed with a joint venture of Lloyd Hill Oakton, USA, in association with KPMG, Sri Lanka". The apex court has asked them to pay a fine equal to the amount embezzled.On June 29, 2007, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority had filed the case against Bhattaai and Pradhan claiming that they had caused a loss of Rs 30 million by terminating the contract. The contract was signed on February 6, 2006.The Special Court had transferred the case to the apex court on February 17 after the Special Court judges could not decide the case.
not to intervene in NSP case :EC urges SC
The Election Commission (EC) on Monday told the Supreme Court that the closed list of the Anandi Devi-led Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandi Devi) was rejected because a closed list was already registered in the EC with the same name.
“All the election-related programmes have been stopped after the submission of the names and lists of parties,” a written explanation submitted by secretary of the EC Sushil Janga Bahadur Rana stated.The Election Commission was responding to a show cause notice issued by the SC in response to a writ petition filed by treasurer of the NSP (Anandi Devi) Tej Kanta Jha. Claiming that the NSP led by Anandi Devi is the official NSP (Anandi Devi), the petitioner had moved the apex court demanding that the Shyam Sundar Gupta-led NSP not be recognised as the authentic NSP (Anandi Devi).
The EC urged the apex court not to intervene in the issue because the closed list submitted by the Anandi Devi led-NSP was rejected in accordance with the election law. Jha had registered the petition demanding the apex court’s direction to the EC, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Cabinet.
Claiming that the PMO was made the defendant in Jha’s writ petition without anyreason, the PMO, submitting a separate explanation to the court, also demanded that the petition be scrapped.

Monday, March 17, 2008

SC begins hearing on NRB gov case

The Supreme Court on sunday started hearing on a corruption case against suspended officials of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) — governor Bijaya Nath Bhattarai and executive director Surendra Man Pradhan.A single bench of justice Tahir Ali Ansari is hearing the case.Pleading on behalf of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), joint government attorney Saroj Raj Gautam demanded that the bench uphold Special Court Judge Cholendra SJB Rana’s judgement to sentence Bhattarai and Shrestha “because there was evidence to prove that the two were involved in corruption”.The case was transferred to the apex court after the Special Court judges failed to issue a verdict due to differences of opinion. Gautam claimed that Bhattarai and Pradhan had signed a fake contract and had caused the nation a loss of Rs 30 million by terminating the contract signed with the IEF Inc Lloyd Hill Oakton, USA in association with KPMG, Sri Lanka.Stating that the two NRB officials had caused the nation a loss of Rs 30 million by signing and terminating the fake contract, the CIAA had filed a case against the two on June 29, 2007. The bench also directed joint government attorney Mohan Bahadur Karki, who will plead on behalf of the CIAA tomorrow, to explain why the Special Court transferred the case to the apex court and whether or not a single bench of the apex court can decide the case.
SC puts off case hearing

The Supreme Court on Sunday postponed the hearing on the murder case against alleged international serial killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj.SC spokesperson Til Prasad Shrestha said the hearing was postponed as Judge Kalyan Shrestha, who was hearing the case, has left for Italy. Justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Kalyan Shrestha have also been hearing the case. Sobhraj has to serve 20 years in jail as per Kathmandu District Court order, which was upheld by Patan Appellate Court.

SC warns CDO of action on contempt case

The Supreme Court has issued a warning to Chief District Officer of Kathmandu Jay Mukunda Dev Khanal to face a contempt of court charge for “disobeying” the order of the Chief Justice.
A division bench of Justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Rajendra Prasad Koirala issued the warning, stating that Khanal had not furnished details of the illegal detention of two persons despite the Chief Justice’s order.
The bench sought explanations from Khanal on why he should not be punished as per Clause 7 of the Judicial Administration Act, 1991 for disobeying the order. The bench was responding to a habeas corpus petition filed by advocate Dinesh Prasad Sharma. The petitioner had sought the release of detainees Rajendra Sherchan and Iman Bahadur Gharti. “The rights against illegal arrest and detention are recognised as constitutionally-guaranteed human rights.
Everybody should cooperate with the apex court to safeguard the rights. But the CDO did not even furnish information on the detention,” the bench observed.On February 28, a single bench of Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri had ordered the CDO to furnish explanations on why Sherchan and Gharti were rearrested within three days. They were convicted by the Kathmandu District Court and sentenced for four years for committing dacoity. But they were released on Democracy Day on February 19.
While releasing them, the bench told Kathmandu CDO Khanal to present himself before the apex court within three days with reasons in writing on why he should not be punished.
On Friday, the bench had also told police to release Sherchan and Gharti, saying that the two were detained illegally.
Submitting separate explanations, Kathmandu District Attorney Surendra Thapa and Metropolitan Police Range’s Superintendent of Police Sarvendra Khanal had told the apex court that the detainees were taken into custody again for further investigation into a separate case on the possession of arms and ammunition.
Kathmandu CDO Khanal told that the details of the detention of Sherchan and Gharti were not furnished to the apex court because police had sought his permission to detain them. “I did not get the order of the apex court due to technical reason,” he claimed. “Police sought my permission to detain the two and I gave them a go-ahead,” CDO Khanal told . “However, I will obey the apex court order,” he added. Ananta Raj Luitel /HNS
Judiciary not independent: SC
The Supreme Court, while identifying its problems, has said the judiciary has not been independent, competent and effective at par with international
"The judiciary has not been as independent, competent and effective as it should be as per the principle of separation of power and universally accepted values," the Supreme Court stated in its annual report made public on Sunday.
It further said the judiciary has been facing serious challenges in establishing a justice system as envisioned in the constitution.
The court, however, has not stated the reasons that have made the judiciary such a weak institution. But, it may be recalled that the judiciary has long been complaining against constitutional provisions requiring judges to face parliament before appointment and requiring the judiciary to present its report to the Prime Minister, who is head of the executive. Judges have maintained that the provisions have undermined the very principle of judicial independence.
Besides, the apex court has also complained that the judiciary has not featured in the national plan of the country with priority.
According to the report, there are 52,098 backlogs in all courts across the country. In the Supreme Court alone, there are 13,476 pending cases whereas the figure at the district courts is 30,819. Similarly, the backlogs at the appellate courts is 7,803.
Man convicted for attempt on CJ’s life
Kathmandu District Court on Sunday convicted one Prabhat Kumar Gupta of Birgunj on the charge of attempting to murder Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri.
Judge Shiva Narayan Yadav announced five years imprisonment for Gupta who "attacked" Giri with a knife at the latter's residence at Ghattekulo on November 30, 2006. Giri, the senior most Justice then, survived the attack but sustained an injury on the thumb of his right hand.
But Gupta, in a statement to the parliament last September, had maintained that he entered the premises of Giri's house to bribe him in a land related case. He further argued that Giri sustained injuries in a skirmish that followed after the former tried to record the conversation between him and Giri.
It may be recalled that the controversial Gupta case had featured prominently when Giri faced the parliamentary confirmation hearing for being nominated as Chief Justice in September last year. Parliamentarians had then questioned during the hearing whether Gupta would get justice after he became the Chief Justice. Giri had evaded the question saying that he would not comment on the case since it was being considered in the district court.
Gupta had staged fast-on-to-death, protesting Giri's nomination as Chief Justice and demanded that parliament disapprove his nomination.
Gupta's lawyer Kedar Karki questioned the impartiality of the verdict today while announcing he would appeal against the verdict at the appellate court.

Friday, March 14, 2008

SC Clears Path for Upper Karnali Project

Refusing to issue a stay order in the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project case, the Supreme Court on Thursday permitted the government to go ahead with the implementation of the understanding reached with Hyderabad-based GMR Energy Limited on the 300-MW power project.A division bench of Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri and Justice Ram Kumar Prasad Shah refused to issue a stay order, and said the constitutional and legal questions raised by the petitioners will be settled by the court while delivering a final verdict on the case."The question whether the understanding needed a parliamentary approval or not will be decided while delivering the final verdict," the bench stated.The bench said: "Though the water flowing in a river is a natural resource, further discussion is required to decide on whether electricity generated from it is a natural resource or not, and whether an MoU signed with any national, international or joint venture company is a treaty or not."Advocates Bal Krishna Neupane, Borna Bahadur Karki, Tika Ram Bhattarai, Bhimarjun Acharya and Kamal Nayan Panta pleaded on behalf of the petitioners while Attorney General Yagya Murti Banjade and Deputy Attorney General Narendra Prasad Pathak defended the government.Advocates Bharat Raj Upreti, Sushil Kumar Pant, Anil Kumar Sinha and Amarjivi Ghimire pleaded on behalf of the GMR Energy Limited.Gorakha Bahadur BC of Kalikot and Ram Singh Rawal of Surkhet had jointly challenged the understanding reached between the government and the GMR Energy Limited to generate 300-MW hydropower from the Karnali River.The counsels of the petitioners claimed that the signing of the agreement between the government and the GMR limited was unconstitutional. They also claimed that it was treaty related to sharing of a natural resource, and that the government violated the constitution by not seeking a parliamentary approval for it. The constitution says any treaty related to sharing of natural resources must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the parliament.The government however claimed that the MoU was not related to sharing of natural resources and it did not need a parliamentary approval.
Judicial code of conduct of int’l standard ready

Judges of the country are, for the first time, getting a code of conduct of international standard amidst realization that the existing code is obsolete.
The nine-page code of conduct obtained by the Post has eight main heads detailing what judges should and should not do to uphold judicial independence, impartiality and people's faith in the judiciary.
It says that judges should not come into "inappropriate" contact with members of the executive and legislature.
A seven-member committee led by Justice Khil Raj Regmi finalized the code of conduct last Friday and handed it over to Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri. Giri is currently studying the code before presenting it to the Full Court, the apex policy making body of the judiciary, for its endorsement. The Full Court is expected to convene next week. The committee prepared the code of conduct upon realization that the existing code of 1998 did not meet international standards.
The code of conduct further says that judges should be impartial not only while passing verdicts but also in the whole judicial process prior to the verdict. It demands that judges be committed to judicial work.
"A judge should not let lawyers run their offices at his residence or meet parties to subjudice cases at his residence," the code of conduct states.
The existing Code of Conduct for Judges1998 is silent in this regard though the international code of conduct for judges clearly prohibits judges from meeting with parties to cases at their residences.
This issue became a matter of national debate last July when the Post ran a story of former Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel meeting parties to cases at his official residence at Baluwatar, Kathmandu.
The code of conduct has been prepared on the basis of The Bangalore Draft of Judicial Conduct 2001 and its amendment in 2006 by the Economic and Social Council.
Besides Judge Regmi, justices Ram Kumar Prasad Sha, Rana Bahadur Bam, Dr Ananda Mohan Bhattarai, Narayan Dahal and Judicial Council Secretary Prakash Kumar Dhungana were involved in preparing the code of conduct.

KiranChapagain /ekantipur

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Apex court summons Deshantar editor

The Supreme Court summoned editor and publisher of Deshantar weekly to attend in person or to submit written arguments in three days to defend a charge of contempt of court.A single bench of Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi issued the notice in a contempt of court case filed against editor Kabir Rana, chairman of the Deshantar publication Bandhu Thapa and its unnamed reporter.The bench issued the order in response to a case filed by advocate Tek Bahadur Rawal against them in relation with a news report published in its latest edition on Sunday.“Attend in person to record statements regarding the charge or send written arguments within three days,” the bench told the defendants.The case filed by advocate Rawal has accused the paper of carrying a news with a headline Bhattarai’s new campaign to influence the Supreme Court, which deals with a sub-judice case related with alleged corruption by Bijaya Nath Bhattarai, Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank and the NRB executive director Surendra Man Pradhan. Publication of the news is contemptuous, advocate Rawal has claimed.The bench has also told the editor to produce the unnamed reporter of the news.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

SC puts off suspended NRB governor’s case submission
The submission of the cases filed against suspended Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) governor Bijay Nath Bhattarai and the Bank director Surendra Man Pradhan at the Supreme Court (SC) has been postponed.
The SC on Tuesday adjourned the process notifying the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to present the cases after one week.
Stating the cases were filed without informing the CIAA, a bench of SC judge Ram Prasad Shrestha took the decision on this regard today.
The corruption case against the duo had landed at the SC on February 27 after the Special Court judges remained divided over the much-awaited verdict on the case.
Governor Bhattarai and central bank officer Pradhan have been facing a corruption case filed by CIAA, the constitutional anti-graft body.
The CIAA had moved the court on June 29, accusing them of causing loss worth Rs Rs 24.5 million to public property by not claiming compensation after terminating a consulting agreement unilaterally with KPMG, a Sri Lanka-based consulting firm.
File murder case against Agni Sapkota : SC
In the first order of its kind, the Supreme Court on Monday ordered the District Police Office and District Administration Office in Kavre to file a murder case against Maoist central leader Agni Sapkota and five Maoist cadres.
Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha and Damodar Prasad Sharma passed the order
following a hearing at the Supreme Court on the writ petition filed by one Purni Maya Lama.
Lama has accused Sapkota and Maoist cadres Yadav Poudel, Bhola Aryal, Karnakhar Gautam, Surya Man Donga and Norbu Moktan of murdering her husband Arjun Bahadur Lama in April 2005 when the CPN-M was fighting government forces.
Lama moved the Supreme Court after the police and administration offices in Kavre refused to register her application seeking action against the Maoists under the Murder Section of the Country Code. The authorities had maintained that the issue would fall under the jurisdiction of the to-be-formed Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
"Her application be registered as the plaintiff has categorically mentioned the names of the accused," the Justices ruled.
The order means that the accused must be arrested for investigation and murder cases filed against them at the district court, said Govinda Bandi, one of Lama's lawyers. This is the first time the court has ordered authorities to file murder case against any Maoist leader over a crime allegedly committed during the 10-year old Maoist conflict.
Earlier this year, the court had issued a similar kind of order in a crime related to the conflict to authorities of the district. Then, the court had order authorities to file a murder case against army officer Bobby Khatri, among others, on the charge of murdering Maina Sunwar, a 15-year old girl. However, authorities are yet to act on the apex court order.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

CIAA grills RCCC functionaries
The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Sunday interrogated two former officials of the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC), a quasi-legal agency operating during the royal regime, over allegations of harassing pro-democracy leaders and misusing government resources.
Former RCCC chairman Bhakta Bahadur Koirala and member Shambhu Khanal appeared before a panel of CIAA commissioners and recorded their statement regarding the allegations.
The anti-corruption agency summoned them on the basis of the report of a panel investigating the RCCC excesses.
The CIAA is learnt to have written letters to other RCCC members summoning for interrogation.
The government has authorised the CIAA to investigate the activities of the RCCC as well as the corruption during King Gyanendra's direct rule
Special provision needed for gender equality: NHRC
National Human Rights Commission Chairman Kedar Nath Upadhyay Sunday underscored the need for a special provision especially for women from the state citing that gender equality cannot be ensured through legal frameworks alone.
Speaking at an interaction programme organised for International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8, Upadhyay said that the problems faced by women have remained limited to slogans since the state has failed to implement its commitments to ensure gender equality and women’s upliftment.
Upadhyay said, “A special provision for women should be made.”
National Women Commission Chairman Nain Kala Thapa said all discrimination against women was the result of a conservative state mechanism and gender-labour classification.
She added that the state’s foremost priority should be expanding women’s reach to the state mechanisms.
Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR- Nepal) representative Richard Bennet stressed that the political will is the major factor to bring women to the mainstream.
Other speakers in the programme accused the government and political parties for not ensuring 33 percent seats for women candidates in the Constituent Assembly, not releasing a budget aimed at them and for the lack of any special programmes for rural and backward women belonging to the Dalit, Madhesi and other groups.

Friday, March 07, 2008

SC seeks govt’s stance on Kumari tradition

A three-member panel formed by the Supreme Court last year submitted its report onthe Kumari tradition in the Kathmandu valley last week but a member of the study team yesterday questioned the report’s credibility.The court then sought an explanation from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) and joint-secretary of the ministry and the coordinator of the three-member study team, Jal Krishna Shrestha, over the issue.The bench has directed the ministry and the study team to clarify over the row and also forward their actual position on the Kumari tradition.The apex court order came in response to a Public Interest Litigation filed on May 6, 2005 by advocate Pun Devi Maharjan seeking the apex court order to the government authorities to protect rights of the Kumaris, who are considered ‘Living Goddesses’.Advocate Pun Devi Maharjan, a member of the study team, said the team coordinator Jal Krishna did not consult the other two members while preparing the report and that she did not subscribe to the document. Culture expert Dr Chunda Bajracharya was the third member of the study team. Maharjan, who has lodged a complaint against the report, yesterday told the division bench of justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Anup Raj Sharma that she did not approve of the report.“Myself and Dr Bajracharya were assigned to conduct studies on our respective fields of law and culture related with the tradition of Kumari but the coordinator Jal Krishna submitted a report before we finished our tasks”, Maharjan told the court.The report has suggested the government promulgate a cultural procedure on the Kumari tradition, ensure more facilities for the Kumaris and to spread awareness about the tradition.Petitioner advocate Maharjan had, in her petition, claimed that Kumari tradition violated the rights of minor girls who are appointed as Kumaris.Kumaris are not given sufficient food, proper education, health service and family environment, the petitioner had claimed while calling the apex court to issue order to the government to properly rehabilitate Kumaris in the society. The petitioner had claimed that there are 11 minor girls serving as Kumaris in several temples in the Kathmandu valley.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

CIAA decides to summon RCCC members

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has decided to summon five members of the dissolved Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) for interrogation over charges of corruption while they were in office.

A meeting of the CIAA, the constitutional anti-graft body, on Monday decided to interrogate RCCC chairman Bhakta Bahadur Koirala and members Hari Babu Chaudhari, Shambhu Prasad Khanal, Prem Bahadur Khati and Raghu Chandra Bahadur Singh, a highly-placed CIAA source told .

"We are sending letters summoning them shortly," the source further said, "Our investigators have already prepared questionnaires for them."

King Gyanendra had formed the RCCC through an ordinance after he seized power on February 1, 2005 ostensibly to deal with matters relating to corruption. The body was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on February 13, 2006, amidst vehement opposition to its formation both at national and international levels. RCCC had arrested scores of politicians, including former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, government officials and even private individuals, in the name of containing corruption.

The CIAA took its decision as recommended by a judicial commission led by former judge Madhav Ojha. The commission had recommended government action against RCCC officials for abusing power.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

PM asks SC to drop one million per MP case
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has asked the Supreme Court in writing to drop the case relating to the one million rupees given to each parliamentarians under the Election Constituency Development Fund. Replying to a show cause notice issued by the Supreme Court on Monday, Koirala argued that the court should no longer consider the writ petition questioning the one million rupees for lawmakers as the government has already revoked its previous decision to give the money. Currently there are two writ petitions in the apex court against the government decision on giving the money to lawmakers.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Govt’s explanation on Military Act

The Supreme Court on sunday demanded written explanation from the government authorities on why a provision of the Military Act 2007 was promulgated in contradiction with the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007.A single bench of Justice Kalyan Shrestha issued show cause notice to the authorities, including the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Cabinet, the Ministries of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Defence, following an initial hearing today.The bench order came in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocates Madhav Kumar Basnet, Lokdhoj Thapa and Binod Phuyal challenging a provision of the Military Act, 2007.The petitioners have claimed that Clause 75 of the Military Act contradicts with Article 24 (3) of the Interim Constitution.The lawyers sought the apex court’s order to scrap Clause 75 Sub-clause (2) and (3) whichallow detention of any army personnel, arrested on the charge of committing any crime, for more than eight days by the order of a commanding officer by producing the arrestee before the Chief of Army Staffs or Legal Department of the Nepal Army.Article 24 of the Interim Constitution states that anyone shall be produced before a judicial authority within 24 hours of his or her arrest.
SC judges to watch movie on Charles Sobhraj
Two justices of the Supreme Court will watch a documentary film about the life of alleged international serial killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj and the alleged crimes he committed on March 16. The movie is produced by the International Police Organisation (Interpol).A division bench of Justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Kalyan Shrestha is scheduled to watch the movie following a hearing conducted on sunday .
The judges decided to watch the latest documentary film in which Sobhraj’s interview has been recorded. He has reportedly confessed to committing various crimes in many countries in the interview.During today’s hearing, government attorney Brajesh Pyakurel sought the bench to consider Sobhraj’s interview while deciding the case.
According to former Inspector of Police Bishwo Lal Shrestha, who is assisting the prosecutors in the case, Sobhraj has confessed to his links with around 50 murders and using hundreds of others’ passports to travel to various countries in the interview.
The bench has reopened the fake passport case against Sobhraj, which was scrapped by the Kathmandu District Court and the Patan Appellate Court and Sobhraj’s appeal against convicting him on murder case by the lower courts. The government prosecutors have presented the movie “Interpol Investigates” and several investigative books written by various authors on Sobhraj and the crimes he allegedly committed in several countries.In the interview-based movie, how Sobhraj has been getting facilities and how he has been spending life in the central jail has been mentioned. “Sobhraj has confessed to having links with 50 murder cases and 100 passport forgery cases in the interview,” Bishwo Lal Shrestha added.
The lower courts have convicted Sobhraj of killing American national Connie Jo Bronzich and has been serving 20-year jail term.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Detention proviso in Military Act challenged in SC

A case was filed in the Supreme Court on thrusday against a provision in the Military Act 2007, which allows a commanding officer of the army to keep any army personnel arrested on criminal charge in custody for up to eight days, against the constitutional provision of producing any detainee before a judicial authority within 24 hours of arrest.
Advocates Madhav Kumar Basnet, Lokdhoj Thapa and Binod Phuyal filed a PIL case in the SC challenging Clause 75, sub clauses (2) and (3) of the Military Act, claiming they contradicted with Article 24 (3) of the Constitution.
The sub-clauses of the Military Act allow commanding officer to detain army personnel arrested for criminal offence in detention for up to eight days by producing them before the Chief of Army Staff or Legal Department of the Nepal Army.
The Article 24 (3) of the Constitution states: Every person who is arrested shall be produced before a judicial authority within 24 hours, excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to such authority.
The lawyers claimed that the Military Act violated the fundamental rights of the citizens and sought an apex court order to scrap the provision.
The Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet (PMO), Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Defence Ministry have been made defendants in the case.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sobhraj’s fake passport case reopened

The Supreme Court on wednesday reopened a fake passport possession case against alleged international serial killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj.A division bench of justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Kalyan Shrestha reopened the case. The Kathmandu District Court (KDC) had decided to close the case in 2004; the Patan Appellate Court had upheld the KDC decision in 2005.The bench has also been conducting a hearing on an appeal filed by Sobhraj challenging the conviction in a murder of an American national Connie Jo Bronzich in 1975.The KDC had slapped a 20-year jail term on Sobhraj for the murder of Bronzich and the Patan Appellate Court had upheld the KDC verdict. Challenging the lower court verdicts, Sobhraj had moved the apex court in 2005 and claimed that he had not entered Nepal before 2003.During wednesday’s hearing, government attorneys Brajesh Pyakurel and Rewati Tripathi demanded that Sobhraj be sentenced as he had committed a crime by entering Nepal by showing a fake passport. They claimed that Sobhraj had illegally entered Nepal with a fake passport in 1975 and killed American national Bronzich and Canadian national Laurent Armond Carriere.
SC to hear Guv's case on March 11
The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to hold a hearing on the corruption case against Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) Bijaya Nath Bhattarai and another NRB official Surendra Man Pradhan, on March 11.
The apex court is going to take up the case after Special Court judges could not pass a unanimous verdict on the case on February 17. All three judges of the court had passed different verdicts on the case. Now, a single bench of the apex court will decide the case.
As ordered by the Special Court on February 17, Governor Bhattarai and Pradhan presented themselves in person before the apex court on Wednesday for a general date. The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has accused Bhattarai and Pradhan of causing loss worth Rs 24.5 million to public property by not claiming compensation after terminating a consulting agreement unilaterally with KPMG, a Sri Lanka-based consulting firm.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

SC seeks info on deportation of Pak nationals

The Supreme Court issued show cause notices to the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range and the Ministry of Home Affairs to explain why two Pakistani nationals, held in 2006 here, were handed over to Indian authorities.Police had arrested Wallid Sajjad and Asif Ali from Jagat Hotel at Jyatha on July 12 for their alleged involvement in serial bomb blasts in Mumbai in 2004. The court notices came in response to a habeas corpus petition filed in the apex court by the Voice for the Human and Prisoners’ Rights on Sunday.CM Farooq, advocate and chairman of VHPR, claimed the duo were not involved in any criminal activities either in Nepal or outside Nepal. Farooq said their attempt to contact Nepali officials to learn about the arrest went in vain.
Govt enforces Essential Services Act
The government can now take stringent action against tanker owners and drivers if the latter refuse to ferry essential goods.
The government on Monday enforced the Essential Services Act (new amendment), which among others, has granted it special authority to intervene with different essential service providers including the private sector to uphold the basic rights of the people, and if deemed necessary, take action against those causing disruption in smooth and regular flow of essential services.
The Act has specified items such as essential goods, telecommunications, drinking water and fuel, among others as essential services.
It has been learnt that the Act was enforced taking into account the problems the government faced in importing and distributing fuel after tanker-owners and drivers foiled the government's efforts to import petroleum products from Birgunj by launching strike and not cooperating with the security authorities. This has caused a massive fuel crisis in most parts of the country.
With the activation of the Act, the government can now take tankers into its control and operate them by hiring drivers of its own after paying compensation to tanker owners
33 parties, 2,191 candidates to contest 240 seats

The Election Commission (EC) informed Tuesday that 2,191 candidates -- 1,698 from 33 major and fringe political parties and 493 independents-- filed their nominations Monday in 240 election constituencies to contest the upcoming Constituent Assembly (CA) poll under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system.
Among the candidates, 244 are women (including 29 independents).
According to the EC, the three major constituents of the ruling seven-party alliance-- Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Maoist -- have filed candidacies in all constituencies across the country, whereas People's Front Nepal (PFN) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) have filed candidacies in 187 and 178 constituencies respectively.
Of their respective 240 candidates, both Nepali Congress and UML have fielded 26 women candidates each, whereas the Maoists have fielded 43 women. Similarly, PFN and RPP have fielded 20 and 14 women candidates respectively.
National People's Front has fielded candidacies for 121 constituencies, including 13 women. The CPN-United has fielded 109 candidates including 7 women candidates.
Likewise, Nepal Workers Peasants Party, CPN (Marxist-Leninist) and Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandidevi) led by the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies have fielded 71, 83 and 27 candidates respectively.
Four fringe political parties-- Nepal Rastriya Loktantrik Dal, Lok Kalyankari Janata Party Nepal, Nepal Dalit Shramik Morcha and Naba Nepal Prajatantrik Dal-- have fielded only one candidate each.
Meanwhile, two districts in the mountainous region with only one constituency each -- Manang and Mustang -- and Sarlahi Constituency No. 6 have just three candidates each, from Nepali Congress, UML and Maoist.
EC to ask parties to correct closed lists
While scrutinizing the closed lists of candidates submitted by 39 major and fringe political
parties for contesting 335 seats under the proportional electoral system, the EC has found that almost all the parties have failed to meet given requirements.
According to a source at the EC, no party in the seven-party alliance and no other party except the Samajbadi Prajatantrik Janata Party Nepal (SPJPN), has made its list inclusive or produced the required documents at the EC while submitting the closed list of candidates on February 20.
However, the SPJPN led by former CPN-UML parliamentarian Prem Bahadur Singh, who deserted the party following the royal coup on February 1, 2005 to form his own party, has met the necessary criteria, while submitting a closed list of 129 candidates.
As per the already published election schedule, the EC is set to inform the political parties to make necessary corrections in their lists from Wednesday and resubmit the lists at the EC by March 5.
Thereafter, the EC will make the lists public and invite all interested people to lodge complaints, if any, against the candidates.
The EC will then carry out necessary exercises related to challenges, scrutiny and deletion of ames from the closed lists and publish the final lists of candidates under the PR system and provide election symbols on March 25.
- Bishnu Budhathoki /ekantipur

Monday, February 25, 2008

Case filed over drug making negligence

Dr. Kiran Jung Kunwar filed a case against Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited and its super-distributor Amarawati International Private Limited Sunday for showing negligence in the manufacturing of Cilanem, a sensitive drug used for multi-drug resistant microbes.Doctors had traced a glass pellet of thumbnail size in a vile containing the drug three months back.The case was filed through Consumers Benefit Protection Forum at the Department of Drug Administration (DDA).The Multinational Pharmaceutical Company, Ranbaxy committed sheer negligence while manufacturing the most important drug Cilanem used for the patients undergoing treatment at the Intensive Care Unite (ICU) and Coronary Care Unit (CCU), Dr. Kunwar told a press conference .Dr. Kunwar has been working at the Om Hospital and Research Centre.
SC withdraws fine on lawyer Khanal
The Supreme Court has decided to withdraw its February 6 decision to fine lawyer Dhananjaya Khanal for bringing a frivolous writ petition. While quashing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Khanal, Justices Balram KC and Gauri Dhakal had pronounced a fine of Rs 5 on Khanal. However, the judges, in the full text of the verdict of the petition prepared on Sunday, ruled otherwise. The judges said in the full text verdict, "Though the bench concluded it would slap the legal cost on the petitioner as a token of punishment, the petitioner be exempted from the fine as he is a lawyer." However, the bench warned the lawyer not to produce frivolous writ petitions in future. The decision to fine the lawyer, the first of its kind in Nepali judiciary, had drawn criticism from the lawyers' community.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Govt, protesters violating human rights, says NHRC

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) flayed the government and the agitating groups in Tarai for causing worst human rights situation in 11 Tarai districts. The districts are Bara, Parsa, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari, Dhanusha, Saptari, Siraha, Morang, Sunsari and Banke, where Commission monitored the human rights situation.Releasing a report on its human rights assessment in the Tarai districts, the NHRC said that the life in these districts has become more difficult and same problem has also been created in Kathmandu valley.The rights body said that various criminal groups were active to make the situation more difficult as they are involved in activities like killing, abducting, threatening and bombing the houses of individuals. During the last two months, two people were killed in Tarai.The report also said that such insecurity in Tarai districts pushes public servants to demand transfer to safest area and the local businessmen, educational institutes, industries have been clearly facing trouble and the daily wages labours have also been suffering due to activities of the criminal groups. According to the NHRC, the rights activists and journalists have also been facing threat to carry out their duties.“The contradicting activities of the activists of Seven Party Alliance, human rights activists and professionals created confusion over whether or not the election will be held,” the report said. The people in the Tarai districts have also been facing trouble to get service as the VDC secretaries in several districts have been halting their services since the last few months.The NHRC also called the government to resolve Tarai crisis by holding talks with the political parties and agitating Tarai groups and called not use excessive force on the agitating groups. It has also called the government not to illegally search the houses of individuals and to be sensitive about women, children and aged people.Calling the government and the Maoists to implement the comprehensive peace accord, the NHRC called to implement report on Gaur incident and create a conducive environment in order to provide rights situation in the country. The NHRC suggested the government to provide enough supply of basic needs to ensure the life of the common people. The NHRC also called to declare the schools as zone of peace and the right of the students to get education should not be hindered at any cost. The NHRC called political parties not to press law enforcement agencies while handling cases.
Show cause issued on Upper Karnali deal
The Supreme Court on Friday issued a show cause notice to the government regarding the latter's agreement with India's GMR Energy Ltd on the 300 MW Upper Karnali Hydroelectric Project.
Besides, the Supreme Court said that it would hold a discussion on March 7 on whether the implementation of the agreement should be stayed, as demanded by writ petitioners Gorakh Bahadur B.C of Kalikot and Ram Singh Rawal of Surkhet, while summoning the defendants to be present before it on that day.
B.C. and Rawal moved the court with a Public Interest litigation (PIL), accusing the government of violating Article 156 (1) (2) (D) and (3) of the Interim Constitution while awarding the project to GMR early this year.
They argued that the constitutional provisions require an approval from a two-third majority of the lawmakers in the parliament prior to inking any agreement on natural resources, but the Upper Karnali agreement was signed without meeting the constitutional requirements.
Justice Balram KC passed the order after an initial hearing on Friday.
Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, Ministry of Finance, Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Means, Parliamentary Finance Committee and Department of Electricity Development have been made defendants in the case.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Explain why Dr Amit was deported : SC

The Supreme Court issued show cause notices to the government authorities demanding explanation as to why Dr Amit Kumar, leader of the gang allegedly involved in trade in human kidneys, was deported to India without being prosecuted here in Nepali courts.A single bench of Justice Ram Kumar Prasad Shaha issued show cause notices to the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet and the Ministry of Home Affairs demanding written explanation on the issue in 15 days.The court order came as a response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Subodh Man Napit.In his petition, Napit had challenged deportation of the doctor who was arrested from Chitwan on February 7 on the basis of the Red Corner notice issued by the Interpol.The petitioner had demanded the apex court’s order to the authorities to make public the reasons why the government authorities handed him over to the Indian authorities.Police, while arresting him at Chitwan, had seized a large amount of foreign currency from Dr Kumar. Possession of foreign currency is an illegal act and the petitioner claimed that Dr Kumar’s deportation without prosecuting him in Nepal was an illegal act on the part of the government.

SC moved against Upper Karnali project

A writ petition was filed today at the Supreme Court challenging the government’s decision on the Upper Karnali hydro-electricity project claiming that the government signed the contract by violating the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007.Gorakh Bahadur BC, permanent resident of Meyalgudi VDC-9, Kalikot District, and Ram Singh Rawal, permanent resident of Latikoili VDC-8, Surkhet, jointly filed the petition on Monday.The Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet, Ministries of Water Resources, Science and Technology, Environment, and Finance and the parliamentary committee on Natural Resources and Finance, the Electricity Development Department, the Nepal Electricity Authority and the GMR Limited, Hyderabad, India, are the defendants in the case.The petitioners have claimed that the government signed an agreement on the Upper Karnali project, but information regarding the project has not been made public.“The government has been hiding information on the Environmental Impact Assessment of the project,” they said.
CA Court Seeks Funds, Staff

Now that the process for the Constituent Assembly election has formally begun, the newly formed CA court on Wednesday asked the finance ministry to manage staff and funds for its daily operations.Registrar of the CA court Nahakul Subedi on Wednesday made this demand during a meeting with Bidhyadhar Mallik secretary at the finance ministry.Secretary Mallik suggested the court registrar to manage operations in the court in a simple manner and not expect huge funds from the ministry.Subedi said the CA court will be established on the Supreme Court premises and cases will be heard by the bench of the CA court judges, who will also continue to work as the SC justices.The CA Court will begin its function to decide on cases because the process of the CA election has already begun with the political parties on Wednesday filing a closed list of candidates for the proportionate representation election system on Wednesday.The CA Court will look into the disputes regarding CA election and decide about the qualification of the candidates. The CA Court is the final authority to decide on cases relating to the CA.
Disappearance bill on anvil
The government is making preparations to introduce through ordinance an anti-disappearance law and a commission on disappearances, something not desired by national and international human rights organizations.
According to a highly-placed government source, a draft prepared by the Home Ministry after the December 7, 2007 agreement among the seven parties was recently sent to the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction and the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs for their reactions.
A draft of the ordinance obtained by the Post proposes a five-member commission on enforced disappearances but does not treat the act of disappearance as a crime. This means that the proposed draft ordinance does not fully comply with the June 1, 2007 Supreme Court ruling.
In a landmark verdict then on enforced disappearances, the apex court had issued strictures to the government requiring an act of disappearance to be
treated as a crime under any proposed anti-disappearance law.
"If such a law emphasizes only the investigation and does not treat the act of disappearance as a crime, it is useless," said advocate Govinda Bandi, a member of the Detainee Probe Committee which was formed by the Supreme Court and which had helped the court to pass the June 1 verdict.
This is the fourth time the government has prepared the draft of an anti-disappearance law. Earlier efforts aborted after vehement criticism from both national and international human rights organizations.
The present move also has evoked concern at international human rights organizations like the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an organization working for justice and human rights.
In a statement issued from Geneva, ICJ urged the government Wednesday not to introduce through ordinance any law relating to a Disappearance Commission or a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
"…a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Disappearances Commission are adopted through regular democratic legislative processes and are not adopted by ordinance," ICJ said in the statement.
Besides, it has suggested the government adopt such legislation following broad-based national consultations and after meeting Nepal's rights obligations.
ICJ further added that introduction of such laws via ordinance violates the Supreme Court's directives and the Interim Parliament's instructions.
The parliament, a couple of months ago, instructed Home Minister Krishna Sitoula to introduce the legislation only after holding extensive consultations.
When asked to comment on the government's latest move to introduce anti-disappearance law, a senior Home Ministry official who preferred anonymity simply said, "We prepared the ordinance as per the agreement of the seven parties."

By Kiran Chapagain/ekantipur

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

ICJ concerned about lack of rule of law here

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) urged the Nepali authorities to address the pressing public security concerns and the many rule of law issues that have arisen after the parallel system of Maoist ‘people’s courts’ stopped functioning.“Lack of clarity in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) as to which mechanisms were to be put in place to ensure the full implementation of the provisions on dissolving parallel judicial systems has been a major obstacle to bring justice to those whose cases were pending before Maoist “people’s courts” or who had been victimised under the Maoist system,” the ICJ press release issued here today said.The ICJ has expressed concern about the lack of mechanism replacing the Maoist-run people’s courts.“More than a year has passed since the CPA directed against any ‘parallel structure’, but no mechanisms or procedures have been put in place to ensure the many cases affected by functioning of the ‘people’s court’,” the statement said.The ICJ has also said that an advisory panel of experts could be constituted to start drawing up guidelines and help restore a sense of rule of law.“Particular attention should be drawn to the restoration of the rule of law in the Tarai region where the police remain largely absent in rural areas and the work of courts is often disrupted due to threats to civil servants, including court officials and public prosecutors,” the ICJ said.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

SC seeks explanation on third statute amendment

The Supreme Court demanded written explanations from the government and the parliament on the third amendment to the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007.
A single bench of justice Sharada Shrestha issued show cause notices to the authorities, responding to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that was registered in the apex court on February 10. The apex court gave a 15-day deadline to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, the Parliament and the cabinet to submit written explanations.
The bench issued the order following initial hearing on the PIL. Advocate Achyut Prasad Kharel had registered the PIL questioning the amendment that also prohibits the pro-royalist parties from launch programmes in favour of constitutional monarchy. During monday’s hearing, senior advocate Ganesh Raj Sharma and advocate Balkrishna Neupane demanded that the apex court scrap the amendment.“The Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) violated the rights of the sovereign people and declared the country a republic without taking the mandate of the people,” the PIL stated.
Claiming that the amendment contradicts with Article 141 (2) of the Constitution, Kharel has sought the apex court order to scrap the amendment on Article 159 of the Constitution.
“The SPA government has prevented political parties from launching campaigns in favour of constitutional monarchy, multi-party democracy and human rights. This is against Article 141(2) of the Constitution,” it stated.
The Article reads: “Any law, arrangement or decision, which allows for participation or involvement of a single political party or persons having a single political ideology, philosophy or programme in the elections, political system of the country or conduct of State Affairs shall be considered inconsistent with this Constitution and shall ipso facto be void.”

Saturday, February 16, 2008

NRB case verdict postponed till Sunday
The Special Court failed to issue a verdict saying the judges were still scouring through the documents related to the corruption case against Governor of the Nepal Rastra Bank Bijaya Nath Bhattarai and Executive Director Surendra Man Pradhan.A three-member bench of judges Bhoopdhoj Adhikary, Komal Nath Sharma and Cholendra SJB Rana said the judges were still analysing the case.
This is the sixth time the verdict of the case was postponed without any reason even after gathering all necessary evidences and documents. The bench has told the court authority to produce the case on Sunday.Registrar of the Special Court Lekhnath Paudel, however, expressed ignorance over whether the bench would pronounce its verdict on Sunday.
The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed the corruption case against Bhattarai and Pradhan accusing them of causing a loss of Rs 30 million by terminating the contract signed with the IEF INC. Lloyd Hill Oakton, USA in Association of KPMG, Sri Lanka.

Friday, February 15, 2008

SC not obliged to settle all cases

Making a three-month-old verdict public, the Supreme Court (SC) said today that it is not bound to settle all issues related with the “constitution and law.”Responding to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Chandra Kanta Gyawali, a single bench of Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri had issued the verdict.The advocate had moved the Supreme Court, demanding its order to the government to conduct a study on restructuring of the state.

“Every issue to be decided by a court of law should have judicially manageable standard,” the text stated.“The court decides a case when there is a guarantee that its verdict will be enforced.”The apex court said the formation of a state-restructuring commission is the sole prerogative of the government and there is no need for the apex court to order the government to set up such a commission.“The formation of such a commission and determination of service condition of members of the commission is a political issue,” the bench maintained.The petitioner had moved the court, stating that though the formation of the commission is a must as per Article 138 of the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007, the government was yet to initiate a process in this regard.“Involvement of the apex court in every political issue would not help develop a healthy political environment. This would give rise to frustration towards the political system,” the verdict further stated.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hearing on Sobhraj’s plea delayed

Supreme Court justices today refused to hear an appeal filed by alleged international serialkiller Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj.The appeal was produced in a division bench of justices Kalyan Shrestha and Ram Kumar Prasad Shaha. “The justices said that the case is serious and they are yet to read all documents of the case, which date to 1975,” Sobhraj’s lawyer Raja Ram Dhakal told.The bench was supposed to reopen the fake passport possession case. The Kathmandu District Court and the Patan Appellate Court had quashed the case, citing lack of evidence. The case charged Sobhraj with entering Nepal in 1975 by showing a forged passport.The apex court had decided to reopen the fake passport case against Sobhraj on December 19, saying it is linked with the murder of American national Connie Jo Bronzich and Canadian national Laurent Armond Carriere.“After their assistant read out the text of the case, the justices put off the hearing,” Dhakal said. “The justices said they were not ready to hear the case because they had not read relevant documents,” Dhakal added.Former attorney-general Badri Bahadur Karki, Dhakal and Ram Bandhu Sharma had attended the court to defend Sobhraj. Deputy government attorney Brajesh Pyakurel and advocates Dr Rajit Bhakta Pradhananga and Ambar Khatri were to plead on behalf of the government and the victims.“We are so sad because hearing on the case is being delayed time and time again,” Dhakal said.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

CA court judges sworn in

Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri on Monday administered the oath of office and secrecy to newly appointed Constituent Assembly Court justices Anup Raj Sharma, Top Bahadur Magar and Ram Kumar Prasad Shaha.The cabinet on Sunday appointed the three Supreme Court judges to the CA court to look into disputes regarding the CA polls.Justice Sharma is the head of the court.The Constituent Assembly court will begin its works once the formal programme of the election begins, SC spokesperson Til Prasad Shrestha said, adding that the office of the Constituent Assembly court will be set up on the apex court premises.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Decision on Rayamajhi Report Soon: CIAA

Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), currently in its final stage of analysis of evidence and law against those implicated by the Rayamajhi Commission, said on Sunday it would arrive at a decision soon.The CIAA said it was in the final stage of deciding whether or not to take action against them. "We have been analysing the evidence, the report and the law," Acting Chief Commissioner Lalit Bahadur Limbu said.Speaking at a press conference organised on the eve of its establishment day, he said the CIAA would conclude its year-old responsibility by bringing to justice those who misused the state treasury to suppress the Jana Andolan-II.Stating that it had filed appeals in the apex court challenging the Special Court verdicts, Limbu said the CIAA was not satisfied with the clean chits issued by the Special Court. "Some of them were issued based on technical grounds and most of them were quashed because they were filed beyond the statutory limitation," he added.

PLA was filed Challenging Third amendment to Interim Constitution

Challenging the third amendment to the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007, which declared the nation a republic, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed at the Supreme Court .Advocate Achyut Prasad Kharel filed the petition questioning the third amendment that prohibits royalist parties from launching programmes in favour of continuation of constitutional monarchy in the country.“The Seven-Party Alliance violated the rights of the sovereign people and declared the country a republic without taking the mandate of the people,” the petitioner added. Stating that the amendment contradicts Article 141 (2) of the Constitution, he urged the apex court to scrap the amendment to Article 159 of the Constitution.Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, interim parliament and the cabinet have been made defendants in the petition.The petitioner claimed that the SPA government had created hindrances to prevent political parties from launching campaigns in favour of constitutional monarchy, multi-party democracy and human rights, which is in violation of Article 141(2).“Any law, arrangement or decision, which allows participation or involvement of only a single political party or persons having a single political ideology, philosophy or programme in the elections, political system of the country or conduct of state affairs shall be considered inconsistent with this Constitution and shall ipso facto be void,” Article 141(2) states.Stating that the constitution allows every political party to launch programmes as per their political ideology, the petitioner urged the apex court to intervene on the issue.
CA court formed
The cabinet, on Sunday, has formed the Constitutional Court to hear disputes and complaints regarding the election.
The cabinet formed the court as per the recommendation by the Judicial Council.
Anup Raj Sharma, a Supreme Court judge will head the court. The court will include two members – Tapa Bahadur Magar and Ram Kumar Prasad Shah – both of whom are judges at the apex court.
Nahakul Subedi, co-registrar at the Council, has been appointed as registrar at the Constitutional Court.
The Constitutional Court has been formed as per the special act passed by the parliament.
Lawyers’ meet adopts 13-point declaration
Some five hundred lawyers, who had gathered here for a three-day national conference that concluded on Sunday, unanimously decided to be active and committed to ensuring that the April 10 election to a Constituent Assembly (CA) is held in an impartial and fearless manner.
Similarly, the conference adopted a 13-point declaration, mandating Nepal Bar Association (NBA) to advocate constitutionalism, judicial independence, fundamental rights, pluralism, and periodic and competitive election after the CA election.
The conference also recommended that the demands of Madhes and Janajatis be resolved through talks, besides mandating NBA to play a role in mediating between the government and agitating groups.
The lawyers also expressed concern over hindrances to enjoyment of press freedom while urging the concerned parties not to interfere with independence of media.
The commitments expressed in the comprehensive peace accord should be respected by all concerned parties, the conference said in its declaration. Similarly, the conference suggested that all agreements between the government and agitating groups should be implemented completely.
Likewise, lawyers also decided to ask armed groups in the tarai to stop violence, terror and extortion.
Speaking at the concluding session of the conference, NBA President Bishwa Kant Mainali said that the April-10 election should not be postponed under the pretext of security. "Elections have been held even in countries worst hit by conflicts," Mainali said.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Lawyers meet in Baglung
Around four hundred lawyers from across the country have gathered here for a three-day national conference to discuss agendas that Nepal Bar Association (NBA) would recommend to the Constituent Assembly to be formed after the election on April 10.
Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri inaugurated the conference amidst a program here on Friday. On the occasion, Giri said that the success of the proposed federalism would depend on the structure and power of the judiciary.
"The issue pertaining to the structure and the power of the judiciary under federalism is very sensitive. And the success of the federalism largely depends on the structure and the power of the judiciary," the Chief Justice said while inaugurating the national conference here.
The Chief Justice further said that attention should be given to ensure independence of the judiciary right from the time of drafting a new constitution.
Giri also asked participating lawyers to pass a resolution to make justice inexpensive, accessible and effective.
Fined for filing 'unnecessary' writ petition

Supreme Court (SC) slapped a fine of Rs. 5 on advocate Dhananjaya Khanal saying he filed a writ petition just to gain 'cheap popularity' in the name of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) rather than being serious on the issue and following proper norms of the writ procedures. The court for the first time issued such kind of verdict on the PIL.Issuing the verdict in response to a writ petition demanding information about the treaties signed between Nepal and India, a division bench of justices Balram KC and Gauri Dhakal Wednesday said the bench slapped the fine to mitigate unnecessary litigation which really wastes the court's time rather than being genuine in their nature and gravity, joint registrar of the SC Hemanta Rawal cited the Court's ruling."It will be a moral lesson for the citizens and other activists to raise genuine issue while knocking the door regarding public interest litigation,� Rawal cited the verdict.The petitioner has also failed to point out what kind of treaties and its dates while seeking court order and the norms and conditions to be followed while filing writ petition at the court, the court said. "Such kind of unnecessary litigation, on the one hand wastes the time of the court and its staff and on the other it becomes a cause of delay on the cases of other people who are seeking prompt justice.�

Kidney kingpin may get up to 10 years jail

If prosecuted in a Nepali court, alleged kidney smuggler Dr Amit Kumar, would face charges under Human Body Organ Transplant (Regulation and Prohibition) Act 1998 or Human Trafficking (Control) Act 2007.If convicted under either of these Acts, he may face up to 10-year jail sentence and Rs 2 lakh as fine, in the charge of racketing human bodies.Upendra Kanta Aryal, SSP of Metropolitan Police Circle Kathmandu, said today that Nepal Police has been investigating Kumar’s crime under the Human Body Organ Transplant (Regulation and Prohibition) Act 1998.Criminal lawyers, however, said such a kidney racket kingpin can be prosecuted under 1998 or 2007 Act and Kumar can also be prosecuted in possession of foreign currency in Nepal illegally. “He can be prosecuted under foreign currency possession case too since one cannot possess foreign currency without prior approval from Nepali authorities,” Criminologist Dr Rajit Bhakta Pradhananga said.Upon arrest the police had seized Euro 1,45,00, $18,900 and a draft worth Indian Rs 9,36,000 from the kingpin.Dr Pradhananga also added that Kumar deserves prosecution in Nepal rather than extradition to India.Kathmandu District Government Attorney Surendra Thapa said that he would decide whether or not to prosecute Kumar in Nepal once the police submits its preliminary investigation of this case.

Sobhraj’s lawyer writes to CJ for speedy trial

Suspected international serial killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj’s French lawyer, Isabelle Countant Peyre, today wrote to Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri, seeking speedy trial of her client’s case in the Supreme Court.Emphasising on his release, she defended her client as innocent and said that thecase against him is entirely fabricated.“I hereby respectfully ask for justice from the honourable justices of the SC, on behalf of Sobhraj and his family, and request that a just verdict be given for his quick release,” the letter stated. “Given the absence of the slightest material evidence, the first two verdicts, pronounced by the Kathmandu District Court and by the Appellate Court, sentenced him to life imprisonment without calling in a single witness and on the basis of flimsy grounds , she claimed.“My client submitted his appeal two years ago to the SC presided by your honour, hoping that justice would prevail at last and that he be allowed to go back to his family,” the letter stated. “I have, as a protective measure, informed the United Nations Committee for Human Rights of Charles Sobhraj’s situation,” she added.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Shivpuri case: Experts analysing evidence

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is expecting suggestions from the visiting foreign forensic experts on whether to dig up the Shivpuri area for evidence.
The rights body is expected to decide whether to dig up the site after getting preliminary report from the visiting forensic experts on controversial Shivpuri human bodies buried case. The NHRC is expected to get the report within next ten days.
“After their recommendation we will decide what steps to be taken further,” NHRC member Gauri Pradhan told .
Finnish forensic experts Ranta Helena and Saukko Bikko have currently been analysing the testimonies found in the Shivpuri area after their preliminarily examination of the site. They had arrived Kathmandu on Sunday.
According to Pradhan, they are currently busy on technical work with the assistant of domestic experts’ team lead by Dr Harihar Wosti.
The NHRC had invited the forensic experts to investigate the Shivpuri area on suspicion that 49 Maoists’ cadre disappeared from the Maharajgunj-based Bhairav Nath Battalian of the Nepal Army were killed and buried in the area.
While the technical team has authority to decide whether or not to exhume the suspected site, the NHRC would endorse its decision.
“They are free to decide the steps to be taken further in this case. We will only endorse their decision,” Pradhan added.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

CJ stresses on media-judiciary interaction
Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri has said Supreme Court would soon initiate projects to improve the relation between judiciary and media so as the deliver right information about decisions in court to the general people.
Addressing the inaugural session of the legal best reporting training organised by Freedom Forum in the capital Wednesday, Giri said the regular interaction between media and judiciary was essential for promoting human rights and civil liberties in transitional phase.
Former attorney general Badri Bahadur Karki said journalists writing news on legal issues have to be more responsible in disseminating correct information, adding that court reporting in Nepal has been minimal.
Former president of Nepal Bar Association Shambhu Thapa said the journalists must distinguish between legal and judicial aspects of the any verdicts given by the court while writing news.
Senior journalist Harihar Birahi, Gokul Pokhrel, president of Press Chautari Bal Krishna Chapagain, chairman of Freedom Forum Tara Nath Dahal highlighted the importance of court reporting in Nepal and necessity for improving the relation between media and judiciary.
Nepali among three convicted by India court for 1999 IA hijack

A court in India has sentenced three persons, including a Nepali national, to life imprisonment for their involvement in the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane in 1999, according to Reuters.
A court in the Indian state of Punjab Tuesday jailed Abdul Latif and Dalip Bhujail, both Indian nationals, and Yusuf Nepali, from Nepal, were convicted of criminal conspiracy and murder following an eight-year trial, the agency quoted B.S. Sodhi, their lawyer, as saying.
The court in Patiala said the men, who are known by several aliases, supplied weapons and fake passports to the hijackers.
Five armed men hijacked the Airbus A-300 carrying 189 passengers and crew between Kathmandu and New Delhi on Christmas Eve in 1999. The plane touched down in western India, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates before landing in Kandahar in Afghanistan.
The hijackers killed one passenger early in the week-long stand-off, but the remaining passengers and crew walked free after India released three Kashmir separatist militants from jail.
India said the hijackers were all Pakistani and accused Pakistan's government of complicity in the hijacking, charges it denied. The two neighbours have twice gone to war over who should rule the Himalayan region of Kashmir.
The hijackers fled and have never been caught.
British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, one of the freed militants, was later convicted and sentenced to death by a Pakistani court for his role in the murder in 2002 of Daniel Pearl, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.
The three men convicted on Tuesday will appeal against the judgement, their lawyer said.
SC gives more power to judges, legalizes IT use
A meeting of the Full Court, the apex policy making body of the judiciary, on Tuesday approved more power to chief judges of the appellate courts besides legalizing correspondence via the Internet for judicial purpose.
The meeting took the decision to this effect by amending the existing Supreme Court and Appellate Court Regulations, according to Supreme Court Spokesperson Til Prasad Shrestha.
The meeting decided to give more power to the chief judges of the appellate courts so as to make the administration of justice more effective in the district courts under their respective jurisdiction.
Now the chief judges can regularly monitor, inspect and instruct the district courts under their respective jurisdiction, making the chief judges active and dynamic in their respective regions.
The amendments were introduced in view of the fact that the chief judges have been more dependent on the Supreme Court even for giving direction and monitoring and inspecting performance of the lower courts under their jurisdiction.
In the meantime, the Full Court also decided to include provisions in the Regulations, legalizing correspondence via the Internet for judicial purpose. Earlier, only correspondence via fax and post offices were considered authentic for judicial purpose.
Similarly, the Full Court also decided to give power to Chief Justice to designate judges for the proposed six commercial benches. Preparations are underway to establish commercial benches, Shrestha said.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Lawsuit seeks trial of Maina’s killers in civilian court

A lawsuit was filed through the government attorney’s office at the Kavre district court today, stating that 15-year-old Maina Sunuwar of Kharelthok VDC-6 was murdered after torture at the Panchkhal-based peace mission training centre. The lawsuit has demanded that those accused be tried in a civilian court.A ninth-grader at local Bhagwati secondary school, Maina was held by the then Royal Nepal Army and murdered on February 14, 2004. The “Court of Enquiry Board” formed by the military court had also concluded that Maina was murdered in spite of the existence of the “alternative ways of enquiry”.Maina was allegedly electrocuted and her body was buried on the premises of the peace mission training centre. The then colonel Bobby Khatri of Kathmandu Municipality-33 Gyaneshwor, the then captain Sunil Prasad Adhikari of Kathmandu-3 Bansbari, the then captain Amit Pun of Rupandehi Anandaban VDC-3 and the then major Niranjan Basnet of Dolakha district Makaibari VDC-9 are defendants in the case filed under section 18 of the Act related to Government Court Case 2049.

Friday, February 01, 2008

SC scraps PILs on border issue

Scrapping two separate Public Interest Litigations, the Supreme Court on thrusday said it could not examine the country’s border related issue.
“This is a matter to be settled by the governments because it concerns the Nepali and the Indian governments,” said a single bench of Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha.
“The apex court cannot settle such a case by examining evidences,” Justice Shrestha said.“The apex court only looks into cases of violation of constitutional and legal rights,” he added.
Advocates Ritubarna Baniya, Gopal Bahadur Pokhrel and Kathmandu resident Mohan Bikram Pokhrel had filed a PIL while another resident of Kathmandu, Bijendra Lal Joshi, had filed another PIL.
The petitioners had sought the apex court order to the government authorities to determine the country’s border and end any border-related controversy.
They had sought the apex court order to the Parliament Secretariat, the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet, the Ministry of Land Reform and Management, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Land Reform Department, the District Administration Office-Nawalparasi, the Land Reform Office-Nawalparasi and Survey Office-Nawalparasi.
Judge Shrestha, however, called the journalists to press the government and the parliament in this regard.

SC no to stay on loan default cases

In its order to curtail financial irregularities in the banking sector, the Supreme Court has upheld the authority of the banking institutions to take strong action against the bank loan defaulters.Revealing its full text judgment of May 4 verdict, a division bench of Justices Bala Ram KC and Tahir Ali Ansari also curtailed the authority of appellate courts to issue stay order in favour of bank defaulters. The bench told the lower courts to keep in mind the loss to the banks while settling such cases.The text of judgment was issued while acting on a writ petition filed by Chairman of Fulbari Resort Pyush Bahadur Amatya against the Nepal Rastra Bank, the Nepal Bank Limited and the consortium banks. Amatya Group invested over Rs 600 million 13 years ago in the Fulbari Resort and moved the apex court when the NRB and the consortium banks initiated action against them. The bench also told the Amatya Group to pay back Rs 1.86 billion to the consortium banks.The Rastriya Banijya Bank, which was the lead bank of the consortium, had recommended the Credit Information Bureau (CIB) to blacklist the Amatya Group following several calls to the group to clear the loan in 2004 as per Clause 88 of the Nepal Rastra Bank Act 2058. However, challenging the CIB’s decision to blacklist it, the group moved apex court.The bench observed that issuance of a stay order in favour of bank defaulters made the apex court more sensitive.“The Appellate Court issued stay orders without analysing balance of convenience and without caring for the loss to the affected party,” the text stated.Stating that issuance of a stay order encourages the defaulters not to pay back the loans, the bench told the court of appeals to be sensitive while issuing stay order.

Ananta Raj Luitel/ himalayatimes

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sobhraj fake passport hearing on Feb 13

The Supreme Court will reopen the fake passport possession case against alleged international serial killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj on February 13.The apex court has scheduled the hearing for February 13 following the order of a division bench of Justices Anup Raj Sharma and Top Bahadur Magar on December 19.“We expect that the apex court will decide the case soon after its hearing,” Sobhraj’s lawyer Raja Ram Dhakal told .After a long hearing, the bench had decided to reopen the fake passport possession case, which was quashed by the Kathmandu District Court and was upheld by the Patan Appellate Court. The lower courts, however, had convicted Sobhraj of killing American national Connie Jo Bronzich in Nepal in 1975.Stating that Sobhraj’s fake passport possession case is interlinked with the murder case, the apex court had decided to reopen the fake passport case.The prosecutors had filed the case against Sobhraj claiming that he had entered Nepal using fake passport in 1975 and had killed two backpackers Bronzich and Canadian national Laurent Armond Carriere.
Judges to have more power
The Supreme Court (SC) is set to make chief judges of appellate courts more powerful to make administration of justice more effective in appeal courts and the district courts under their respective jurisdiction.
SC Registrar Dr Ram Krishna Timalsena said the amendments are being introduced in the existing Supreme Court and Appellate Court Regulations to incorporate the provisions giving more power to the chief judges.
"We have proposed in the draft regulations that the chief judges can regularly monitor, inspect and instruct the courts under their respective jurisdiction, Dr Timalsena said. "The proposed provisions aim at making the appellate court chief judges active and dynamic in their respective region."
The move has been taken upon the realization that the chief judges have not been as active and dynamic as they should have been. Besides, they have been more dependent on the Supreme Court for any decision to give direction, and for monitoring and inspecting performance of the lower courts under their jurisdiction.
Each appellate court has certain number of district courts under its jurisdiction. There are 16 appellate courts across the country, and the number of district courts under the jurisdiction of a particular appellate court varies. There are 75 district courts.
The regulations will be effective after an endorsement by the Full Court, the apex policy-making body of the judiciary, which is headed by Chief Justice.
In the meantime, efforts are underway to set up an IT section in each appellate court and district court in order to expedite the judiciary's bid to inter-connect all the courts across the country, according to Dr Timalsena.
The judiciary has planned to computerize all the courts across the country within next three years, according to Deepak Timalsena, IT chief of the Supreme Court.