Monday, March 17, 2008

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

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