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.