Legal Development in Nepal

Tarai turmoil taxing judiciary

 

Here is a report of Kiran Chapagain from Kantipur where he writes how terai violence has affected the judiciary.

The ongoing political turmoil in the eastern Tarai has started to take a toll on the judiciary, obstructing and delaying court work.Judges and officials at courts of law in the most-affected Tarai districts – Bara, Parsa,

Rautahut, Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha, Sarlahi and Mahottari — said that the conflict has badly affected court-related field work like mapping, serving of subpoenas, implementing verdicts and carrying out investigations.When contacted by the Post to inquire how courts have been impacted by the conflict in the

southern plains, some judges and courts officials said they are encountering difficulties dispensing justice independently as they face frequent threats by litigants acting under cover of the armed Tarai groups.”We have not been able to send hill-origin court staff into the field,” said Krishna Subedi,

chief administrator at Saptari District Court, “As a result, we have not been able to do judicial work on time.”The courts have now begun to rely solely on Madhesi staff for field work, according to

Subedi.However, it is risky even for Madhesi staff to be out alone in the field, says Surya Bahadur

Thapa, chief administrator at Dhanusha District Court. “So we send them out in a team. The team finishes its work at one place and moves on to another.”This, according to Thapa, is not an efficient way of doing things since it causes delay.

A judge from one of the districts said, on condition of anonymity, that the court has not

been able to implement its verdicts for the last three months as none of its staff is ready to go out into the field.The rising threats against hill-origin staff in the Tarai has left many courts severely under

-staffed. Siraha District Court has only 20 staffer as 32 others have gone on deputation in view of the prevailing insecurity.The absence of VDC secretaries from their respective postings, following the killings and

abduction of colleagues by armed groups, has also affected judicial work.”When tamiladars visit the villages to serve subpoenas they hardly ever find the VDC

secretary and this has affected court work,” said Balendra Rupakheti, judge at Mahottari District Court. The VDC secretary certifies that subpoenas have been served on the persons concerned. The presence of a VDC secretary is legally mandatory when a tamildar serves a subpoena.As law and order in the Tarai continues to deteriorate, Nepal Bar Association (NBA) on

Januray 25 submitted a memorandum to Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri drawing his attention to the problem.In an 11-point memorandum to the Chief Justice, NBA demanded that the situation at the

courts in the Tarai be taken seriously and arrangements made to ensure their smooth functioning.

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