Legal Development in Nepal

contempt of court

Here is the report by Kiran Chapagain of Kantipur about Supreme Court’s verdict on contempt of court. I am planning to write a small article on this point and we feel that the SC has done a good thing to keep its image clean and not to lose confidence among people. The attempts to tarnish the image of Court is completely unacceptable and such elements must be prosecuted and given appropriate penalty. It will be good when SC starts punishing court officials and staffs involved in corruption as that also keeps the judiciary’s image very clean.

The Supreme Court (SC) on Sunday convicted 17 people on contempt of court charge and slapped three months of imprisonment and Rs 1,000 in fine against them.

The convicts were arrested from the Supreme Court premises on January 17 after they chanted slogans against judges inside the court chamber where a hearing on the case relating to Chamati Land Project was on progress.

“The act of the accused did contempt not only to this bench but also to the independent judiciary of Nepal,” Justices Bal Ram KC and Tap Bahadur Magar said while announcing the punishment.

The Justices ruled that though the jail term for the convicts is three months, two months of the term has been suspended, and won’t be enforced if the convicts show good behavior. The judges said that they would have to serve the term in two installments.

“They be released after 15 days since their arrest. They be then summoned to be present before the court on the 75th day since their arrest. Then they will again be sent to the jail to serve the remaining 15 days of imprisonment. They be sent to the jail for three months if they do not present themselves before the court [on the 75th day],” the judges ordered.

The order means that the convicts will be released after four days (Thursday) since they have already served 11 days in detention.

The court took such a step against the people though they pleaded innocence before the court. The court, however, refuted their plea.

While handing down the verdict, the court also said that no one has the leverage of doing contempt to the judiciary either by writing, speaking or by any means.

“Any act that spreads falsehood against this court is considered criminal contempt,” the bench ruled.

Legal experts said this is the first time the court has found such a large number of people guilty of contempt of court at one time.

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