Legal Development in Nepal

Contempt of Court: Dristhi Weekly Editor’s Case

Posted in Blogging News, Court, Judicial Activism, Supreme Court of Nepal by nepaleselaw on April 3, 2008

I found a news here. It says about the notice of Supreme Court of Nepal to a weekly Newspaper’s Editor. The Editor is alleged to have written a contemptuous Article over a verdict of Supreme Court of Nepal on NRB Governor Case.

Read the news Below:

Nepal Supreme Court summons Drishti weeklys editor
The Supreme Court (SC) of Nepal has summoned the publisher and editor of Drishti weekly, Shambhu Shrestha, to submit his statement over a news report published in its edition on March 25.
Acting on an application seeking punishment for Shrestha on the charge of contempt of court, Justice Tahir Ali Ansari passed the order after an initial hearing.
According to ekantipur.com, the Nepali weekly, criticised the Supreme Courts March 18 verdict convicting Bijaya Nath Bhattarai, the Governor of the Nepal Rastra Bank and alleged that Justice Ansari had been influenced by financial mafia while passing the judgment.
Shrestha could face imprisonment of up to a year or a fine of up to Rs 10,000 or both, if convicted on the charge of contempt of court on April 4.

About Blog and Blog Author

These days, I am not much able to track all the news about Legal Development in Nepal. With the coming Election, most of the time, I have kept myself busy in updating recent events related to Election and lack of time has hampered me to update this blog constantly. Though the enthusiasm with which I have started this blog has not disappeared, I must confess that I will not be updating this blog with all the legal news now onwards. What I intend to do nowonwards is to update the blog with most important legal news and instead of copying and pasting news from Various sources, I try to give my views more often which does not mean that I will not be collecting news from various sources.

I will collect many news from various sources which are related to legal development in Nepal but will be bit selective to publish them here. It gives me to do some other works as I am pursuing to work on Constitutional matters related to New going to be Constitution in Nepal and allows me to work on some issues of IPR.

I will elaborate on these issues when time comes and will present you some of my works when they are ready.

Keep on visiting!!!!!!!!

Governor Convicted!!!!

Nepalnews reports this recent development here that fomer Nepal Rashtra Bank Governor has been found guilty of financial irregularities by Supreme Court of Nepal and punishment has been imposed on him. We were tracking this news constantly and you can read rest of the stories here. I have no comment on this news as I am not able to read the text of judgments but express my solidarity withdreams of corruption free society. And this is the end of constant following on this corruption case as I have decided to be a bit selective while publishing blog. This issue has been touched in my next entry.

The Supreme Court (SC), Tuesday, decided that governor of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) Bijaya Nath Bhattarai and director Surendra Pradhan are guilty of irregularities.

The single bench of judge Tahir Ali Ansari decided that they are guilty of irregularities worth Rs 3.3 million since they did not initiate steps to obtain compensation from a consulting firm after terminating contract with them in a financial sector reforms programme.

The SC decided that the two should be fined the same amount as penalty.

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed a case against the two for committing irregularities worth around Rs 20 million.

Since the CIAA filed the case against them eight months ago, the two had remained suspended.

Last month, the Special Court had delivered a fractured verdict on the case – with each of the three judges giving different opinions regarding their guilt. Consequently, the case had been referred to the apex court.

SC Clears Path for Upper Karnali Project

This is a news that we were waiting from Supreme Court of Nepal for some days. Though the matter has not been disposed fully, SC of Nepal has refused to give interim stay on the agreement signed by Government of Nepal and a private Indian Company GMR Energy of India. The News is reported here by Kanunisanchar.

I, nowonwards, generally rest my news on this site-Kanunisanchar.com as it collects most of the news as soon as it is pronounced.

If You remember, in this blog post, I had expressed my annoyance in a way PIL was filed as in my opinion, the petitioners are not able to make any such case and had demanded (in the sense expected that) SC must reject the petition for lack of merits. We need to wait and see what SC has to say on its final pronouncement. And it is expected that whatever will be the outcome of the case, it will be surely landmark in the annals of Foreign Investment related laws and constitutional validity of such laws in ‘New Nepal’.

In my earlier blog post, I had posed a question to the petitioners formulated in this way as mentioned below and I still believe that the question is still a valid one to find a simple answer for this case.

 “One simple question to petitioners: Are they going to file Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against government for not making dam and not obstructing the flow of rivers which eventually goes to mix in Bay of Bengal? My learned brothers, please look at there, water-our natural resources- is flowing down to south to foreign land and Our Parliament has not passed any such resolution.”

You can read the Supreme Court report here and is reproduced below:

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.

Man convicted for attempt on CJ’s life

The News is quite straight. I have taken this news from Kantipur which has reported this news here. It seems that  the accused is not satisfied with the judgment and they have of course recourse to arrroach Appellate Court.

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.

The Truth is Judiciary not Independent

The Judiciary of Nepal is not independent, is not effective and is not functioning properly. This is the truth with which all common Nepalese People were aware from long time. Now, it seems that even our judiciary has realised this fact, though bit late.
Kantipur reports here about this news. We just to hope to see effective judiciary in this country to make Democracy and Justice viable in Nepal.

The Supreme Court, while identifying its problems, has said the judiciary has not been independent, competent and effective at par with international standard.
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.

Two Links for Articles

Posted in Blogging News, Human Rights by nepaleselaw on March 4, 2008

Here is one Article published in SSRN.COM. This Article is written on the humanitarian law in Nepal. U can read it here:http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1099427

Another Link is Statement by Richard Bennett Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal, Delivered at the Nepal Bar Association Discussion on Disappearances
3 March 2008, Kathmandu.

U can read the speech here:

http://nepal.ohchr.org/en/resources/Documents/English/statements/HCR/Year2008/2008_03_04_%20Disappearances_meeting_NBA.pdf

Pakistani Lawyer Moves to Supreme Court of Nepal

A little disturbing news, if the contentions of the counsels are proved to be true, has been published by Nepalnews here.
A Pakistani lawyer has moved the Supreme Court (SC) in Nepal against what he called illegal arrest of two Pakistani citizens by the Nepal Police and their subsequent handing over to the Indian authorities about two years ago.
The two Pakistani citizens, Asif Ali and Walid Sajjad, had arrived in Kathmandu to explore business opportunities and were staying in Jagat Hotel, near the tourist hub of Thamel in Kathmandu before being picked up by the Nepal Investigation Department on the night of 12th July 2006 “without any apparent reason” or warrant issued against them. They were then reportedly handed over to the Indian intelligence agency at the Embassy of India in Kathmandu.

C.M. Farooq had filed a case against the illegal arrest of the two at the Supreme Court of Nepal under the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007 on Feb 21. Following which the SC issued a show cause notice, ordering the authorities to produce the two Pakistani citizens in the court

“At the time of their arrest neither were they involved in any case nor had they violated any honorable law of Nepal. They were legally staying in Nepal on legal visa,” Farooq said in a statement issued afterwards.

Farooq said that in spite of all the efforts to release the two innocent Pakistani citizens, the only outcome was the access granted by the Indian Government to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi to have a meeting with Asif Ali.

“It was through that meeting that we came to know Asif Ali was charged/implicated in a fake FIR number 59/2006 New Delhi, with different fake cases registered under sections 121, 121-A/ 122, /123/120-B, Indian Penal Code, 4/5 Explosive Substance Act, 18,2-B/23 Unlawful Activities, and 14 Foreign Act,” he said.

He said that because of shock, the father of Asif Ali had died. He said that Asif Ali was somewhat lucky as he had been located and granted Counsellor Access but his business partner, Walid Sajjad has been neither produced in any court of law nor his whereabouts are known.

“He is probably in the custody of Indian Intelligence agencies,” he said.

The two Pakistani businessmen dealt in readymade garments and used to regularly travel to Bangladesh and the Middle East. They were also said to have been carrying a substantial amount of money for business purposes

The families of the Pakistani businessmen came to know about the arrest of their dear ones through the media in July, 2006, which stated that two Pakistani nationals were arrested on suspicion of involvement in Mumbai train blasts.

OHCHR on Human Rights

Here is a report from Kantipur where OHCHR has called for respect of human Rights in Nepal.
The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has said the existing climate of impunity in Nepal must be transformed into a culture of accountability to bring successful transition to durable peace and development.
In a report, due to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, High Commissioner Louise Arbour has said, “Political will, lacking until now, is essential for such change.”

Arbour in the report further said the state has its obligation to protect the rights of the population to life, liberty and security.

“A coherent program to strengthen and reform security forces is urgently needed. Law enforcement agencies have a special role to play in ensuring the creation of a climate for

elections that are free of fear and intimidation,” the report said.

It said the peace process, including elections, provides a historic opportunity to create a fully inclusive and democratic state.

The report points out that progress toward strengthening national human rights system has been made through appointment of commissioners to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the signing or ratification of several international human rights instruments and promulgation of regulations providing quotas for marginalized groups and women.

“However, respect for and the protection of human rights came under increasing pressure in 2007 as a result of delays in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), together with a worsening security situation in the Terai, resulting in increased violence,” the report states.

OHCHR-Nepal Representative Richard Bennett, said his office is ready to provide all necessary support and technical assistance to achieve necessary progress.

“Strengthening the national human rights system, including support for NHRC and national institutions, will be an essential component of the Office’s strategy to support the process of change in Nepal,” Bennett said.

PM asks SC to drop one million per MP case

Here is a report from Kantipur about Prime Minister Koirala’s request to drop on million per MP Case. I have no access to original words or rather language in Nepali  what exactly PM said but Kantipur reports that PM asked SC to drop the case.

With all the respect that PM deserves, I feel pity on his statement. What is he saying? Does PM think that SC can take any case as it likes and can drop cases at anytime it wants. There is a rule of Law in Nepal where procedural laws must be complied. I think what PM intended to say is that the case must be dismissed by the SC. But, if that is what his intention is, that should come through reply to the case in SC when it is submitted by Government through the office of Attorney General. And the report suggest us that he said this when he replied to show cause notice to SC on the case. I have a very big problem on this matter regarding the procedural aspects of hearing cases where the case is instituted against government. I will elaborate on this further on coming days. For a time being, You can read the news here and below:

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.

Earlier also, we had reported on the development of this case.