Legal Development in Nepal

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.

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Case in Supreme Court on Upper Karnali Hydroelectric Project

I read a news here published by kantipur and for me, this news is deeply annoying and frustrating. I feel that the court must have outrightly rejected the petition citing without merit on the petition. The matter relates to a contract awarded to an Indian Company by the government of Nepal after a competitive bidding process.
As per the news report, the petitioners have claimed in their petition that the contract awarded to the Indian Company is violative of constitution as water, as a natural resources, have been passed to foreign alien without any ratification by the parliament.
The claim of the petitioners is as follows:
B.C. and Rawal moved the court with a Public Interest litigation (PIL), accusing the government of violating Article 156 (1) (2) (D) and (3) of the Interim Constitution while awarding the project to GMR early this year.

They argued that the constitutional provisions require an approval from a two-third majority of the lawmakers in the parliament prior to inking any agreement on natural resources, but the Upper Karnali agreement was signed without meeting the constitutional requirements.

For me, it is simply the abuse of process of law by the petitioners or lack of knowledge of globalised commercial law. What we should understand here is that this is just a commercial contract between government and another party. And, there will be enough safeguards in the contractual agreements between the parties. There are obviously terminating clause in the contract that take care of any such situation when our natural resources are affected. There is no need of making hue and cry and to show nationalistic feelings. We should understand that government has not sold our territory, nor handed over any land/water to the foreigners. It is in plian legal language a lease-in word as well as in substance. There, what is the need of creating obstacles. If we start taking narrow approach, then, it really hampers our development.

“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.”

I feel the petion is plainly vague.

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a show cause notice to the government regarding the latter’s agreement with India’s GMR Energy Ltd on the 300 MW Upper Karnali Hydroelectric Project.
Besides, the Supreme Court said that it would hold a discussion on March 7 on whether the implementation of the agreement should be stayed, as demanded by writ petitioners Gorakh Bahadur B.C of Kalikot and Ram Singh Rawal of Surkhet, while summoning the defendants to be present before it on that day.

B.C. and Rawal moved the court with a Public Interest litigation (PIL), accusing the government of violating Article 156 (1) (2) (D) and (3) of the Interim Constitution while awarding the project to GMR early this year.

They argued that the constitutional provisions require an approval from a two-third majority of the lawmakers in the parliament prior to inking any agreement on natural resources, but the Upper Karnali agreement was signed without meeting the constitutional requirements.

Justice Balram KC passed the order after an initial hearing on Friday.

Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, Ministry of Finance, Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Means, Parliamentary Finance Committee and Department of Electricity Development have been made defendants in the case.

नेपाल टेलिकमको शेयर

This News in Nepali is taken from Nepal Samachar Patra, one of the leading Nepali Newspapers in Nepal. You can access this article here. The matter is about the disputes related to Nepal Telecom Shares Distribution.

नेपाल टेलिकमको शेयर सर्वसाधारणले अधिकतमरूपमा पाऊन् भन्ने सोच सरकारले अघि बढाइरहेको राष्ट्रिय योजना आयोगका एक पदाधिकारीले स्पष्ट पारेका छन्।

आयोगका सदस्य डा. पोषराज पाण्डेले शेयरको मूल्य न्यूनतम ६ सय रुपियाँ तोकिएको सम्बन्धमा हाल अदालतमा सो विषय विचाराधिन रहेकाले केही बोल्न नमिल्ने उल्लेख गर्दै एउटै व्यक्ति वा समूहलाई अत्यधिक शेयर दिनेभन्दा पनि सानो मात्रामा भए पनि सबैलाई शेयर वितरण गर्ने सोच राखिएको बताउनुभयो।

ँसबैको हातमा टेलिकमको शेयर परोस् भन्ने उद्देश्य हामीले पनि राखेका छौं, त्यही अनुसार सरकारले गर्ने सोच पनि बनाएको छ’ -पाण्डेले शुक्रबार योजना आयोगमा सञ्चारकर्मीसँग अन्तरक्रियाको क्रममा भन्नुभयो।

टेलिकमको शेयर सरकारले निजीकरण ऐनअन्तर्गत न्यूनतम प्रतिकित्ता ६ सय रुपियाँ मूल्य तोकेर यही माघ ९ गतेदेखि सर्वसाधारणमा बिक्री गर्नका लागि आह्वानसमेत गरिसकेको छ।

तर सो मूल्य अत्यधिक भएका कारण ठूला लगानीकर्ताको हातमा टेलिकमको शेयर पुग्ने र साना लगानीकर्ताले चाहेर पनि
शेयर किन्न नसक्ने आम गुनासो बढिरहेको छ।

शेयर बढाबढमा बिक्री गर्न गरिएको आह्वानपत्रमा ँशेयर बाँडफाँड गर्दा बढी मूल्य प्रस्ताव गर्नेलाई बाँडफाँड गरिनेछ’ भन्ने उल्लेख भएका कारण सर्वसाधारणले प्रतिकित्ता ६ सय रुपियाँ तिर्न चाहे पनि सो रकममा शेयर पाउन सक्ने सम्भावना अत्यन्तै कम रहेको छ।

एक व्यक्तिले ५ हजार कित्तासम्म आवेदन दिन सक्ने भएका कारण यसमा धनी व्यक्तिकै बोलवाला रहने स्थिति देखिएको छ।

आयोगका सदस्य डा. पाण्डेले आवेदन दिने जति सबैलाई थोरै परिमाण भए पनि दिने गरी बाँडफाँड गरिने बताउनुभए पनि उहाँको यो आश्वासन अहिले सर्वसाधारणको आक्रोशलाई साम्य पार्ने औजार हो या अर्थ मन्त्रालयको वास्तविक रणनीति नै हो भन्नेबारेमा तथ्य भने बाहिर आइसकेको छैन।

उता टेलिकमको शेयरको विषयलाई लिएर उपभोक्ता हित संरक्षण मञ्चको तर्फाट सर्वोच्च अदालतमा परेको रिट निवेदलाई सर्वोच्च अदालतले अग्राधिकार दिएर सोमबार सुनुवाइ गर्ने भएको छ।

अदालतले सोही दिन विपक्षी अर्थ मन्त्रालय, धितोपत्र बोर्ड, नेपाल टेलिकमलगायतलाई समेत बोलाएको छ।

मञ्चले टेलिकमले ग्राहकसँग धरौटीबापत लिएको रकमलाई शेयरमा रूपान्तरण गर्नुपर्ने वा धरौटीबराबरको रकम शेयरमा लगानी गर्नका लागि सुनिश्चितता गर्नुपर्ने माग गर्दै
सर्वोच्च अदालतमा रिट दायर गरेको थियो। मञ्चले प्रतिशेयर एक सय रुपियाँमै शेयर बिक्री गर्नुपर्ने समेत माग गरेको छ।

टेलिकमको सेयरबारे स्पष्टोक्ति

गोपस
काठमाडौँ, माघ ९ गते । सूचना तथा सञ्चार मन्त्रालयले नेपाल टेलिकमको सेयर बिक्री वितरण प्रक्रियाप्रति आफ्नो संलग्नता नरहेको बताएको छ । नेपाल टेलिकम सूचना तथा सञ्चार मन्त्रालय अर्न्तर्गतको संस्थान भए पनि निजीकरण प्रक्रियामा भएकाले अर्थ मन्त्रायको हात रहेको सूचना तथा सञ्चार सचिव युवाज पाण्डेले बताउनुभयो । टेलिकमको पाँच प्रतिशत सेयर कर्मचारीलाई दिने र १० प्रतिशत सेयर र्सवसाधारणका लागि वितरण गर्ने कुरामा सरकारको नीतिगत निर्ण्र्ााभएको हो, त्यसमा सञ्चार मन्त्रालयको सहमति थियो तर सेयर कसरी निष्काशन गर्ने र कतिमा बिक्री गर्ने भन्ने कुरामा निर्ण्र्ाागर्ने अधिकार कानुनले अर्थ मन्त्रालयलाई दिएको छ, सचिव पाण्डेले स्पष्ट पार्नुभयो ।

नेपाल टेलिकममा निजी क्षेत्रलाई सहभागी गराउने उद्देश्य अनुसार सरकारले टेलिकमको सेयरको एक करोड ५० लाख कित्ता सेयर र्सवसाधारण लगानीकर्तालाई बुधबारदेखि खुला गरेको छ । एक सय रुपियाँ अङ्कित दर भएको सेयर खरिदका लागि न्यूनतम छ सय रुपियाँको दरले सेयर किन्नुपर्ने र बढी दरमा सेयर हाल्ने लगानीकर्तालाई सेयर बाँडफाँड गरिने अर्थ मन्त्रालयको नीति रहेको छ । बढाबढमा सेर बिक्री गर्ने अर्थ मन्त्रालयको नीतिले र्सवसाधारण लगानीकर्तालाई लगानीको अवसर नदिएको गुनासो आउन थालेको छ ।