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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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.

SC withdraws fine………but the question is why?

 

Kantipur today reported this news. It was just a follow up of earlier news. Our blog also highlighted this news and I wrote even an article in this blog supporting the move of Supreme Court. I expressed my displeasure that the fine is so low and in fact, my point was it must have been a higher amount. But kantipur reports that many lawyers, i.e. legal luminary in Nepal critisized the judgement.

The decision to fine the lawyer, the first of its kind in Nepali judiciary, had drawn criticism from the lawyers’ community.

I do not understand why.

may be in response of that criticism, it has been reported now that Supreme Court has decided to withdraw the fine of Rs. 5. It is just an amount of Rs. 5 and may not have that great significance but let’s see the reason of Supreme Court.

“Though the bench concluded it would slap the legal cost on the petitioner as a token of punishment, the petitioner be exempted from the fine as he is a lawyer.”

What does this mean? Is SC saying that there are two classes of people in this country-lawyers and non-lawyers? where lawyers will not and should not be fined for bringing frivolous petitions? Is SC saying that had the petition been filed by any common person, who has not studied law, then, decision to impose Rs. 5 would be justified? If this is so, it is ridiculous. and what about the precedent value of this jusgement? Does this act as stare decisis in future that lawyers will not be fined but common citizens will be. I hope not.

I have nothing personal against the counsel involved in the case but I find SC’s reasons not so pursuasive But still the message is clear that in the future, if you, whether you are lawyer or not, try to abuse the process of law, your petition will deserve the kind of respect it can command-that is outright dismissal and imposition of fine on you.

I hope that the wheels of justice will not face further fabricating petitions in the future after the pronouncement of this judgement.

The Supreme Court has decided to withdraw its February 6 decision to fine lawyer Dhananjaya Khanal for bringing a frivolous writ petition.   While quashing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Khanal, Justices Balram KC and Gauri Dhakal had pronounced a fine of Rs 5 on Khanal. However, the judges, in the full text of the verdict of the petition prepared on Sunday, ruled otherwise.  The judges said in the full text verdict, “Though the bench concluded it would slap the legal cost on the petitioner as a token of punishment, the petitioner be exempted from the fine as he is a lawyer.”  However, the bench warned the lawyer not to produce frivolous writ petitions in future.  The decision to fine the lawyer, the first of its kind in Nepali judiciary, had drawn criticism from the lawyers’ community.

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.

Few Questions about PIL and SC Judgement

Few days ago, I had reported you a News on fine imposed on a lawyer by Supreme Court of Nepal for filing frivolous Public Interest Litigation (PIL). The judgment as reported in the media is a first of its kind in the legal history of Nepal. Today, in this article, I am trying to sum up what is PIL and how it works and some comments about the reported judgement.

PIL is a new concept in common law countries where the matter could be raised in court by only such person who has locus standi. The term locus standi is a Latin maxim and means “the right of a litigant to act or be heard”. It is a very important principle in the legal procedure and only those people who have been affected by alleged violation of law or right can raise the issue before a court. This is commonly accepted principle all over the world, otherwise, any person starts filing any case which he wishes and the whole process of justice delivery becomes redundant as judiciary, simply, will not be able to hear all such cases.

In developing country like India and Nepal, the concept of PIL has deviated from the old principle of locus standi. The credit to expand this principle mainly goes to Indian Judiciary in the decade of late 70s and 80s. The learned justices of Supreme Court of India felt that there are millions of masses who are uneducated and illiterate in India. These are the people who are simply ignorant of the process of law and justice delivery mechanisms prevalent in the country. In such a situation, they felt, the rigorous and stringent principle of law like concept of locus standi at all times will act as a deterrent of justice. So, they created the new concept of PIL (Public Interest Litigation) where any member of public can raise any issue before a court of law in case the alleged omission or acts of executives violates any fundamental rights of general public.

Justice P.N. Bhagwati of Indian Supreme Court, in the following words in the case of People’s Union for Democratic Rights vs. Union of India held,

Public interest litigation is brought before the court not for the purpose of enforcing the right of one individual against another as happens in the case of ordinary litigation, but it is intended to promote and vindicate [the] public interest which demands that violations of constitutional or legal rights of large number[s] of people who are poor, ignorant or in a socially or economically backward position should not go unnoticed and unredressed. No state has the right to tell its citizens that because a large number of cases of the rich are pending in our courts we will not help the poor to come to the courts for seeking justice until the staggering load of cases of people who can afford rich lawyers is disposed off.

That was a very bold attempt and any member-he can be general public, advocate, NGO, member of civil society, journalist, and legal researcher etc- can take the matter to Supreme Court and High Court acting in pro bono publico. There are plenty of Indian Cases where the weapon of PIL has been used to reform criminal justice, to guarantee fundamental rights, to secure humane living conditions, to reduce violence and sexual harassment etc.

So, PIL is a kind of tool to safeguard the rights of people which has been guaranteed by our constitution and can be used for enforcing the Fundamental Right, even of the common layman.

But, virtue and vices; merits and demerits are part of any system and process, and now, people are using PIL for fulfilling their personal gain, and for advancing their publicity and reputation.

The same situation is prevalent in Nepal as well. Nepalese Judiciary has also liberalized its stance on locus standi and unscrupulous elements are taking advantage of that. These days, the courts have to waste a lot of its precious time by dealing/disposing these frivolous PIL. And that is the reason Supreme Court of Nepal imposed monetary penalty on one of such advocates.

If we see Indian scenario, the trend of imposing penalty on such publicity oriented advocate is not new and time and again, the SC of India has imposed monetary penalty on the person who has filed such frivolous petition. Other Indian High Courts have followed the suit to impose find on petitioner though imprisonment to guilty has not been heard yet.

As reported in this website recently, the Supreme Court of India has tried to crack the whip on rising ‘frivolous’ and ‘bogus’ PIL where the SC said time has come for slapping a penalty of Rs. one lakh (In our Nepalese case, Rs. 5 was the penalty) to deter these litigants. The SC of India observed that these bogus petitions have become a ‘nuisance to the court.’

Let us see some of the observations of the Indian Supreme Court below:

“Litigation by way of PIL has become a “brahmashtra” and on all issues PILs are being filed consuming the judicial time needed for regular matters and the situation warranted a tough decision.”

PIL is no longer public interest litigation but has taken a shape of “private interest litigation, publicity interest litigation or paisa income litigation.”

“Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was for weaker section of society those who do not have money. However, it has become nuisance.”

One of the justices on the Bench, Justice Katju said,

“Time has come to curb the practice by imposing huge cost (Take note of this! Huge Cost) on petitioners for filing frivolous petitions which defeated the purpose for which it was evolved. There is a need for strict action otherwise people will not understand. Unless and until we impose penalty of Rs one lakh people will not stop filing frivolous PILs.”

These abovementioned remarks came during the hearing of a bunch of PILs seeking guidelines on premature release of convicts serving life sentence in various jails across the country.

But, bona fide litigants of our country have nothing to fear as the judgement in Nepal and India tries to deter only those whose motive is otherwise than serving public at large.

Now, let us go back to our Nepalese judgement.

The court said the decision to slap the fine on advocate Dhananjaya Khanal was taken on Wednesday to discourage those lawyers who bring PILs before it just for the sake of publicity. It further said that such litigations were wasting the court’s valuable time.

It is absolutely correct what the court has said. No one shall have any right to take the advantage of law in such a way that results an abuse of process of law. If SC has to spend a lot of its time on hearing these bogus petitions, genuine cases that are pending in SC can not be disposed in time. Our Judiciary is already overburdened and these kinds of petitions add the woe on common public.

Advocate Khanal had moved the court with a PIL seeking a court order on the government to give him all documents and treaties pertaining to bilateral relations between Nepal and India.

According to the court, Khanal did not specify what exactly he wanted when he sought such documents and treaties from the concerned government agencies.

Now, it is the duty of Advocate to prove that he is filing the petition for greater public interest and public at large will be benefited if SC passes the order as asked in the plaint. But, I doubt if that was the real motive of Advocate in the given case to serve the countrymen. I really wonder and get puzzled what greater service to the nation can be there if order was passed in favour of petitioner, i.e. a court order on the government to give him all documents and treaties pertaining to bilateral relations between Nepal and India.

So, it was a very valid case where an erring advocate has been penalized. At the time when Indian Courts are imposing fine to the amount of Lakh, the mere Rs. 5 as fine is of course, less than sufficient but it must have sent a clear signal to all those who were thinking to stifle the normal process of justice.

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And Below mentioned are some of the links of Media which reports about various Supreme Court and High Court Judgements from India where these courts imposed fine on persons filing frivolous and vexatious petitions. One of the news shows that Rs. 5, 000 was the penalty imposed by Karnataka High Court long way back in 2002.

Links:

 

http://www.hinduonnet.com/2002/06/01/stories/2002060103860400.htm

http://www.hinduonnet.com/2004/03/15/stories/2004031502971500.htm

http://www.hinduonnet.com/2005/02/11/stories/2005021115710300.htm

http://www.hindu.com/2006/04/12/stories/2006041225550400.htm

http://www.hinduonnet.com/2004/03/15/stories/2004031502971500.htm

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20071003/nation.htm

 

Penalty imposed by SC for Publicity Interest Litigation

I found this piece in Kantipur. Supreme Court has done extremely well to slap a fine on those Advocates who work for the sake of being famous and in quest of their name in Media. I think the advocate has found his name in Nepalese Paper but for bad reason.
I wholeheartedly agree with what SC did but Rs. 5 is very very nominal amount. I understand that SC wanted to send a clear signal of what it will be doing in future if these kinds of activities are repeated by the same advocate or by any other advocates of that kind BUT still, the fine amount could be imposed more than that. The trend of the advocate to file frivolous and fabricated petitions must be discouraged in future as that does not serve any public interest/social interest. Well done SC!!!!
In the first case of its kind in the history of Nepal’s judiciary, the Supreme Court has fined a lawyer with Rs 5 on the charge of bringing what it called a “frivolous and publicity-oriented” public interest litigation (PIL) before it.
The court said the decision to slap the fine on advocate Dhananjaya Khanal was taken on Wednesday to discourage those lawyers who bring PILs before it just for the sake of publicity. It further said that such litigations were wasting the court’s valuable time.

“If we go on entertaining such type of frivolous and publicity-oriented writ petitions, the real litigants waiting for justice will suffer,” Justices Bal Ram KC and Gauri Dhakal said in a verdict slapping the fine.

“PILs are meant for public interest, not for publicity,” they said.

Advocate Khanal had moved the court with a PIL seeking a court order on the government to give him all documents and treaties pertaining to bilateral relations between Nepal and India.

According to the court, Khanal did not specify what exactly he wanted when he sought such documents and treaties from the concerned government agencies.

Though fines on litigants who bring frivolous petitions before courts is very common in India and other countries, it is the first time the court has fined a writ petitioner in Nepal on the charge, a Supreme Court judge said.

Co-spokesperson of the court Hemanta Rawal said the court has noticed in recent times an increasing trend of lawyers bringing frivolous writ petitions just for publicity.

“The court has been spending its time and resources on such writ petitions to date. But now, the bench has attempted to discourage such petitions,” Rawal said.

Mediation resolves cases pending long years

Kiran Chapagain, who is famous for writing legal columns in Kantipur has this news for us.

In this legal story, he shows how the ADR Method (Alternative Dispute Resolution Method) is helping to solve the cases in short time. Being a student of Law and particularly being interested in ADR, I found the News of great significance. Speedy Justice, Justice in Low cost and without many hurdles should be part of our constitutional rights. It’s good that in our country also, judiciary is seeing ADR as alternative and in most of the time, an appropriate mode of resolving disputes. There must be continued efforts to solve the matters by applying other non-litigative ways. You can read the whole story here:

 

 

On a recent Thursday afternoon inside the mediation center at the Supreme Court, advocate Tara Prasad Poudel was urging plaintiffs and defendants of a land case to compromise and resolve their longstanding land dispute.Sitting on one side of an oval-shaped coffee-colored table, Poudel also reminded litigants they had engaged in legal battle for 16 years already and warned that the case might continue for generations if it was not settled. Poudel then asked both sides for possible solutions.

Poudel had hardly finished speaking when Udaya Maya Khatri, a plaintiff, exploded, saying “How can I compromise with them (pointing at two defendants who were sitting at the other end of the table)?”

Then both the plaintiffs and the defendants started trading charges, even in abusive language, as if they were going to fight right there, making the ongoing mediation uncertain. Poudel intervened calmly there and then.

“Perhaps you have heard the story of Safala Devi [who fought land-related legal battles throughout her life and died a couple of years ago, with her cases unfinished.] You might face a similar situation,” Poudel warned.

Finally, Poudel was successful in persuading the parties to compromise. They left the mediation center agreeing to finalize the case in the next sitting.

Many cases are being settled through mediation, as an alternative to the existing practice of resolving disputes inside court chambers by judges. In this practice of dispute settlement, known as court-referred mediation, trained mediators like Poudel facilitate plaintiffs and defendants to resolve dispute referred by courts through bilateral negotiations.

Available data from Kathmandu District Court shows that the practice, which began officially from December 7, 2006, is becoming popular among litigants as an alternative to the traditional method of dispute resolution inside court chambers. Altogether 16 percent of the total cases the court received in the last one year were settled through mediation, according to Krishna Ram Koirala, chief administrator of the court.

Even officials at the mediation center at Patan Appellate Court and the Supreme Court are upbeat with the success of mediation in the very first year of its operation.

According to Ram Prasad Neupane, chief of Patan Appellate Court mediation center, the court referred 162 cases to the center and 26 cases were successfully resolved through mediation in the last one year. Fifteen cases are awaiting settlement. The other remaining cases were returned to the benches for judgment.

Similarly, the Supreme Court mediation center finalized 41 out of 189 cases referred by the court for settlement while 32 are running, according to Prakash Raut, chief of the meditation center.

In general, mediation is more difficult in cases that are in appellate courts and the Supreme Court because parties become more certain of winning the case by the time the cases reach higher courts. “Mediation is more successful when cases are in the district courts since parties are less certain about which way the verdict might go,” says Neupane.

Initiated with initial support of USAID, court-referred mediation is being practiced in all courts across the country in a bid to address chronic backlogs and delay in justice delivery. Besides, the practice is expected to make justice less expensive.

“We have been successful in finalizing cases within three months,” said Raut.

At present, trained mediators comprising lawyers, former judges and court employees, have been providing mediation service free of cost. However, the Supreme Court has recently decided to provide Rs 300 for mediators at the Supreme Court Mediation Center as taxi fare. But mediators at appellate and district courts are not provided even taxi fare.

“We are going to request the government for budget so that we can give some money to mediators for their service,” said Dr Ram Krishna Timalsena, registrar of the Supreme Court.

Efforts are underway to institutionalize the practice. A mediation law is being drafted. “At present, the court can refer cases for mediation only after parties agree to mediation. But once the mediation law comes into effect, courts can impose mediation on litigants,” said mediator and advocate, Raj Kumar Thapa.  Though mediation can save time, effort and money of litigants, people are yet to be adequately educated about the advantages of mediation. “It is urgent that litigants be made aware of the practice and its benefits,” Neupane said. As this scribe met Udaya Maya after her 16-year old case was settled, she said, “Both of  us won, nobody lost as the dispute was settled through bilateral negotiation. We  lost thousands on litigation, but the case was solved in just two sitting,” “She is correct that nobody loses when a case is resolved through mediation,” mediator Poudel said.

CJ stresses on media-judiciary interaction

This Blog post contains some of the recent legal news about Nepalese Law and its development. The first post is about the views expressed by Chief Justice of Nepal Supreme Court where he expressed his views that there should be more interaction between Judiciary and Media. This is indeed a welcome step on the light of some of the media publications in Nepal highlighting corruption in Judiciary. The Right to information of Nepalese people entitle every nepali citizen to know what is state doing including judiciary. Since right to information is part of right of freedom of speech and expression enshrined in our constitution, the steps that judiciary is taking must uphold the letters and spirits of constitution.

The News was published in Nepalnews and can be read here:

Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri has said Supreme Court would soon initiate projects to improve the relation between judiciary and media so as the deliver right information about decisions in court to the general people.

Addressing the inaugural session of reporting training on legal issues organised by Freedom Forum in the capital Wednesday, Giri said that regular interaction between media and judiciary was essential for promoting human rights and civil liberties in the transitional phase.

Former attorney general Badri Bahadur Karki said journalists writing news on legal issues have to be more responsible in disseminating correct information, adding that court reporting in Nepal has been minimal.

Former president of Nepal Bar Association Shambhu Thapa said the journalists must distinguish between legal and judicial aspects of the any verdicts given by the court while writing news.
Senior journalist Harihar Birahi, Gokul Pokhrel, president of Press Chautari Bal Krishna Chapagain, chairman of Freedom Forum Tara Nath Dahal highlighted the importance of court reporting in Nepal and necessity for improving the relation between media and judiciary.

There is one more news published in Kantipur about modernisation of Nepalese Judiciary.

You can read the news here:

SC gives more power to judges, legalizes IT use

A meeting of the Full Court, the apex policy making body of the judiciary, on Tuesday approved more power to chief judges of the appellate courts besides legalizing correspondence via the Internet for judicial purpose.The meeting took the decision to this effect by amending the existing Supreme Court and Appellate Court Regulations, according to Supreme Court Spokesperson Til Prasad Shrestha.

The meeting decided to give more power to the chief judges of the appellate courts so as to make the administration of justice more effective in the district courts under their respective jurisdiction.

Now the chief judges can regularly monitor, inspect and instruct the district courts under their respective jurisdiction, making the chief judges active and dynamic in their respective regions.

The amendments were introduced in view of the fact that the chief judges have been more dependent on the Supreme Court even for giving direction and monitoring and inspecting performance of the lower courts under their jurisdiction.

In the meantime, the Full Court also decided to include provisions in the Regulations, legalizing correspondence via the Internet for judicial purpose. Earlier, only correspondence via fax and post offices were considered authentic for judicial purpose.

Similarly, the Full Court also decided to give power to Chief Justice to designate judges for the proposed six commercial benches. Preparations are underway to establish commercial benches, Shrestha said.

Supreme Court Decision on MP’s Funds

Nepalnews reports here that Supreme Court has stayed the release of 1 Million Rs. to each MP before CA Election. The Report can be read here. But, I did not really understood the logic of SC. Nepalnews Reports that the two judge bench of SC held that the decision of SC is unconstitutional. But, why? on what Constitutional grounds? I wish someone will elaborate on this point.

SC quashes govt decision to give Rs 1 million to MPs

The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed the government’s decision to provide each member of the interim parliament with Rs 1 million for development works in their constituencies.

A bench of justices Anup Raj Sharma and Kalyan Kumar Shrestha made the ruling, asking the government to put on hold the distribution of the money.

A group of lawyers had filed a writ petition challenging the decision to allocate Rs 1 million to MPs under the constituency development programme.

Describing the government’s decision as unconstitutional, the lawyers had argued that the money could be misused during the constituent assembly election.

On Monday, the seven-party Steering Committee had decided to halt the distribution of the money to the MPs until the polls.

Kantipur has also reported the news here. The report of the Kantipur is slightly elaborate and it says that the SC held so on the ground that implementation of the fund would breach the interim constitution as there is no such provision in the statute, and that the lawmakers also do not have specific electoral constituencies.

Terming as “unconstitutional” government’s controversial plan to distribute Rs 1 million to each members of the interim parliament for the constituency development programme, the Supreme Court Wednesday issued an interim order asking the government to immediately put on hold its programme.A division bench of justices Anup Raj Sharma and Kalyan Kumar Shrestha stated that implementation of the fund would breach the interim constitution as there is no such provision in the statute, and that the lawmakers also do not have specific electoral constituencies.

The apex court interim order further states that the fund could also influence the April 10 Constituent Assembly elections.

A group of 11 advocates had filed a writ petition against the programme a few days back.

However, it may be noted that a meeting of the steering committee of the ruling seven-party alliance had on Monday decided to stall the programme till the CA elections take place in the face of mounting criticism from the international community, the Election Commission and the Madhesi agitators.

On Sunday, the Election Commission had also asked the government put off the programme, concluding that it could influence the crucial vote.

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.