ANANTA RAJ LUITEL
KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court has referred a case related to two appellate court judges, who had freed an attempt-to-murder accused by granting bail, to the Judicial Council headed by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi.
Pokhara Appellate Court Judges Dilli Raj Acharya and Raj Kumar Ban had granted bail to Sanjay Kumar Sunar alias Manil, who was accused of attempt-to-murder, on March 1. Sanjay’s accomplice Sambat Sunar, however, is in jail awaiting a trial as per an order from Tanahun District Court.
After examining the bail order, a division bench of Justices Tahir Ali Ansari and Kamal Narayan Das had overturned the Pokhara Appellate Court decision and referred the case to JC for initiating proper action against Judges Acharya and Ban.
Government attorneys had prosecuted Sanjay and Sambat on charge of attempt-to-murder of Raju BK of Aanbu Khaireni, Tanahun, on December 19 last year and sought five to 12 years in jail as per Section 15 of Murder Chapter of Muluki Ain, 1963.
The Pokhara Appellate Court had freed Sanjay on Rs 50,000 bail citing that he did not admit to the crime before the investigating authorities and Sambat, the accomplice, had told the court that Sanjay had not attacked BK with khukuri.
The apex court has held that the judges while freeing Sanjay invoked a provision not suitable in that case and added that the judges should not have granted bail to him as per Section 118(5) of the Court Procedure Chapter of Muluki Ain. The apex court said the case in question was a serious and non-bailable offence.
Stating that the judges had freed Sanjay despite evidences clearly pointing at his involvement in the attempt-to-murder case, the apex court said the judges had taken a selective decision to grant bail to the accused.
JC Secretary Jeewan Hari Adhikary said JC would begin a probe into the case once it received the copy of the judgment. “We will put the agenda before a JC meeting for discussion and an appropriate decision on the case. The judges can even be barred from continuing work,” he added.
According to Adhikary, JC has been investigating into seven such SC recommendations which call for action against lower court judges for their improper judgments.
Judge Acharya, however, defended his order to grant bail and said, “I am surprised that such a recommendation has been made. We did nothing wrong while issuing the order in relation to the case; we exercised our wisdom to deliver justice,” Acharya told this daily over phone from Pokhara. “But nonetheless we will abide by the Supreme Court order and put our viewpoint before JC,” he said.
The apex court had earlier referred a case to the JC in relation to Special Court judges Bhoopdhoj Adhikary (now retired), Komal Nath Sharma and Cholendra SJB Rana who, the apex court said, had ‘illegally’ acquitted former minister JP Gupta.
SC later convicted Gupta of corruption and sent him to jail.