Kathmandu, April 4
Legal experts have said that direct and indirect inferences that the government will scrutinise orders passed by the courts are against the principle of independence of the judiciary.
General Secretary of Nepal Bar Association Khamma Bahadur Khati said the ministers’ recent statements that the interim orders passed by the courts would be scrutinised by the government were against the independence of judiciary.
“We have seen the law minister’s statement reported in the media. How can the government launch an investigation into a sub judice case?” he wondered. Khati said there were standard procedures to deal with judges who violated professional norms. “It seems that attempts are being made to put judiciary under the control of the Parliament,” he said and added that if the government was not happy with certain things that the judiciary had done, then the government should change relevant laws.
“It is okay for the government to seek disclosure of property details of the judges as they are public post holders. It is okay for the government to allow judges to visit foreign countries only with the consent of the government, but it is not okay for the government to scrutinise orders passed by the court in sub judice cases,” he added.
Senior Advocate Purna Man Shakya said the government’s anti-corruption measures should not undermine independence of the judiciary.
“The government can critically evaluate laws and make changes accordingly. If a lower court’s order is erroneous, the higher court can fix it, but the government has no authority to say that certain orders passed by the court were not right,” Shakya added.
If judiciary is easily influenced or intimidated by the executive, then the judges cannot deliver justice and they cannot do justice to citizens,” he said and added only an independent judiciary can protect the citizens from the executive, which is the most powerful organ of the state.
Shakya said independence of the judiciary should be protected all the times or else the judges could not deliver justice. “We should be mindful that sometimes a government falls because of a court verdict. If the judiciary is intimidated by the government then it cannot deliver a verdict that can lead to the fall of a government,” he added.
Senior Advocate Surendra Kumar Mahto said the government must know that the court upholds the rule of law.
He said the court gives reasons for its verdicts and orders and anybody who is dissatisfied with the court’s order and verdict should first read the reasoning behind the order.
“The government cannot investigate a court order and if it does, no judges can independently discharge his/her duties,” he added.
He said if the judges could be influenced or intimidated by the government, then judges cannot protect citizens’ rights.
A version of this article appears in print on April 05, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.