KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court on Thursday gave a clean chit to former Prime Minister and Nepali Congress president Girija Prasad Koirala on contempt of court charge.

Citing his slanderous statements against the apex court, a group of seven lawyers on behalf of Pro-public, an NGO, had lodged a contempt of court charge against Koirala on 16 September 2004. A division bench of Justices Damodar Prasad Sharma and Prem Sharma issued the verdict stating that Koirala’s speech against the SC were directed at making SC an independent and competent judicial body. Insinuating that the SC was influenced by the royal palace, Koirala had publicly stated that the SC be transferred to the then Narayanhiti Royal Palace.

“Since his statements were directed at encouraging independence and competence in the judiciary, his speech should not be taken as an offense,” the bench observed. Koirala had accused the SC of being helpless while responding to his petition against the CIAA, which had asked him to record his statements before the anti-graft body.