Holes in judiciary’s ledger: Judges:Claim the SC accepts donations without MoF’s consent
The judiciary has received hundreds of millions of donation over the years, but has not bothered to make its account book transparent.
The Supreme Court and other agencies of the judiciary have always preferred to remain tight-lipped on this matter.
The apex court gets funds to conduct training, organise programmes to strengthen the rule of law and build the capacity of judges and other court officials.
The court’s official records show that the UNDP, USAID, the ARD-Rule of Law Project, the World Bank and the Asia Foundation are the judiciary’s major donors.
Many judges and lawyers opine that the judiciary should not accept donations from NGOs and INGOs, claiming that this would have a negative bearing on judicial independence influence judges.
The apex court accepts donations without the consent of the Council of Ministers. According to the judges, it is wrong to accept donations without the approval of the Ministry of
The court does not bother to inform high-ranking officials before accepting donations. “The registrar should be informed before accepting donations, but the court has not bothered to do so,” a Supreme Court official claimed.
According to him, they do not know how many programmes were conducted by utilising donations and how much fund has been spent.
Registrar of the National Judicial Academy (NJA) Agni Thapaliya said around 40 programmes are being conducted annually.
Thapaliya, however, said he did not know how much money NJA had received from donors.
The apex court has made public only the donation of a single programme of the fiscal year 2006/07 when it received Rs 35 million under the UNDP’s Pilot Court project. The project was to cover Siraha, Chitwan, Kasti and Kapilvastu district courts.
Last year, the World Bank allocated more than Rs 20 million for setting up commercial benches. Recently, the UNDP had signed an agreement with the judiciary to launch an Rs 130 million access to justice programme.
In the name of reforming the judiciary and empowering judges and the courts, the judiciary receives millions of rupees every year. On top of it, the judiciary also gets vehicles, computers and furniture.
Joint-registrar of the Supreme Court, Binod Sharma, who keeps record for publishing the annual report of the court, accused officials concerned of not providing such information. “Whatever information I got is in the annual report,” Sharma added.
Acting president of the Nepal Bar Association (NBA), Hari Prasad Upreti, said the judiciary should not accept donations.
“Ultimately, such a practice would threaten the independence of the judiciary and its impartiality,” he added.
“The government has to allocate enough budget to the judiciary,” Upreti said.
Registrar of the apex court Dr Ram Krishna Timalsena, however, said since budget earmarked for the judiciary was not sufficient, the Supreme Court had no option except to accept donations from donor agencies.
“Judiciaries of other South Asian countries also accept funds from donor agencies,” Timalsena claimed.