Kathmandu, May 14
Attorney General Agni Prasad Kharel said that his administration was facing a challenge to deal with government cases as their number rose by 65 per cent in last five years. Kharel was addressing a press conference at his office today.
AG Kharel said his office was in immediate need of 245 additional government attorneys to handle the heavy workload.
Kharel said recent reforms initiated by his office, particularly the measures to protect government witnesses and to provide allowance to them on the day they have to visit courts to record their statements, had helped the Office of the Attorney General increase its success rate.
He also said that in some cases the provisions of continuous hearing had also helped increase the percentage of success in government cases.
“We have introduced these measures to increase success rate in government cases mainly because in most of the cases we found that the victims who lodged FIRs and the government witnesses turned hostile at a later stage of cases,” Kharel said and added that continuous hearing helped avoid those elements that intimidated or enticed victims to become hostile in the court. “In serious cases, we are trying to record statements of the government witnesses the same day the accused are produced in the court. This will lessen chances of intimidation against the government witnesses,” he argued.
AG Kharel said he had launched efforts to monitor jails and detention centres to ensure that those facilities comply with legal measures and respect the rights of detainees and inmates.
Kharel said that he drew the attention of the authority after he found the jail in Pyuthan crowded. He also said that every jail had at least one juvenile kept along with adult prisoners.
Kharel also pointed out that existing laws did not address the issue of compensation to rape victims if an accused died in course of trial.
Hence, he had forwarded a proposal to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs recommending it to make necessary amendments to the law so that a rape victim could be compensated from the property of the accused, in an event of his/her death during trial.
A version of this article appears in print on May 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.