Nepal | April 03, 2020

Judges should disclose their property details, says law minister

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, March 19

Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Sher Bahadur Tamang today said he would make it mandatory for judges to disclose their assets.

Speaking at a press conference here today, Tamang said laws would be changed if needed to force judges to disclose their assets.

As per the Judicial Council Act, judges are required to submit their property details at the Judicial Council, which keeps them confidential.

Tamang said the government was in favour of seeking public disclosure of property details of all public post holders – civil servants (from officer level to the highest level) and elected representatives (from ward chairs to the prime minister).

“Transparency is the key to good governance. Once transparency is ensured, no public post holder will dare receive kickbacks,” he added.

He said he would enforce the code of conduct for judges.

Tamang said it was okay for  judges to support particular political views, but their verdicts should be professional and free from political bias. “If this is not the case then we might change the laws to make judges more professional,” he added.

Stating that the current provision for free legal aid was available to those clients who have less than Rs 40,000 annually, the minister said new changes would be introduced to enable victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, Dalits, senior  citizens and people with disabilities to avail of free legal services without needing to show the details of their annual earnings.

The minister also said that his ministry was considering revising the existing laws to introduce stringent punishment for perpetrators of sexual offences. He also said that new laws would be drafted to protect the victims of crime and witnesses.

Asked if the government would allow Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal lawmaker Resham Chaudhary to take oath of office and secrecy, Tamang said an accused was innocent until proven guilty and the government had not taken any decision on the matter yet. He said the government would carefully think about its decision on the matter.

He said the federal government will have to enact 41 new laws. He said that his ministry would prepare the drafts of laws that had to be drafted by his ministry within 10 days. “We have also written to other ministries telling them to send the drafts of laws they are supposed to prepare within 15 days,” he added. The government will have to enact necessary laws before September 20, 2018 to enable citizens enjoy all fundamental rights.

He said his ministry would provide model laws to the provinces and the local levels to help them enact their own laws. The minister said that the government would provide all required resources to the judiciary to enable it to deliver justice promptly. He said his ministry would also sensitise local and provincial representatives and government employees on the provisions of civil and criminal code laws that would come into force from August 17.

Minister Tamang discloses assets

KATHMANDU: Speaking at a press conference organised by his ministry, Tamang declared his and his wife Ushakala Rai’s assets. The minister’s wife is a Provincial Assembly member. As per the property details, the minister has two land plots in Kathmandu Valley and a house built on three ana, three paisa  land at Gokarna. He also has six ana land in Old Baneshwar. He has some land plots in his home district of Sindhupalchowk. He owns 30 tola gold. Tamang said he had taken Rs 70 lakh loan (40 lakh from banks and 30 lakh from individuals). He has a car and a motorcycle. He has shares of various entities worth Rs 15 lakh. His wife owns 150 ropain land in Khotang district, two-and-a-half bigaha land in Dulari of Morang district and one bigaha land in Belbari of the same district. — HNS

A version of this article appears in print on March 20, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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