Justice Hari Karki recuses himself from Dhungel waiver case

Kathmandu, May 27

Hearing of the case filed against the government’s plan to waive the remaining jail sentence of former lawmaker Bal Krishna Dhungel was postponed till tomorrow as one of the justices recused himself from the case.

The case was assigned to division bench of justices Cholendra Shamsher JB Rana and Hari Krishna Karki, but Karki recused himself from the case saying he had provided legal counsel in Dhungel’s case when he was a lawyer, according to petitioner Senior Advocate Dinesh Tripathi.  He had filed the petition at the Supreme Court on Friday seeking prohibition of waiver of former lawmaker Bal Krishna Dhungel’s jail sentence.

Tripathi and his lawyers today met acting Chief Justice Deepak Raj Joshee and urged him to reschedule a hearing today  by issuing a supplementary cause list but Joshee said the case would be listed in tomorrow’s cause list.

Tripathi told the acting CJ that there was urgency to conduct hearing in the case today or else the government could take a decision anytime to waive the remaining jail sentence of Dhungel.

Dhungel, who was convicted of murdering Ujjan Kumar Shrestha, a resident of Okhaldhunga district, has been serving jail sentence in Dillibazar prison. Prison Office, Dillibazar, has recommended waiver of his remaining sentence, saying that he qualifies for waiver as he has already served more than eight years jail sentence (40 per cent of his jail sentence) and has shown good conduct in the jail. If the government waives Dhungel’s jail sentence and the president endorses it, he could walk out of prison on Republic Day.  In his petition, Tripathi stated that since Dhungel was absconding for a long time and issuing threats to justices of the Supreme Court, he did not qualify for waiver.

Dhungel, who was slapped 20-year jail sentence was arrested on October 31 and sent to prison the same day.

Tripathi stated in his petition that murdering somebody even during war amounted to war crime and there could be no waiver or commutation of sentence in such crime. He stated that waiver of sentence could encourage impunity. INSEC has also opposed the government’s plan to waive Dhungel’s jail sentence.