Kathmandu, September 30
The Supreme Court today refused to register a writ petition filed by Local Bodies’ Restructuring Commission member Sunil Ranjan Singh against the government’s decision to convert Ilakas (areas) into local bodies.
Registrar of the Supreme Court Shrikant Paudel attached reasons for the refusal, saying that the writ petition was unclear and Singh had not submitted a decision of the commission to file a case of public interest litigation.
Singh said he would file a petition at the SC against Registrar Paudel’s refusal to register his case. In his petition, Singh has argued that the government revised the terms of reference for the LBRC, telling it to treat Ilakas as main ground for determining the boundaries of the local bodies in violation of the jurisdiction of LBRC, a constitutional commission.
He also argued that Ilakas which were created in 1983 had no constitutional validity and relevance in a republican set up. He has also stated that there were 927 Ilakas during the Panchayat regime and parts of those Ilakas had become municipalities. The petitioner also said in his petition that the government’s decision to convert Ilakas into local bodies was a violation of Article 295 (3) of the constitution as well as Section 171 (2) of Local Self-governance Act, 1992.
The petitioner has further argued that the revision of the ToR at a time when the LBRC was about to finalise its assigned task would mean it would have to start its work from scratch and this would adversely affect the implementation of the constitution.
Court still undecided over Lal’s appointment
The Supreme Court administration is yet to reach a conclusion on whether or not the appointment of former justice Girish Chandra Lal as the chief of newly formed probe commission was made as per the legal provisions.
According to SC Spokesperson Nahakul Subedi, the SC, when asked by the Ministry of Home Affairs to administer the oath of office and secrecy to Lal, wrote back to the ministry, telling it to state under which legal provisions Lal was appointed as the chief of the probe commission.
Subedi said as per the constitutional provision, the former justices of the SC cannot be appointed to the office of benefit.
Subedi said the ministry responded to the SC letter, saying Lal was appointed under Commission of Inquiry Act and the SC was in the process of taking a decision on the matter.
“There are conflicting arguments with some saying appointment in a probe commission is an office of profit and some are arguing against it. The SC is still in the process of reaching a conclusion on the matter,” Subedi said.
Article 132 of the constitution stipulates: Chief Justice and Judges of Supreme Court not to be engaged in any other office: (1) No Chief Justice or Judge of the Supreme Court shall be engaged in or deputed to any office other than that of judge.
Provided that the Government of Nepal may, in consultation with the Judicial Council, depute a judge of the Supreme Court to work concerning judicial inquiry, or to legal or judicial investigation or research for a specified period.
(2) No person who has once held the office of chief justice or a judge of the Supreme Court shall be eligible for appointment to any government office, except as otherwise provided in this constitution.
The government formed probe commission under Justice Lal to investigate into violence and human rights violations committed during the Madhes movement.
A version of this article appears in print on October 01, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.