SC tells government to protect rights of Kumaris

Kathmandu, August 18:

The Supreme Court today directed the government to secure the rights of Kumaris.

Responding to a PIL filed three years ago, a division bench of Justices Bala Ram KC and Top Bahadur Magar said in its mandamus order, “The bench cannot ask the government to allocate funds for Kumaris, but the government should take steps to secure their rights,” according to the verdict.

The bench also directed the government to form a five-member committee to prepare a report on Kumaris. The bench told the government to include representatives of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Guthi Sansthan and a culture expert in the panel.

The panel should hand over its report to the government and the SC within a year, the bench said. It told the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet, the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the National Women Commission to secure rights of Kumaris.

The bench noted that Child Rights Convention and the Interim Constitution have guaranteed minor girls’ rights to education and health. “Only some Kumaris have been enjoying the rights to education and health,” the bench observed.

On May 9, 2005, advocate Pundevi Maharjan had moved the court, seeking the apex court’s intervention to protect the rights of 11 Kumaris of the Kathmandu Valley. The advocate had claimed in her petition that Kumaris had been deprived of the right to move, speech and expression, and secrecy.