Kathmandu, March 11
An extended full bench of the Supreme Court today began hearing of the contempt of court cases filed against Dr Govinda KC and managers and journalists of Kantipur daily.
The hearing began in a seven-member extended full bench of the apex court presided over by Chief Justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli. Other members of the bench are justices Om Prakash Mishra, Cholendra Shamsher JB Rana, Deepak Kumar Karki, Kedar Prasad Chalise, Sarada Prasad Ghimire and Tej Bahadur KC.
Contempt of court case against Dr KC was filed by the Supreme Court’s Section Officer Netra Bandhu Paudyal, while the case against Kantipur daily’s Chief Editor Sudheer Sharma, correspondent Krishna Gyawali, Kantipur Media Group’s Chairman Kailash Sirohiya, and board member Swastika Sirohiya was filed by Advocate Toyanath Dhungana.
Arguing before the court on behalf of Paudyal, Senior Advocate Raman Kumar Shrestha said Dr KC made contemptuous remarks against the judiciary and judges of the court and he should be punished for that.
Senior Advocate Shyam Kharel said although Dr KC changed his statement in the court, his statement in a press conference that justice is procured in the court was contemptuous.
Senior Advocate Kumar Regmi also said that Dr KC’s accusation that Chief Justice Parajuli was corrupt was contemptuous.
Arguing on behalf of Advocate Toyanath Dhungana, Senior Advocate Prakash Bahadur KC said Dr KC made contemptuous remarks when he said that the judiciary had a nexus with mafias.
Petitioner Dhungana pleaded that the court meant judges and not the benches or chairs and Kantipur’s continuous reportage against the judiciary was an obstruction of justice which amounted to contempt of court.
He also said that the order passed to the Press Council Nepal to investigate the reportage of Kantipur daily was in conformity with the relevant laws and that the order could not be interpreted as an attempt to impose pre-censorship against the court.
Dhungana’s lawyer Arun Gyawali said Kantipur’s news reports were against judges’ judicial decision and therefore, they were contemptuous. Senior Advocate Jay Kumar Goit said Kantipur daily’s reports were contemptuous and if the court did not punish the defendants, then it would send a wrong message to the public who might think that the court could not punish the guilty due to fear.
The next hearing of the case has been scheduled for tomorrow.
The decision of this extended full bench on these two cases will be final and the parties to the cases will have no right to file a review petition.
An SC official told THT that as per the provisions of the new Judicial Administration Act, review petition against any verdict delivered by extended full bench of the apex court cannot be filed.
Defendants of both cases will be given a chance to rebut the arguments of the petitioners.
A version of this article appears in print on March 12, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.