Authorities gear up to implement new criminal, civil codes

Kathmandu, May 19

Office of the Attorney General, Nepal Bar Association, and Nepal Police have intensified their efforts to train human resources to effectively implement new Civil Code and Criminal Code which will come into effect on August 17. The two codes have five acts that will replace 37 old acts including General Code (Muluki Ain).

Spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General Sanjeeb Raj Regmi said his office had trained government attorneys and police officers to play their  new roles effectively after August 17.  He said his office was preparing draft directives to guide the process of crime investigation, pleadings in the court and process of withdrawing government cases.

“These new codes had added new lists of crime such as match fixing, illegal detention and enforced disappearance, besides entrusting the government attorneys with investigating cases under immigration and forest laws. All these things will increase workload on government attorneys, police, lawyers and the courts,” he said and added that the government attorney will have to handle 4,000 to 5,000 cases of other government bodies.

Under the current laws, some cases are investigated by respective government agencies, the responsibility of which will be transferred to government attorneys after August 17.

Other agencies file 4,000 to 5,000 cases annually in which government attorneys do not play any role in the investigation and pleading.

Regmi said the new criminal code had mandated that police could arrest the accused only with the permission of the court. “The only exception to this rule is that the police should prove that there was a risk that the accused could flee or destroy evidence if not urgently arrested and even in this exceptional circumstance, the police should immediately produce the accused before competent authority,” Regmi said and added that the new laws made it mandatory for the  government attorneys to be present with the police in almost all the  proceedings, including arraignments of the accused.

The OAG has 412 government attorneys and will need 50 per cent more attorneys to do the job after August 17.

General Secretary of NBA Khamma Bahadur Khati said his office had been providing fund to all 89 bar units across the country which will aware lawyers about the major changes in the new civil and criminal code. “We are basically telling the lawyers what new provisions of statute of limitations and jurisdiction are and what are the new procedures that the lawyers will have to follow,” he said, adding, “The new laws say that both husband and wife can directly file cases of divorce at the district court. In the existing law, husband is not allowed to file divorce case first at the district court. We are telling lawyers about such changes.”

Spokesperson for Nepali Police Manoj Neupane said his office had been training crime detectives and all police personnel about the changes in criminal law. “By the time the new criminal code comes into effect, we will complete our preparation,” he added.