Civil, penal codes will be revised, says minister

Kathmandu, September 22

Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanhu Bhakta Dhakal said if the new civil and penal codes were found to be deficient in certain provisions, that would be revised.

Addressing the inaugural session of a workshop organised by the Office of the Attorney General on “Laws relating to children and women and their implementation,” Minister Dhakal said the government wanted to address the concerns of all organs, but it was facing difficulties due to lack of resources.

Chief Justice Om Prakash Mishra said the new constitution had protected key women’s rights as fundamental rights but the efficacy of the constitutional provision would be tested in its implementation.

Inspector General of Police Sarbendra Khanal said protecting the rights of women and children was the state’s responsibility and Nepal Police had adopted zero tolerance towards violation of women rights.

Deputy Attorney General KiranPaudel said the new laws deemed people under 18 as children which could pose problems to society as there was a widespread tendency among teenagers below the age of 18 to convert their love affairs into marital relations.

“But when a law is enacted, the authorities charged with enforcing the law, must ensure its implementation,” he added.

Professor ShashiAdhikari presented a paper on the provisions related to women and children’s rights in Nepal’s constitution and their implementation.

Professor Adhikari said although Nepal signed the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women 27 years ago, it still had not adhered to the convention’s provision of non-discrimination.

She said constitutional provisions on citizenship discriminated against women.

Senior Advocate Laxmi Prasad Mainali presented a paper on children’s rights guaranteed by the new penal code.

Mainali said the new constitution guaranteed children’s rights as a fundamental right and the new penal code also incorporated provisions in line with international practices to protect children’s rights.

High Court Judge Tek Prasad Dhungana presented a paper on the provisions related to women in new penal code. He said the new penal code had increased the quantum of sentence for crimes against women and new provisions were incorporated with a view to increasing women’s access to justice.

Over 80 government attorneys, judges, including officers from various ministries and representatives of non-governmental organisations, took part in the programme.