Detention proviso in Military Act challenged in SC

Kathmandu, February 28:

A case was filed in the Supreme Court today against a provision in the Military Act 2007, which allows a commanding officer of the army to keep any army personnel arrested on criminal charge in custody for up to eight days, against the constitutional provision of producing any detainee before a judicial authority within 24 hours of arrest.

Advocates Madhav Kumar Basnet, Lokdhoj Thapa and Binod Phuyal filed a PIL case in the SC challenging Clause 75, sub clauses (2) and (3) of the Military Act, claiming they contradicted with Article 24 (3) of the Constitution.

The sub-clauses of the Military Act allow commanding officer to detain army personnel arrested for criminal offence in detention for up to eight days by producing them before the Chief of Army Staff or Legal Department of the Nepal Army.

The Article 24 (3) of the Constitution states: Every person who is arrested shall be produced before a judicial authority within 24 hours, excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to such authority.

The lawyers claimed that the Military Act violated the fundamental rights of the citizens and sought an apex court order to scrap the provision.

The Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet (PMO), Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Defence Ministry have been made defendants in the case.