Kathmandu, February 23
Advocate Sunil Pokharel, who is the candidate for the President of Nepal Bar Association from Nepali Congress affiliated Democratic Lawyers Association, said his panel was mainly raising the issue of independence of judiciary which he thought was being threatened of late.
“We are also raising the issue of the government’s desire to centralise powers. The Prime Minister’s Office has brought multiple government bodies, including the Department of Revenue and Department of Money Laundering Investigation under his control. The federal government has introduced a few bills, including police bill in the Parliament proposing to centralise powers in the federal government,” Pokharel said.
Pokharel said the government’s recent action in a habeas corpus case filed on behalf of Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma, who is associated with Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal, was against independence of judiciary. “No one has the authority to disobey court order but in Bishwakarma’s case, the Supreme Court issued the orders multiple times to the government telling it to release him from custody, but the government kept arresting him.”
He said the federal government had brought some bill, including the police bill in violation of the constitutional provisions that gave exclusive powers to the provinces.
Another candidate for NBA President Chandeshor Shrestha, who is associated with Nepal Communist Party (NCP) affiliated National Lawyers Association, said that he would make the weakening role of both judiciary and the NBA as a major election plank. “The NBA which was supposed to play the role of watchdog against anomalies in the judiciary has not been able to do so when the judiciary is badly affected by corruption,” he said and added that if he won the NBA presidency, he would aid the current chief justice crusade against corruption. He said he would also help the judiciary play an dependent and impartial role.
Both Pokharel and Shrestha said they would launch new programmes to increase the professional ability of young lawyers who had acquired modern knowledge but were not getting appropriate opportunities to aid the judiciary. According to Election Officer Borna Bahadu rKarki, there are 10,300 lawyers across the country eligible to vote in the upcoming NBA election.
NBA election scheduled for March 30 will elect a 24 office bearers of the lawyers umbrella association, including one president, seven vice presidents — one in each province — one general secretary, one treasurer, one Dalit member, two Madhesi-Muslim members, two indigenous nationalities, two women, six from open category and one from outside Kathmandu valley.
A version of this article appears in print on February 24, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.