Nepal | April 09, 2020

Full texts of top court verdicts rarely on time

Ram Kumar Kamat

Kathmandu, November 8

The Supreme Court has not been able to prepare full texts of verdicts within the stipulated time in most of the cases, although existing laws stipulate that courts should prepare full texts of verdicts within a month.

Section 131 (6)  of Criminal Procedure (Code) Act stipulates that judges should prepare full texts of verdicts within a month, whereas Section 198 of Civil Procedure (Code) Act stipulates that judges should prepare full texts of verdicts within 21 days.

A recent case of delay in preparation of full text of verdict is the case Ncell had filed against Large Taxpayers’ Office for imposing Rs 62.63 billion as applicable capital gains tax on it for its buyout deal.

It’s been more than two months since August 26 verdict of the apex court in the Ncell case, but the court has not prepared the full text of the verdict.

Senior Advocate Surendra Kumar Mahto said Rule 91 of the SC Rules stipulated that the apex court was mandated to prepare full texts of verdicts within seven days in normal cases and within 15 days in cases where it was supposed to set precedents, but the SC had not been able to do that. “Delay in preparing full texts affects execution of the SC judgment. Justice delayed is justice denied,” he said.

Advocate  Sunil Ranjan Singh told THT that he had filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court two years ago, demanding one window system for flood victims.  However, even one-and-a-half  years after the verdict, the court has not prepared the full text of the verdict.

He said the SC’s failure to prepare full texts of verdicts affected justice delivery. “Those seeking justice can feel that justice was done only after verdict is executed in time and that can happen only when full texts of verdicts are prepared in time,” Singh argued.

Senior Advocate Yadunath Khanal said the SC failed to prepare full texts of verdicts even when there were mandatory provisions for judges to prepare full texts of verdicts within a month.

“The first amendment to the new codes has removed the mandatory provision. Judges must have willpower to prepare full texts within days of verdicts,” he added.

Bhadrakali Pokharel, spokesperson for the SC, said the SC had made progress in recent months to prepare full texts of verdicts, but in some cases, the apex was still not being able to prepare full texts in time mainly due to workload and nature of cases. “Some cases are very complicated because there are conflicting precedents that require justices to do a lot of research and study. District and high court judges can prepare full texts of verdicts quickly because they do not need to analyse precedents in detail,” he said.

He added that the SC had incorporated some provisions in its strategic plan that would help it prepare full texts without much delay. He said the SC had started giving incentives to court officials for doing overtime jobs with the objective of preparing full texts of verdicts without much delay, but it had to scrap the programme due to budgetary crunch.

According to Pokharel, one bench officer can prepare the draft of full texts of 109 verdicts in a year. But there are only 66 bench officers at the apex court and the SC has 11,000 cases to adjudicate, he added.


A version of this article appears in print on November 09, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


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