Kathmandu, November 8:

Government attorneys today argued that the recently promulgated Media Ordinance has no aim to curtail the rights of the media thus there is no need to issue a stay order barring implementation of the ordinance.

“The legal persons do not have the right to move the court against any law or ordinance because this right, to move the court against any law contradicting the 1990 Constitution, is guaranteed only for a natural person,” Deputy Attorney General Narendra Prasad Pathak argued.

He also claimed that the writ petition cannot stand because several professional organisations, who are not natural persons, have moved the apex court challenging the ordinance.

Pleading before the special bench comprising Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and Justices Kedar Prasad Giri and Sharada Prasad Pundit, Pathak claimed that it was the demand of the time to amend the Media Acts.

He also argued that a government has the same legislative authority to promulgate ordinance as the parliament has to enact laws.

According to Pathak, the Media Ordinance was issued to regulate the press and make them more responsible.

He added that FM stations cannot broadcast news in the country since there is no practise to air news by such radio sations in the world.

Pathak claimed that the ordinance is a result of several reports prepared by successive governments and the parliament which have suggested regulating the FM stations.

The government-hired senior advocate, Kunja Bihari Prasad Singh, claimed that it is not a new thing that the government has promulgated the Media Ordinance because it has promulgated dozens of ordinances earlier.

According to him, the government had issued ordinances to present budgets, for fixing taxes and fines and also replaced the Company Act 2053 through an ordinance, this justifies that the government has the authority to promulgate ordinances.

Singh also urged the apex court not to issue a stay order barring the implementation of the ordinance and in the Kantipur case as there was no ground to do so.

Barring the Press from criticising the Royal Family won’t in any manner curtail the rights of the press, former Attorney General Prem Bahadur Bista said.

This provision, according to him is not a new one because similar provision had been adopted by an ordinance issued by the parliament also.

Media Ordinance ‘no issue’

Kathmandu: Defending the Media Ordinance, a government lawyer told the Supreme Court today that the ordinance had not curtailed the people’s right to gather and receive information.

Lawyer, Kunja Birahi Prasad Singh, citing a report on the agreement between the government and UN on the deployment of RNA personnel for peacekeeping missions, said the report raised the real right to information issue. The report was published on the Novemeber 5 issue of The Himalayan Times.

“THT published a real right to information issue,” the senior advocate said while pleading before the special bench comprising chief justice Dilip Kumar Paudel, justices Kedar Prasad Giri and Sharada Prasad Pundit. The bench is testing the constitutionality of the ordinance.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been disobeying the Supreme Court orders to furnish the copy of the agreement with the UN regarding the peacekeeping missions before the apex court.

About two months ago, the apex court had issued a notice to the ministry to either furnish the copy of the agreement within 15 days or face a contempt of court action. — HNS