Local polls a ploy, says ex-SC judge Aryal

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 17:

Retired Supreme Court judge Laxman Prasad Aryal today said the to-be-held municipal polls were nothing but a ploy on part of King Gyanendra to hoodwink the people into thinking democracy was alive at a time when people have actually lost their sovereignty. “It is a ploy because this comes with the intention of curtailing the rights of the people even further,” Aryal claimed. According to him, after the King’s announcement to hold municipal elections within 2062 BS, the King’s motive has become clearer. “He is not ready to withdraw the suspension of the rights of the people,” Aryal added. One of the drafters of the 1990 Constitution, Aryal, also said that the state of emergency had been imposed incorrectly.

“There is a clear cut provision to recommend such imposition from the Council of Minister’s but the King did not follow it while imposing emergency on February 1,” he added. Aryal was speaking at a programme on “State of Emergency and Its Impact on Press Freedom”. The programme was organised by the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), Nepal. On the occasion, the media monitor south Asia report 2004 was also released.

“Now the situation is that the common people (jantako chhoro) cannot become Prime Minister,” he added. “There was no need to impose emergency to tackle the Maoist problem but the King also imposed censorship on the media to muzzle the people,” he added. According to him, emergency cannot be imposed for long-term problems like Maoist insurgency. President of the Nepal Bar Association, Shambhu Thapa, who also spoke on the occasion said that it was a dangerous trend to issue laws through royal speech. “The royal proclamation on February 1 was not intended to impose the state of emergency on the common people or legitimate political parties. But emergency is imposed differently,” he added. He also called on journalists to move the Supreme Court and challenge the illegal curtailing of freedom of the press. President of the Human Rights and Peace Society, Purushottam Dahal, said after the royal proclamation there were no independent bodies, not even the Supreme Court. “Chief Justice Hari Prasad Sharma and chief of National Human Rights Commission, Nayan Bahadur Khatri, have proved to be agents of regressive forces,” he added.

UML flays govt decision on civic polls

Kathmandu: The CPN-UML’s standing committee today flayed the government for announcing

municipal elections within 2062 BS without creating a conducive environment for the same.

The committee meeting, which took place at an undisclosed location, concluded that elections to the 58 municipalities could not be held in a free and fair manner without lifting the emergency, release of detained leaders, cadres and human rights activists and return to full-fledged press freedom. The meeting, attended by eight members of the 15-person standing committee, also condemned the government for appointing regional and zonal administrators,

thus violating principles of decentralisation and democratic norms. The standing committee meeting also appointed Pradip Nepal as the secretary of the office secretariat, according to a press note issued by the party. The Nepal Conservative Party has extended its support to the announcement by the King on holding elections to the municipal corporation, sub-municipal corporations and municipalities. — Agencies