New criminal, civil codes come into effect

  • Former CJ Regmi says new civil code simplifies language of the General Code

Kathmandu, August 16

Former chief justices Kalyan Shrestha and Khil Raj Regmi who headed the criminal code drafting panel and civil code drafting panel, respectively, said the two codes had introduced timely changes in the general laws and proceedings and had also accepted modern principles of justice. They spoke of the major provisions of the two codes that were enacted last year, but will come into force tomorrow.

Addressing an interaction organised by Nepal Law Society here today, Shrestha said the two codes were important laws as they would touch upon the lives of all citizens from children to elderly people alike. He said the new penal code had increased sentence for serious offences and at the same time introduced the concept of open jail for convicts of minor crimes, parole and probation.

He said the features of the new penal code included increased sentence for serious crimes, criminalisation of enforced disappearance, torture and discrimination, particularly caste discrimination, incorporation of modern principles of criminal justice system, criminalisation of wilful transmission of HIV, extraterritorial jurisdiction for crimes committed in foreign countries but punishable by Nepal laws, penalising malicious prosecution and investigation and adulteration of food. Shrestha said the absconding accused would lose many privileges if they did not face trial.

Former CJ Regmi said one of the reasons for drafting a new civil code was to simplify the language of the existing General Code. “The language of General Code was so complicated that at times I myself would read some sentences four times and would yet not comprehend them,” Regmi said.

“We needed new laws because we were required to introduce some modern concepts in our legal system and amending the old laws would not have served the purpose,” he argued.

Regmi said the new civil code had a provision for settling the right to file a case before the case was filed in the courts because that could save courts’ time and resources.

NLS issued a press release highlighting the major provisions of the two codes. It said the penal code had, for the first time,  criminalised more than 70 acts. NLS said there was provision for providing reasonable compensation to victims of crimes.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said the two codes were drafted carefully for years and if any shortcomings were found in them after they were enforced, the government would be ready to amend them. He said some forces were trying to malign the government by calling the enforcement of the codes as ‘government’s totalitarian act.’

“I spent 14 years in jail for the sake of democracy. Be assured that I can never do anything against democracy,” he said and added that the political forces had to play by the rules.