Only 15 pc PIL verdicts being executed

Kathmandu, June 30

Despite the government’s repeated claim of being committed to the rule of law, its record of executing or complying with the Supreme Court’s directives and verdicts passed in public interest litigations remains abysmally low.

According to Director of Judgment Execution Directorate Shiva Kumar Pokharel, out of 246 PIL cases that needed to be executed by the government, only 38 cases (15.45 per cent) have been executed thus far and 208 remain to be executed.

As far as cases of individual interests are concerned, only five out of 1,603 have been executed in the past six years. In most of the PIL cases, the Supreme Court has told the government to enact new laws and policies to ensure people’s fundamental rights, including the right to clean environment, right to health, and right to education.

As per JED data, the Office of the Prime Minister, which was supposed to execute 23 cases, has not executed even a single case.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has 37 cases, the largest number so far, to execute.

Out of 45 cases, the MoHA executed only eight cases; the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology executed only four cases out of 26; the Ministry of Forest and Environment, which was supposed to execute 28 cases, executed only three; the Ministry of Health and Population executed only four out of 22 cases and the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens executed only seven out of 19 cases.

Joint-registrar of the Supreme Court Bimal Paudel said the government’s failure to comply with court orders affected the rule of law.

He said court verdicts/orders were not being executed on time even when all the ministries had judgment execution units and the Office of the Attorney General was mandated to oversee the execution of judgments.

Paudel said the government needed resources and efficient bureaucracy to execute some judgments, particularly those related to people’s social, economic and cultural rights.

Paudel said Senior Citizens Act came into force in 2006 proposing to commute elderly people’s jail term in certain crimes and yet the Department of Prison Management had not implemented the provision despite the SC’s directive order.

“We often hear from the Department of Prison Management that it has not been able to enforce the Senior Citizens Act mainly because the government has not framed directives, but that argument is not valid,” Paudel said.

In multiple cases, the Supreme Court has told the government to enact new service laws for non-teaching staff of government schools, but the government has not been able to do that. An official at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, however, told THT that the ministry had forwarded a draft of regulation to the Cabinet three years ago, but the Cabinet did not endorse it saying that in a federal set-up regulation should be enacted as per the new constitution.

“We are yet to decide what should be the role of local and federal governments on matters of service law for non-teaching staff in government schools,” the official said.

Executive Director of Freedom Forum Taranath Dahal said non-compliance with a large number of court orders indicated that the government was not obeying court orders and it was not concerned about protecting citizens’ rights. “Non-compliance of court orders is also bad for checks and balance among the three organs of the state,” he argued.