SC springs to arrested lawyers’ rescue

Kathmandu, April 5:

Judges and lawyers today worked in tandem after security men arrested and detained about a dozen lawyers and professionals from a pro-democracy march in New Baneshwor.

Immediately after admitting a habeas corpus petition, the Supreme Court held a hearing and ordered the authorities to produce over a dozen lawyers, including president of the NBA Shambhu Thapa, vice-president Sher Bahadur KC and general secretary Madhav Banskota in court. It is the first time that the SC has held a hearing the same day of the filing of a habeas corpus petition.The court also did not object to the NBA decision to boycott proceedings in the courts inside the Valley. It instead responded positively to the NBA move.

In a meeting held this afternoon, SC judges decided to postpone hearing in cases, as per the request of the NBA. The lawyers’ body had informed the SC of its decision to boycott court proceedings in the Valley courts.

“The Supreme Court judges played a positive role when we were in trouble,” Banskota told this daily after his release. The lawyers and professionals were detained for defying the prohibitory order and staging a protest in New Baneshwor.

“We have decided to defer hearings in cases at the request of the lawyers. They had informed us of their decision not to attend the court as part of their protest against the arrest of lawyers. We do not know whether or not this is a boycott, but, accepting their request, we have decided not to hold hearings except in habeas corpus petitions,” a high-ranking SC official said.

Opposing the arrest of the professionals, the lawyers’ umbrella body had decided to boycott court proceedings in the Kathmandu valley, including those in the SC. Protesting the government decision banning rallies, the NBA has decided to stage a sit-in at the Bar offices across the country on Friday. All the arrested lawyers were freed later in the day.