SC warns govt of contempt of court

Kathmandu, September 14

The Supreme Court today ordered the government to release Khadga Prasad Bishwakarma, spokesperson for the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal and warned the government that it may hold the defendants guilty of contempt of court if he was not freed.

This is the fourth time that the apex court has ordered the government to release Bishwakarma from custody. On September 3, the SC, while issuing the order to release Bishwakarma, had objected to repeated arrest of Bishwakarma.

A division bench of justices Anil Kumar Sinha and Prakash Man Singh Raut, which heard the case, observed in its order that the Dang District Court’s order to extend Bishwakarma’s custody from September 5 to 12 was not supported by legal grounds and reason. The apex court also said that the case file did not show that Bishwakarma’s detention on September 13 and 14 was lawful. The court also said that Dang District Court had, on September 4, refused to grant permission to detain Bishwakarma.

The court said that it was sensitive about the fact that the petitioner was repeatedly arrested even when it ordered the government to release Bishwakarma. The court said that it had a reason to doubt that the (defendants) were trying to evade the court and to render the court order ineffective.

“Such acts cannot be excusable in a democracy where the rule of law is the norm and therefore, the court may have to issue an appropriate order as per Article 128 (4) of the constitution,” the apex court said, adding, “The government authorities must act responsibly to avoid such a situation.” As per this article, the SC can hold somebody guilty of contempt for violating its order.

This court cannot keep mum if the government and its subordinate bodies’ acts violate individual’s personal liberty, the bench observed. The court ordered the government to release Bishwakarma in the presence of chief registrar of the Supreme Court.

Police had arrested Bishwakarma for the first time on August 7 in Kathmandu on charges of seeking donation illegally. He was then taken to Kavre, Bhojpur and Dang to face criminal charges.