SC lets Manange appeal against conviction

  • Decision means appellate court verdict against him not final

Kathmandu, December 14

The Supreme Court today quashed its registrar’s decision to refuse to accept arguments of Rajib Gurung alias Deepak Manange, who had sought time to file an appeal against his conviction in a case of attempted murder.

A division bench of justices Sarada Prasad Ghimire and Bam Kumar Shrestha quashed the registrar’s refusal order today. The court will now have to serve a notice to  Manange giving him time to file memorandum of appeal against Patan High Court’s verdict that  convicted him of attempting  to kill Milan Gurung alias Chakre Milan in 2007, said a source at the SC. The SC is yet to prepare the full text of the verdict.

The Patan Appellate Court had convicted Manange of attempted murder on 12 August 2012, striking down the district court’s decision to

acquit him of attempted murder and hold him guilty of maiming.

Manange had filed an application at the SC on July 18 seeking to nullify the registrar’s refusal order. Senior Advocate Krishna Prasad Sapkota, who pleaded on behalf of  Manange in the court today, said he argued before the court that the Patan High Court’s notice issued to Manange telling him to challenge his conviction in the SC  was not valid because the notice was served  at a wrong address and the name of his father was also wrong in the document.

Former attorney general Raman Kumar Shrestha, who also represented Manange, said Manange sought  to post bail or be released on personal recognisance  to  file his appeal at the SC and if the apex court accepted his plea, he could get out of jail and take part in the Gandaki Provincial Assembly. Sapkota and Shrestha said today’s verdict of the SC meant that the Patan Appellate Court’s conviction verdict against Manange was not final.

Manange was elected as a Gandaki PA member from Manang “B” constituency in the provincial assembly election held last year.

He was arrested on April 19 and has been in jail since then. Police arrested him after concluding that his failure to challenge his conviction meant that the Patan Appellate Court’s verdict was  final.

Manage’s conviction came to light only on January 16 when the SC gave a hearing to other accused in the case.

Had the Kathmandu District Court recorded his conviction and   written on time to authorities concerned for the execution of his prison sentence,   he could have been barred from contesting elections.

SC Spokesperson had told THT in January that the Patan Appellate Court sent a copy of Manange’s conviction verdict, but the Kathmandu District Court did not maintain the record.

The government had filed a case of attempted murder against 11 persons, including Manange, Ganesh Lama, Umesh Lama, Rewat Karki and Ramesh Sunuwar. Gurung was awarded a two-year jail term by the Kathmandu District Court under hurt/beating chapter of General Code which was struck down by the Patan Appellate Court.

The Patan Appellate Court had imposed a five-year jail term on Gurung.

Manange, who has spent two years in jail in the case, will have to serve three more years if convicted by the SC.