Kathmandu, November 18:

Senior advocate Bishwo Kanta Mainali today filed a petition at the Supreme Court challenging a provision of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Control and Punishment Ordinance (TADO), pointing to its provision of allowing in camera (closed doors) hearing of cases.

“I have challenged the provision which converts general courts into camera courts against the norms of the Constitution,” Mainali, the advocate, told this daily.

According to him, clause 15(5) of TADO states that the hearing of any case under it can be heard in closed doors sessions. TADO states that documents under the ordinance can’t be provided to anyone except persons involved in the case. The ordinance also vests the burden of proof of innocence on the accused.

Mainali, in his petition, accused the goevrnment of promulgating TADO against the norms of the Constitution, human rights laws and international human rights agreements signed by the government. Giving an example of a case regarding the former vice-president of ANNISU-R, Krishna KC, in which Patan Appellate Court conducted closed doors hearing and declined to provide documents to KC’s counsel, Mainali said: “How can a lawyer defend his client without getting relevant documents from the court? The ordinance bars even family members of the accused to attend hearings.”

The Patan Appellate Court recently said court proceedings under TADO are confidential and that the court cannot afford to make public documents pertaining to such cases.