EDITORIAL: Ensure justice

Past instances have proved that some of the cases not related to political agitation were withdrawn under political pressure

Before the CPN-Maoist Centre chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government was formed the CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and the agitating Federal Alliance or United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) had reached a three-point agreement on August 2 in which the government would withdraw the charge-sheets filed against cadres of the agitating forces.

Recently, the council of ministers also decided to withdraw such cases to, what the government said, create a conducive environment for implementing the new constitution by holding the three tiers of elections – federal, provincial and local – by January 22, 2018.

Around 60 agitators, nine security personnel and a two-year-old boy were killed during the Madhes agitation over the federal structure and other constitutional issues.

At least eight people, mostly security personnel including a Senior Superintendent of Police, Laxman Neupane, and the two-year-old boy were killed when demonstrators protesting the proposed demarcation of federal units clashed with the police in Tikapur, Kailali on August 25 last year.

Another APF man was killed by a mob in Mohottari.

A task force constituted by UDMF has claimed that 503 people were framed in more than 100 criminal cases that took place during the six-month long agitation and border blockade.

Past instances have it that the government withdrew a number of politically motivated cases either after the regime change or under an agreement between the government and the agitating forces.

But after the government started withdrawing many cases, including the sub-judice ones haphazardly, the Supreme Court gave a ruling, as per the Government Cases Act, 1992, that such cases can be withdrawn with the permission of the respective courts.

Even Attorney General Raman Kumar Shrestha has also said that his office needs to look into all the cases carefully and abide by the “constitutional and legal provision as well as the precedents set by the Supreme Court”.

All the sub-judice cases should be verified thoroughly one-by-one and each of such case must qualify for withdrawal. Past instances have proved that some of the cases not related to political agitation were also withdrawn under political pressures.

The Attorney General must make sure that list of the sub-judice cases submitted by the Home Ministry and the agitating parties were related to the agitation.

While considering the withdrawal of such cases the government must keep in mind that the families of those killed during the agitation will also get fair justice.

The eight police personnel and the two-year-old boy killed in Tikapur, Kailali and the APF man killed in Mahottari must get justice from a competent court of law. If the persons involved in these two incidents also get clean chits in the name of creating an conducive environment for implementing the new constitution it will promote the culture of impunity, and the public will lose faith on the government and the judiciary.

The government, however, can withdraw minor cases not amounting to murder, arson, abduction and rape, to name a few.

How will the government and judiciary ensure that the families of those security personnel killed on duty and others not involved in either sides will get fair, impartial and timely justice if all the sub-judice cases are withdrawn in the name of a political deal?

Sanitation drive

The construction completion certificate will not be provided to those houses which do not have an attached septic-tank.

These days, sewage from many houses without septic tanks flows directly into the drains. This pollutes the rivers and the wastes flow into them causing adverse effects to the environment.

The Ministry of Federal Affairs (MoFA) has issued such a directive to the Kathmandu Metropolitan City as well as sub-metropolitan cities and municipalities.

The Ministry has issued a warning that those building or houses without septic tanks and also government employees issuing the construction completion certificate to any house that does not possess septic tanks would be punished.

Now that the circular has been issued to make septic tanks mandatory for the houses it is hoped that all those who build houses abide by this provision.

When the wastes are released into the drains they seep into the mains thereby contaminating drinking water which makes people ill.

Attached septic tanks are part of the urban sanitation drive and should be strictly adhered to.