THT 10 YEARS AGO: Nation may see an Acting CJ

Kathmandu, July 5, 2005

High-ranking officials in the government and the judiciary are mulling appointing an Acting Chief Justice, as chances of selecting the next Chief Justice seem remote under the circumstances. A high-ranking government official told this daily that if the Constitutional Council cannot conduct any meeting in the absence of a prime minister in the country, an Acting Chief Justice might be selected. “If there is no way to select a Chief Justice, there might be an Acting Chief Justice,” he added. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tara Nath Ranabhat, has said it would be unconstitutional to hold a meeting of the Constitutional Council in the absence of the Prime Minister. Government officials and some in the judiciary have started homework to appoint an Acting Chief Justice, an official close to the incumbent Chief Justice Hari Prasad Sharma said today. According to him, Sharma today held a meeting with the chairman of the Nepal Law Reform Commission, Niranjan Thapa, who advised the CJ to suggest any senior justice at the Supreme Court as the Acting Chief Justice. Thapa today met Sharma in the CJ’s chamber this afternoon and advised him to activate Article 87 (4) of the 1990 Constitution which provides authority to the King to designate an Acting Chief Justice. “If the office of the Chief Justice becomes vacant, or the Chief Justice is unable to carry out the duties of his office due to illness or any other reason, or his being outside of Nepal, His Majesty may designate the senior most Judge to act as the Acting Chief Justice,” the article states.

Khepiya Pratha continues to haunt locals

Dewangunj (Sunsari), July 5, 2005

Poor families in border areas are compelled to take loan at an interest of 10 per cent due to lack of banking knowledge at southern VDCs of Sunsari district. They take loan, following the traditional Khepiya Pratha from local merchants. According to the local language, Khepiya Pratha means the process of taking interest from the poor by the merchants, counting individual days. Lives of poor people is worsening day by day due to this tradition but it has also become a compulsion for them to take loan at a higher per cent. Chhedi Yadav, a local informed, “People take recourse to this process to meet their desires. Under this process, we have to pay the interest day by day.” This tradition is still in existence in the southern VDCs, Dewangunj, Kaptangunj, Madhyaharsahi and Sahebgunj of Sunsari district. Talking to The Himalaya Times, Nilam Shahiin Sahebgunj said, “I had taken a loan of only Rs 600, but I paid about Rs 1002 to the merchant who had provided me the loan.”