Kathmandu, July 19, 2005

The Supreme Court today extended its stay order in the Nepal Telecom (NTC) Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) system case. The initial order barring NTC from distributing one million telephone lines in the country through the Wireless Local Loop (WLL) service was issued on July 11. A division bench of Justices Chandra Prasad Parajuli and Rajendra Kumar Bhandari issued the order to the government to bar NTC from launching the new service for the time being. “The petitioner will bear an irreparable loss if the stay order is lifted,” the bench observed. A writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court by advocate Bishnu Prasad Dhakal and businessman Arjun Prasad Uprety challenging NTC’s initiative to launch the new service as the government had not invited tenders for others to place their bid. During today’s hearing, senior advocates Krishna Prasad Bhandari, Bashanta Ram Bhandari and advocates Badri Bahadur Karki, Prakash Raut and Prabhakar Adhikary pleaded on behalf of the petitioners. Ram Kumar Shrestha and Kailash Neupane pleaded for the Nepal Telecommunication Authority. Advocates Bharat Raj Uprety and Chandra Kafle, pleading on behalf of NTC, said the telephone authority need not obtain a separate licence for the service as it is being launched as part of NTC’s already existing services. They also argued that NTC has already tested the service and would be a setback for the authority. NTC has already invested Rs 750 million for the new service and has proposed to spend Rs 1.83 billion in total.

Police thwart mock parliament session

Kathmandu, July 19, 2005

Defying prohibitory orders for the first time after the royal takeover, activists of the seven-party alliance today broke a police cordon at Kamaladi-Putali Sadak intersection after the latter barred them from entering the Royal Nepal Academy (RNA) premises. The alliance was scheduled to organise a mock session of the dissolved House of Representatives there. The activists shouted anti-monarchy slogans after they were not allowed to go ahead with their plans.The parties later said they would now hold the mock session on July 26. Reports of a possible crackdown on former lawmakers had been doing the rounds since morning with claims to the effect that police was bent on deterring the alliance from organising the mock session. However, this further upset the party workers and alliance leaders resulting in an impressive turnout at the gates of the RNA building well before the scheduled time of 1 pm. The mock session was supposed to discuss ways to take the movement ahead and to hold a debate on the budget announced on Saturday.