THT 10 YEARS AGO: SC strikes a blow for gays, lesbians

Kathmandu, December 21, 2007

The Supreme Court, in a notable judgment today, granted recognition to a third sex group which includes lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and intersexuals.

This could be the first time that such a verdict has been passed in the SAARC region. The apex court directed the government to make the necessary legal arrangements in order to protect the rights of this group. A division bench of Justices Bala Ram KC and Pawan Kumar Ojha issued the verdict responding to a Public Interest Litigation filed seven months ago by Sunil Babu Panta, President of Blue Diamond Society.

“Promulgate a new Act or amend existing Acts in order to ensure the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and intersexuals,” the bench directed.

The bench held that the people belonging to the third sex group were deprived from practising their fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Interim Constitution, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on Economic and Social Rights. “They are also people and should not be deprived of their rights because they are born this way.” People belonging to the third sex group can now acquire citizenship certificates and properties under their own sexual identities.

The bench directed the Prime Minister’s Office, the Cabinet; the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Parliamentary Secretariat to respect the rights of the till now neglected sex group. According to Panta, studies have revealed that the third sex group accounts for 8 to 10 per cent of the total population.

Sitaula summoned over Shivpuri issue

Kathmandu, December 21, 2007

The parliamentary Human Rights and Social Justice Committee today decided to summon Home Minister KP Sitaula, Home Secretary Baman Prasad Neupane and a National Human Rights Commission commissioner tomorrow to inquire about the suspicious Shivpuri incident.

The committee today discussed the report prepared by a team of lawmakers after an inspection visit to the suspicious site yesterday.

The panel has decided to call the chief whips of all the parliamentary parties tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Police Headquarters today did not provide scientists to the NHRC in order to examine the suspicious Shivpuri site despite its assurance yesterday. “Despite assurance yesterday, the Police Headquarters did not provide the scientists who are believed to be crime scene experts,” NHRC member Gauri Pradhan said. “I had talked to IGP Om Bikram Rana but the experts were not available,” he added. However, the NHRC today re-examined the Shivpuri area with other forensic experts.

The team headed by Pradhan had forensic experts Dr Harihar Wosti, Dr Pramod Shrestha, Special Scientist Jivan Rijal and forensic scientist Binu Sobha Tuladhar.