KATHMANDU: A report by the probe committee of the Judicial Council (JC) reveals that Nepal’s justice system is still running on ad hoc basis. Neither have any scientific methods been adopted nor any concrete evidence gathered during the process of
investigation, irrespect-ive of the significance of the issues in the lives and liberties of the people.The reports obtained by The Himalayan Times (THT) reveal many important facts such as inmates being authorised to visit banks and run accounts and withdraw money. The probe committees, however, did not reveal the amount judges received while releasing the criminals. This brings to the forefront the questions about why the Chief Justice headed authority did not direct the government to sack police personnel and the jailer for improperly authorising a criminal access to a bank. Does it mean that authorities have allowed inmates to make home visits or travel as per their wishes? If so, what is the purpose of jailing a criminal? Such a provision has given the opportunity to criminals to accuse judges of being involved in bribes.
Based on the report, Nepal’s judiciary faced a storm of criticism over the last 10 years for releasing criminals owing to financial ir-regularities, but it is yet to mend its ways in the judicial system. Ironically, the JC seemed ignorant about the happenings when every
lawyer knew about the dubious activities of judges in relation to such important cases.At least a dozen judges were sacked and at least two dozen judges were forced to resign due to their involvement in financial irregularities in their verdicts, but the JC took the
decision simply citing public assessment of their activities.The JC, headed by the Chief Justice as the officio chairman, has to make efforts to improve performance if the provision for it in the promulgated constitution is to have any significance. If it cannot exercise its authority effectively, such power must be transfer-red to the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority or ombudsman.
“The JC has been favouring judges even if they have been involved in wrongdoings,” Balaram KC, retired Supreme Court justice and ex-JC member, told THT Perspectives. “The initiatives taken by THT to make the JC transparent would ultimately support good governance by making the judges accountable,” KC reasoned.