KATHMANDU: Increasing frustration among the conflict victims, who faced atrocities of the Maoist during the decade long armed insurgency, the Supreme Court has stayed a provision of the Constituent Assembly Member Election Ordinance, 2013, paving the way for murder convicts to contest the upcoming elections.
Acting upon a writ petition filed by advocates Bishwoprakash Bhandari, Ramsundar Shrestha and Tulsiram Timalsina a single bench of Justice Tarka Raj Bhatta stayed the provision (Section 19e), which was inserted in the Ordinance on June 14.
The order directly benefits Unified CPN-Maoist leader Balkrishna Dhungel, a murder convict, who has been recommended by his party to contest the November polls from Constituency No 2 in Okhaldhunga. The apex court on January 3, 2010 had convicted Dhungel, who was then a sitting CA member, of murdering Ujjan Kumar Shrestha of Tarkerabari, Okhaldhunga. Shrestha was murdered in 1998. Justices Top Bahadur Magar and Rajendra Prasad Koirala had slapped a 20-year jail sentence on Dhungel.
Corruption convicts who are yet to complete two years after serving their sentences, however, cannot contest the elections, as the same Ordinance prohibits them from filing candidacy.
The apex court also summoned the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, government Chairman Khil Raj Regmi, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Office of the President to attend a hearing on Thursday on whether to continue the stay order.
Since many have taken exception to Dhungel’s poll campaigns of late, if the stay order continues it is sure to add further drama to what is already being debated fiercely.
Stating that inserting the provision (Section 19e) in the Ordinance was erroneous, the advocates claimed that the Interim Constitution and the Comprehensive Peace Accord ‘have provisioned that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission only has the jurisdiction over the cases that took place during the armed conflict’.
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