Former Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha has stressed the need of collective efforts for the strengthening of local judicial committees.
In a discussion programme on 'effective implementation and policy-level discussion of local judicial committees', he was of the view of taking maximum benefits from every local judicial committee, ensuring service to the people at their doorsteps. Every rural municipality or a municipality has a three-member judicial committee coordinated by its vice chair in rural municipality and deputy mayor in case of municipality in accordance with the Article 217 of the constitution.
The former CJ termed the formation of local judicial committee as a great decision, this is significant and has challenges simultaneously. "The objective of the constitution is to ensure and promote justice and the realization of justice is not related to just the court verdict." He underlined the need of implementing the constitution to its letters to the extent. The judicial committee should be fully utilised.
Also speaking at the programme, the then Constituent Assembly chair Subash Nembang said the local level was given executive, legislative and judicial rights in a bid to pass the power centered in the Singhadurbar to villages. Although some confusions seemed to have appeared during initial days the judicial committee is taking its right track.
However, decisions of judicial committees have also raised questions from several angles. Reasons are being presented attempting to justify committees performance in limited physical infrastructure, other structure and in absence of required workforce having basic knowledge about law as achievements. Experts advised for exercising judicial right granted to the local level with much understanding and fairly.
National Assembly's Delegation Management and Government Assurance Committee Chair Ramnarayan Bidari called for overthrowing the belief that a political person should not be in the justice mechanism. We should have developed perception that judicial committee is capable of proving this notion wrong, giving its impartial performance.
Supreme Court's judge Prakashman Singh Raut said justice was not a mechanical and technical term, it was the matter of realization instead and impartiality should be in the center of any verdict. Judicial committee was in a trial by fire to see whether it could perform efficiently.
Baglung's Galkot municipality judicial committee coordinator Renuka Kauchha shared her experiences that excitement about the formation of committee could not last in the absence of policy-level clarities. In some cases, efforts were made for settling the case without registering a formal complaint (in writing). "We are facing a question about role of judicial committees: whether it is an arbitrary body, or mediator or a decisive," she said.
Similarly, Chitwan District Court judge Hemant Rawal said the judicial committee was installing hope and enthusiasm among the people. "Its objectives and intention are clear and good and special attention should be given to the maintenance of neutrality due to its political nature."
However, the right given to the judicial committee to suspend the bank account and land transaction and to sentence a one-year term has raised questions.
Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration Bishnu Dutta Gautam said short-term trainings and coaching were not enough to handle the local judicial committee as per its spirit. He highlighted the need of regular coordination among the judicial committee and district courts.
Nepal Law Society vice chair Pushpa Bhusal sought cooperation for all sectors to make the presence of judicial committees formed as per the constitution meaningful by promoting impartiality in its performance. Society executive director Krishnaman Pradhan and The Asia Foundation's Deputy Director Namit Wagle called for facing obstacles and challenges seen before the judicial committee with the management of sufficient budget, skilled workforce and infrastructures development.
Source: National News Agency Nepal