Ananta Raj Luitel (THT online) reports on 21st. November, 2010
Judges split on declaring assets
Rift between what’s moral and what’s legal
2010-11-21 0:45 PM The Himalayan Times
KATHMANDU: Supreme Court justices differ on declaring property details even though Chief Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha said he would make public his asset details soon.
“Some SC justices oppose the idea of the CJ, claiming that the declaration was guided by intention to win cheap popularity and went against the existing law,” a highly placed source at the SC said on condition of anonymity. “They also claimed that since judges in India and many other countries do not declare their asset details, it is an irrelevant issue here.”
Justices who opposed the CJ’s idea are persuading the Judicial Council not to make public the details of his property, reasoning that it goes against the spirit of the Judicial Council Act-1990, which allows a judge to keep his property under his hat.
On the other hand, a section of SC justices and lower court judges are ready to follow the footsteps of CJ Shrestha and have termed it a welcome step as it maintains transparency in the judiciary and helps fight irregularities.
Though judges have to submit their property details every year, judges who take this step can be counted on fingers.
The story behind the above news has a background of a Russian Justice invited recently to Nepal by our Chief Justice (CJ). In one of the meeting the Russian Justice opined that in his country all Judges and Justices would declare their assets including the Chief Justice. Immediately after hearing the saying of the Russian Justice, our CJ also seconded that he will also declare his property (assets). There is a saying in Hindi “Der aaye, per durusta aaye” (Arrived late, but came intact). That is a very good move from our CJ. But see now the relevance of the above news from Mr. Luitel (The Himalayan Times 21-11-10):
“Judges split on declaring assets”
Rift between what’s moral and what’s legal
Now see judges split between moral and legal issues NOT factual issues, and they are trying to find out and looking up the loopholes of what is moral and what is legal just to avoid declaring their property. This is like an act of a lizard that can change colour as and when they need. Our honourable justices and judges have themselves created doubt over their honesty, integrity and so on. People read this news and views and they are absolutely free to interpret, understand and are capable to be aware of such news. It is not the issue of what is moral and what is legal. In my opinion it is an issue of honesty, transparency, and it is a duty of a citizen to abide by rules. Not messing around and trying to involve a nice gesture from the CJ giving their own logic, and many meaning and trying to twist the matter in their own benefit and interest. A citizen must be honest to his/her heart first and to the nation thereafter. A citizen must follow law and order and obey the rules and regulation that such honourables should know better than others. Nobody should be exempted to be above the law. If, every professional should declare his/her property in this country then why not the judges and justices? Are they above the law? This is very funny and these honourable judges/justices who oppose declaring their property should not be messing around with their bookish knowledge and giving the example of India claming that “since judges in India and many other countries do not declare their asset details, it is an irrelevant issue here.” This is a childish talk and double standard of them I call it. When their dice is on their side they follow Nepal’s law and order, when the dice is on the other side then they give example of the world. This is nonsense and it is an act of confusing and fooling the mass that will eventually harm their integrity if they have any. In my opinion the judges/justices should be the first among professionals to declare their property, because they set the example and provide justice to the people. There is nothing wrong declaring your property if you are clean. But this is Nepal, we are fortunate or unfortunate I do not know but our honourable justices have recently proved that they have double standard.
With this type of belief, tradition, practice and understanding and most of our masses being ignorant and illiterate they fear from facing the law and legal implications. Generally people in Nepal do not have good faith in our existing legal and judicial system. Our law and legal system is interpreted person to person, as per the size, shape and so-called status and influence. There is no uniformity and many times justice is denied due to various factors. No body is above the law should be the mantra. But sad to say when implementing body do not act, the result is obvious. Most interesting thing in Nepal is: wrong doers are never punished. They are promoted, they are awarded. Who works hard, who is honest and loyal to the nation, pays tax and abide by law and order is generally penalised. This is the reason why judges, justices, polish officers and army wants and wishes to be above the law.