A contempt of court case has been filed at the Supreme Court against Chief Justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli, who is facing widespread criticism for issuing an order with an aim to impose prior censorship on media.
Manoj Kumar Adhikari, a permanent resident of Pepsicola, Kathmandu, registered the case at the apex court on Wednesday arguing that CJ Parajuli’s “arbitrary character and working style” have a bearing on the court proceedings.
Petitioner Adhikari claimed that Parajuli had committed contempt of court by issuing death threats to senior advocate Surendra Bhandari.
On February 1, Bhandari lodged a complaint at the Kathmandu District Administration Office saying that he had received death threat from CJ Parajuli. The DAO is probing complaints lodged by Bhandari.
In his complaint, Bhandari, who defended Dr Govinda KC in a contempt of court case, stated that CJ Parajuli threatened him with death first on January 10 as hearing concluded in the case. Bhandari claimed that Parajuli threatened him again after his article was published in a national newspaper.
In his petition, Adhikari has demanded “maximum penalty” against CJ Parajuli charging him with contempt of court for “creating obstacles to the judicial process”.
“First CJ Parajuli sought to settle the case through compromise. After Bhandari turned down his proposal, he telephoned Bhandari and threatened him with death,” Adhikari said in his petition.
Adhikari charged that CJ Parajuli had tried to censor the independent right of an advocate to participate in any hearing either on the side of the petitioner or the defendant. “Exerting pressure over phone clearly demonstrates that SC benches are not independent to take any decision. This means Parajuli has committed contempt of court,” the petitioner claimed. Even in the past, Adhikari had tried to file the case against Parajuli but the Supreme Court registrar scrapped the case saying there was no sufficient evidence.
There are legal provisions for a case to be filed at the bench if there is dissatisfaction over the decision taken by the court administration or the registrar, which Adhikari used on Wednesday to file the case. The petitioner argued that the SC registrar has no right to accept or reject the case. Adhikari claimed that the registrar’s decision to scrap the case goes against the provisions of Nepal Administration of Justice Act-2016.
“Article 17 of the Act says if anyone hinders performance of the judiciary or disobeys a court verdict, these issues will be the subject of contempt of court,” the petitioner said.
CJ Parajuli faces a contempt of court case at a time when his order to probe news published by the Kantipur daily questioning authenticity of his educational certificates has drawn criticism both at home and abroad.Source: The Kathmandu Post