KATHMANDU, Oct 13: Managing Director of Nepal Republic Media (P) Ltd, Binod Raj Gyawali, filed a case at Kathmandu District Court on Thursday against Executive Director of Nepal Oil Corporation Gopal Bahadur Khadka for slander, claiming that Khadka’s statement given at a parliamentary committee was false and has damaged his reputation and that of the publishing house, which publishes the Republica and Nagarik dailies.
In the case filed by Pratibha Upreti, representing Desire Law Firm, the plaintiff said he has been slandered by Khadka’s statement concerning NOC’s land purchase scam given to the subcommittee formed by parliament’s Industry, Commerce and Consumer Rights Committee concerning .
Ananta Raj Luitel, legal advisor to Nepal Republic Media, informed that the court has registered the case and scheduled hearings for November 10. Gyawali has claimed that Khadka’s statement that Nagarik daily published a series of news reports against him just because NOC didn’t buy land in Bhairahawa belonging to Gyawali’s father is a slander against him.
According to Luitel, the plaintiff has claimed Rs 500 million, in accordance with Section 12 of the Libel and Slander Act, 1959, as compensation for the damage incurred by him personally and the loss caused to the newspaper.
It is also claimed that Khadka’s action attracts Sections 3, 5 and 6, which are related to libel/defamation.
“My reputation has been damaged by the false statement given with an intent to damage my standing, claiming as it does that the news stories were published because my father’s land was not bought,” reads the plaintiff’s claim. “The follow-ups of the news story started to be published a day after the land in Bhairahawa was passed over. We found that the reason was the land worth Rs 1.9 million belonged to the father of Gyawali of Nagarik,” the parliamentary subcommittee’s report quoted Khadka as saying.
Stating that there was no land in the area owned by members of his family, Gyawali said the false statement by Khadka created an impression that the Nepal Republic Media publications weren’t fair and independent and there was no editorial freedom.
“I am compelled to move the respected court for justice as his statement has defamed my publications and me also because various media outlets have published news stories based on his statement,” stated the plaintiff.
Gyawali has stated that he was with Kantipur Publications for years and later received money against his share there completing all the legal processes. He then instituted Nepal Republic Media (P) Ltd, which has been publishing the Nagarik Nepali national daily, the Republica English daily, Shukrabar weekly and Paribar monthly, he added. He also said that Khadka has levelled false allegations even as he, Gyawali, has given top priority to the popularity, reliability and trustworthiness of the publications and to people’s right to information.
Meanwhile, Gyawali has registered a complaint at the parliament secretariat seeking action against Khadka for misleading parliament with a false statement. He demanded action against Khadka as per Article 103 (8) of the constitution that states “If any person is in contempt of any House, the person presiding over the concerned House may, after a decision by the House to that effect, admonish, warn or impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or of a fine not exceeding ten thousand rupees on such person, and such fine shall be recovered as a government due.”