PALPA, Feb 25: "Understanding the changed structure of the government and working under it has been a challenge for us. We are still learning," said Radha Kumari Shrestha, coordinator of the judicial committee of Rambha Rural Municipality. According to her, many people are unaware that they no longer need to go to a district court for settling their legal issues as this can be done at their own local units.
A three-member judicial committee has been formed at the rural municipality under the coordination of the rural municipality vice-chairperson. Unfortunately, there are no proper rules and policies governing the workings of the committee, and this has badly affected its functioning. So far, not a single complaint has been filed at the committee.
Despite being entrusted with the responsibilities of judges, the vice-chairpersons have not been able to actually use their authority to settle cases, according to Vice-Chair Shrestha. Serious cases such as murder cannot be handled by the local units, she informed .
Saraswoti Darlami Chidi, vice-chairperson of Bagnashkali Rural Municipality, said five complains have been filed in the judicial committee so far. "We resolved four of the cases on our own but had to forward the fifth one to the district court," said Vice-Chairperson Chidi, adding, "It is not possible to resolve all the cases through the local units."
According to Laxmidevi Pathak, deputy-mayor of Tansen Municipality, understanding the law and giving out verdicts has been a challenge because the government has not provided any kind of training to the members of the judicial committee. "We often make rounds of the police station and the court to figure out the legal processes," said Pathak.
The coordinators of the judicial committees lament that they have not been able to take action against those they convict. That is because they have no idea what punishment should be given to them. As per Article 217 of the constitution, the judicial committee must be formed under the coordination of the deputy-mayor or vice-chairperson.