Justice Subedi not to be part of Nepal Republic Media's case

Published On: June 5, 2018 12:54 PM NPT

KATHMANDU, June 5: Justice Kailash Prasad Subedi of Kathmandu District Court issued an order stating that he'd no longer see the case of Nepal Republic Media Pvt Ltd.

“Although kinship wasn’t established, I will not see the case due to ongoing debates,” Subedi said. Following the order, remaining bench of justices will handle the case.

Former chief of Nepal Oil Corporation, Gopal Khadka failed to establish alleged kinship between the media publisher and Judge Subedi. 

Even after demanding additional time for establishing kinship between the media promoters and Judge Kailash Kumar Subedi, Khadka failed to prove the kinship and has conceded as much before the court.

Thereafter the court scheduled final hearings in the case for June 5, according to the legal advisor to Nepal Republic Media (NRM) Pvt Ltd, the publisher of Republica and Nagarik dailies.

On May 21, Judge Subedi had asked Khadka to prove kinship between himself and the media house publisher when Khadka submitted a written application demanding that the judge refrain from hearing the case because of the alleged kinship. 

Section 30 of the Court Management chapter of the Muluki Ain prohibits judges from adjudicating cases relating to close kin. But Khadka had asked for a change of bench without establishing any such kinship. Hearings in the case had been frequently postponed since the last few months.
Judge Subedi is considering the case filed by then NOC Chief Khadka who had filed a defamation case against Nagarik daily, seeking damages of Rs 800 million for news stories about him carried by the Nagarik and Republica dailies.

Khadka named NRM Managing Director Binod Raj Gyawali, Director Shobha Gyawali, Nagarik Editor-in-Chief Guna Raj Luitel and correspondent Dilip Paudel as defendants for publishing a series of anti-corruption stories relating to NOC. He has claimed Rs 200 million as compensation from each of them.

Terming the news stories and editorials run by Nagarik to be non-factual, Khadka had argued in his petition that instead of rewarding him for the good work he has tried to do in his post, his image was tarnished by the defendants. He claimed that he was insulted by the news stories about millions in misappropriations involved in the procurement of land for building NOC storage depots.

However, the media house promoters and journalists at NRM have claimed in the cross-complaint they filed in court that they have run the news stories on the basis of parliamentary investigations and what the news sources furnished. They also sought Rs 1.50 billion in compensation from Khadka for falsely implicating them.

Nepal Republic Media Pvt Ltd Managing Director Gyawali has lodged a separate case against Khadka over his recording of a defamatory statement at parliament’s industry, commerce and consumer rights protection committee and claimed damages amounting to Rs 500 million from Khadka.

Both cases are awaiting final hearings at KDC as all the procedural work has already been completed.

More than a dozen lawyers are representing Nagarik in the case including senior advocates Raman Kumar Shrestha, Balkrishna Neupane, Rabinarayan Khanal, Surendra Bhandari, Kumar Regmi and advocates Tikaram Bhattarai, Sunil Pokhrel, Bhimarjun Acharya, Madhav Basnet, Ananta Raj Luitel, Bikash Bhattarai and Nanibabu Dahal.

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