Contempt case filed against PM, ministers over Fewa encroachment

Published On: August 10, 2019 06:35 AM NPT By: Prashant Lamichhane

KATHMANDU, Aug 10: A contempt of court case has been filed at the Supreme Court against Prime Miniter KP Oli, ministers and chief minister of Gandaki Province and officials for not implementing the court verdict on Fewa Lake encroachment for a year. 

Advocate Khagendra Subedi has filed the contempt case against the Prime Minister, Minister for Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Padma Kumari Aryal, Minister for Forest and Environment Shakti Basnet and Chief Minister of Gandaki Province Prithvi Subba Gurung. Similarly Chief Secretary Lokdarshan Regmi, Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office Dulliraj Ghimire and Secretary at the Ministry of Land Management Gopinath Mainali are also among the nine defendants of the contempt of court case filed last week “for not implementing the court verdict.”

Although the Apex Court had assigned the responsibility of implementing the verdict to a number of agencies ranging from the Prime Minister’s Office to the local government “to act for the conservation of the historic lake”, none of these authorities did much on their part to implement the verdict in the last one year. 

During the first hearing on the contempt of court case, a full bench of Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana ordered the authorities to produce the case file and the full text of the court verdict issued last year. The petitioner has demanded one year jail or Rs 10,000 fine or both for not implementing the court verdict. 

Earlier, a joint bench of justice Om Prakash Mishra and Sapana Malla Pradhan had ordered to demarcate the original area of the lake within six months, scrapping of private land ownership for any land that is within the original demarcation of the lake within a year and demolish the illegal structures around Fewa Lake in April last year. 

Petitioner Subedi has claimed that the court verdict has been breached by not demarcating the original area of the lake in the given time. 

Although the Gandaki Province government, earlier this year, formed a minister-level committee to reclaim the encroached areas of Fewa Lake in line with the court order the committee has not done any tangible work so far. Advocate Subedi had filed a writ petition at the SC demanding reclamation of the land within the original demarcation of Fewa Lake, as suggested by a probe committee led by Biswa Prakash Lamichhane. 

The provincial government had announced to take initiatives for putting in place a legislation for the preservation of Fewa Lake and allocated Rs 100 million for restoring the lake to its original area. But the bill has not been registered at the provincial assembly yet.

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