Govt fails to comply with court orders

Published On: March 2, 2024 10:15 AM NPT By: Bhasa Sharma

KATHMANDU, March 2: A person called 'A' was murdered. 'B' was accused of the murder and a murder case was filed against him. The court sentences 'B' to life imprisonment, which means 25 years in jail. However, that person escapes or disappears. He does not serve the sentence imposed by the court. Such incidents are piling up because of the negligence of the bodies responsible for  implementing the court orders.

As in the case mentioned above, when the decisions made by the court are not implemented by the state, it is evident that statistical data becomes distorted. Furthermore, it adds to the problem when even cases in which the court has issued verdicts remain unimplemented. Failure to execute court orders poses a long-standing problem for the judiciary. It is clear that the task of execution of judgment cannot be solely reliant on the efforts of the court.

The same problem exists in the implementation of the judgments passed by the Supreme Court, High Courts and District Courts as well as the mandates and directives issued in the name of the government. Due to the failure of the government to comply with the order of the Supreme Court, there has been a problem in its implementation. The trust in the judiciary will be strengthened only if the execution of the judgment is effective. "Certain decisions, directives, judgments issued by the court have not been implemented for years," the Supreme Court stated in its annual report.

The Judgement Execution Directorate of the Supreme Court has registered a total of 196 orders. Among them, only 44 directives have been implemented, while 152 directives are still pending. The directorate has sent correspondence to relevant agencies for implementation, but the directives remain unexecuted.

The court has also introduced various strategic plans to bring effectiveness in the execution of judgments. But that strategy does not seem to be fruitful. Even though various strategies are being adopted, the Supreme Court itself has been mentioning in its annual report that the expected outcomes have not been achieved.

Status of Execution of Judgments

As of fiscal year 2022/23, convicts have collectively escaped imprisonment, amounting to 109,025 years of jail term. As fugitives evade imprisonment, the duration of unfulfilled sentences increases. It is challenging to determine the exact number of individuals awaiting imprisonment, especially considering multiple defendants in a single case. Comparing last year's statistics, fines collected from fugitives have increased by 10 percent. However, only 29 percent of fines have been collected from individuals imprisoned following court judgments. This data indicates a significant underreporting and distortion of figures.

There are still various individuals who are yet to be imprisoned for 109,025 years and three days for charges on various criminal offenses.  

Looking at the data, the total fines to be collected by all district courts is Rs 19.40 billion. The total amount of fines to be collected till last year was Rs 21.73 billion, of which only Rs 2.33 billion were collected. 

The implementation of orders issued by the Supreme Court in public interest litigations is also very critical. There were 196 orders issued by the Supreme Court. Only 44 of them have been implemented. The remaining 152 are yet to be implemented.

The court had also introduced various strategies including special campaigns for the implementation of the verdict. But it was not successful. 

On January 20, 2023, Chief Justice Bishowambhar Prasad Shrestha inaugurated the automation system. However, entering details into the software is not working as expected.

The Supreme Court has said that necessary coordination has been done with concerned authorities for the collection of fines. The district officers and police personnel of each province are also involved in this coordination. 

The Supreme Court has assessed that the effectiveness of decision implementation is hampered due to shortage of budget. The judicial system at the district court lacks the arrangement of judicial police to make implementation of verdicts more effective.  

The Supreme Court has issued directive orders along with corrective provisions for the swift implementation of the amendments to the Criminal Offenses (Sentencing and Execution) Act 2074 BS. However, there has not been adequate initiative from the government for its implementation.

Strategic Plan

The judiciary is currently in the process of implementing its fourth five-year strategic plan. Since 2061 BS, strategic plans have been prepared with the objective of making judicial administration swift, verdict implementation effective, and the justice system accessible to enhance the confidence and trust of the public in the judiciary.

After the implementation of the planned reforms, each court has established specific goals for managing caseloads, judgment implementation, and other operational tasks, as mentioned in the annual report of the Supreme Court.

Before the implementation of the first strategic plan, in fiscal year 2003/04, there were 1,11,676 registered cases in the judiciary. By the fiscal year 2022/23, this number had increased by 42 percent, reaching a total of 3,39,090 cases. Overall, compared to the final year of the first strategic plan, there has been more than a doubling of cases registered up to the fiscal year 2022/23.

Judgement Execution Directorate

The Judgement Execution Directorate is responsible for effective implementation of court verdicts. However, its capability in legal and procedural terms is not adequate. The Judgement Execution Directorate was established following a decision made during a full meeting of the Supreme Court held on May 12, 2009. Legal provisions regarding decision implementation are outlined in the Supreme Court Rules.

According to the Supreme Court Rules, the Judgement Execution Directorate is responsible for implementing the decisions and final orders issued by the Supreme and Appellate Courts. Going to court initially holds significant importance for the general public. Feeling a sense of justice in a timely manner after the court's decision is crucial. Until the decision is implemented, one cannot experience a sense of justice.


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