KATHMANDU, April 29: Nepal Bar Association (NBA) and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) have expressed objection to the hearing of writ petitions at the Supreme Court at a time when the government has announced the lockdown period as public holidays.
"On the one hand, there are contradictions between the government decision and the Supreme Court decision with regard to the hearings of cases except for the habeas corpus cases," Lilamani Paudel, General Secretary, NBA, told Republica.
"On the other hand it is not convenient for the lawyers and the parties concerned to attend the court during the lockdown," he added.
According to him, police on Monday prevented a few lawyers from going to courts saying that they didn’t have permission to walk during the lockdown. Issuing a notice in the Nepal Gazette, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday announced the lockdown as public holidays and said individuals including lawyers who had to move from one place to other required permits to do so.
"I talked to some government officials about lawyers’ uninterrupted and free access to courts," Paudel said, adding, "But they said lawyers need permits to move around which is impractical."
The SCBA also urged the apex court to suspend hearings during the lockdown because lawers and others don’t have unhindered access to courts.
"The apex court decision came without consulting us. It is impractical to conduct hearings at a time when lawyers are being prevented from accessing the courts. Therefore, we objected to the hearings of the cases," advocate Saroj Krishna Ghimire who is also the treasure of the SCBA said. According to him, the SCBA drew the attention of the Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana in this regard.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a habeas corpus order to release social activist and anti-corruption crusader Gyanendra Shahi who was arrested a few days ago on the charge of violating the lockdown imposed by the government to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus..
On Tuesday, a division bench of justices Purusottam Bhandari and Manoj Kumar Sharma decided to release Shahi stating that he was illegally detained by the police without any reason.
Shahi was arrested some five days ago “for violating the lockdown while distributing relief to the needy people.”