DAMAK, Feb 10: On Friday, the workstation of Dipendra Thapa, vice-chairperson of Gauriganj Rural Municipality, was jam-packed with people. While some were raising grievances and making accusations, others were found refuting the accusations. Thapa on the other hand was trying his best to address the complaints and settle the issues. His workstation seemed more like a mini-court.
However, this is not the first time that Thapa's office was full of people as this happens every Thursday and Friday. Those cases which are not solved in the villages are forwarded to the rural municipality office. In two days, the vice chairperson has to settle at least five legal cases. So on Friday alone, Thapa resolved four such cases. If the victim or the prosecutor is not satisfied with the decision or verdict of the rural municipality, they can appeal to the District court within 35 days.
The post of a vice-chairperson has been no less than that of a judge in the villages. According to Thapa, all cases cannot be handled in a similar manner as their nature is different. While giving his verdicts, he has been making sure that his decision is not biased. Since the local government started solving the legal issues, even minor disputes and conflicts reach the rural municipality. "I have been suggesting to people to solve their minor cases on their own so that I can utilize my time for other important issues," said Thapa.
According to Benu Shivakoti, vice-chairperson of Kamal Rural Municipality, people's expectation from the representatives has increased after the formation of the local government. The cases of family disputes over property, quarrels between married couples among others are very common problems in the rural parts. As such cases are being resolved in the village, the burden of police has been reduced. Now, police have to solve only the serious cases. Surprisingly, some of the cases which were not solved by the court have been solved by the rural municipality.
But sometimes, the verdict taken by the vice-chairperson without understanding the legal proceedings has invited further problems. Due to the fear of getting into a controversy, Gita Bhetwal, deputy mayor of Gauradaha Municipality said she gives her verdict only after understanding the nature of the case and legal proceedings related to it. "At first we try to solve the issues at the ward level. The cases are transferred to the judicial committee only when they cannot be resolved at the ward level," said Bhetwal. Some of the local units have even arranged a legal advisor to the judicial committee to help it take the right decision.