New Muluki codes take effect from today

August 17, 2018 09:22 AM Ashok Dahal


Highlights of Criminal Code

  • Match-fixing in sports is crime; guilty will face one-year jail
  • Three months jail for forcing women to live in menstruation shed
  • Eight years jail for acid attack
  • Dowry system criminalized; three years jail and Rs 30,000 fine for taking dowry
  • Imprisonment till death for six heinous crimes including killing after torture, murder after rape, genocide, murder after kidnapping, killing after hijacking or blasting aeroplane, and killing through poisoned mass-produced food and drinks
  • Sentence on corruption, rape, genocide, kidnapping and human trafficking are unpardonable
  • Life imprisonment increased to 25 years from 20 years
  • Environment pollution and public land encroachment criminalized
  • Stricter sentence on breach of privacy, defamation
  • Picture tampering, eavesdropping or recording private conversation may land one year in jail
  • Abandoning cattle or pet is punishable crime
  • Hiring persons for begging alms is crime
  • Five to 10 years jail for enslavement
  • Three years jail for manipulating weighing machines
  • National flag blazing may land three years in jail
  • Telephone-tapping criminalized, may land three years in jail
  • Five years jail for religious conversion, foreigners involved in religious conversion to face jail and deportation
  • Five years jail for obstructing public road, disrupting public service
  • Seven years jail for obstructing president or members of parliament in their work
  • One year jail for postal stamp re-use
  • Three months jail for writing on currency notes or tearing currency notes
  • One year jail for selling date-expired medicines
  • Doctors may face murder case for wrong treatment leading to death

Highlights of Civil Code

  • Eligibility for marriage 20 years for both male and female
  • Women can use maternal family name after marriage
  • Government approval a must for child adoption by foreigners
  • Widow can claim husband's property
  • Husband can also file for divorce at court
  • One year cooling period on divorce application
  • Landlords cannot remove tenants without prior notice of 35 days

KATHMANDU, Aug 17: A new set of laws to replace the one-and-a-half centuries old Muluki Ain (Civil Code) that introduces sweeping reforms in the traditional legal practices and legal provisions to deal with modern technology-based crimes has come into effect from Friday.

Introduced by the then Prime Minister Janga Bahadur Rana back in 1853, the Muluki Ain which was revised several times to suit new societal reality has been officially replaced with the new set of rules approved by parliament last year. “The new Muluki Ain has modernized our legal system and aims to end taboos and discrimination deeply rooted in our society for decades. The new law has some revolutionary provisions to end discrimination against women in the name of Chhaupadi, dowry and property rights, among other things,” said Ganga Chaudhary, who oversaw the laws reform process in the then parliament in the capacity of the chairperson of the Bills Committee.

The revised set of laws includes 70 percent provisions with revision from the existing Muluki Ain and 20 percent new provisions based on the changed context of social norms and values. The remaining 10 percent other provisions are based on precedents set by the judiciary.

As this new set of laws goes into implementation, it has courted criticism from various quarters including the media as it has stringent provisions against defamation, privacy breach, recording of secret conversations, taking photos, publishing cartoons and sketches and tampering photos.

Chaudhary, however, claimed that this provision aims to control growing crimes in society instead of muffling the press. Parliament took almost three years to endorse the bills.

Six laws were endorsed from parliament last year in August, splitting the Muluki Ain into five separate laws to be enacted from Friday. Among the five laws, the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code deal with defining crimes and fixing sentences against those convicted of those crimes. Similarly, the Civil Code, Civil Procedure Code deal with property issues, contract and property share allotment and other issues, while Sentencing Act has provisioned method and criteria to determine and pronounce sentences on offences.

The sixth law titled Some Nepal Acts Amendment Act brings amendment to all contradictory provisions in other existing laws and prevailing provisions on the five new laws. United Nations Development Program and Japanese International Cooperation Agency had extended their support to prepare the draft after holding deliberations on the new laws.

The new law has criminalized the Chhaupadi practice, dowry system, match-fixing in sports, public land encroachment, acid attacks, tampering with photos of individuals, and enslavement, among other offences. Although the existing law also defines such acts as illegal, they did not specifically mention anything about punishment.

Anyone involved in tampering with or distorting the photos of another individual without prior consent will be liable to face two years in jail and Rs 10,000 to 20,000 in penalty. Likewise, if a woman wants to divorce her husband despite being treated properly by him, she may not necessarily get a share of his property, according to the new law.

With the implementation of the new law, foreign nationals to be married within the territory of Nepal should abide by the domestic law, whatever the limitations or freedoms in his or her own country.


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