SC gives Karki 7 days to appear in court for obstruction

Published On: November 9, 2016 01:20 AM NPT By: Bhadra Sharma

Delilberating from the writ petitioner's side Tuesday, over a dozen advocates had demanded that the court seek immediate clarification from Karki and book him for contempt of court. 
KATHMANDU, Nov 9: In yet another blow to Lokman Singh Karki, suspended head of the CIAA, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered him to appear before the court in person within seven days and furnish clarification in writing for obstructing the court from serving notice on him.

Responding to a writ petition filed by advocate Om Prakassh Aryal a single bench of Justice Ananda Mohan Bhattarai ordered Karki and three others to appear before the court within seven days. But the countdown starts only after the court serves summons on Karki.

The court has asked Karki to appear before the court within the given deadline and to clarify as to why should he not be punished for creating obstruction in the court procedures. The court administration has also been asked to serve the summons on Karki at the earliest. 

"Why should [Karki] not be punished as demanded in the petition? Serve the court notice on the defendants and ask them to appear before the court in person and furnish clarifications if they have any ground or reason not to punish," states the court order. 

In its order, the apex court has stated that the court administration cannot work in a free and fair atmosphere when people in responsible positions do not cooperate with the court administration. "Obstruction of court's work should be taken seriously as it ultimately attacks the established norms of the rule of law," the order states. 

The order from the apex court comes at a time when Karki faces multiple cases in the court. Also, an impeachment motion against him is already in parliament.

In the impeachment motion, 157 lawmakers have claimed that he was appointed as head of the CIAA although he was ineligible for the post. They also accused him of abusing the authority and obstructing the court from carrying out its work.

On November 3, advocate Aryal had filed a contempt of court case against Karki, Prabal Thapa, Pramod Karki and Assistant Sub-inspector Nakul Gautam for barring court staffers from pasting a court notice at Karki's address at Old Baneshwar. Thapa is Karki's son-in law while former secretary Pramod Karki is said to be his close relative. 

During Tuesday's hearings, there was no advocate to plead Karki's case. Delilberating from the writ petitioner's side, over a dozen advocates demanded that the court seek immediate clarification from Karki and book him for contempt of court. Advocates Govinda Bandi, Tikaram Bhattarai, Ramesh Badal and Bijaya Kanta Mainali, among others, had argued that Karki should be punished for contempt of court.

The court had to struggle for a month to serve the summons on him. Later, the court administration had served the court notice at his house in Old Baneshwar which is rented out to a business house. 

Karki has not appeared before the court despite the 15-day deadline expired last week.

Sources close to Karki said he is preparing to challenge the procedure adopted to serve the court summons arguing that the notice should have been served at his official residence on the CIAA premises in Tangal.

There is yet another case in court against Karki accusing that he has been enjoying perks and facilities from the government even after his suspension from the post of CIAA chief. Advocate Aryal himself had filed a supplementary petition on October 21 demanding that the salary, perks and other government incentives being provided to Karki be halted. The court is hearing this case on Thursday. 

Karki, a former chief secretary with controversial backgound, has been facing multiple court cases soon after he was recommended for head of the CIAA in April 2013. 

In April 2013, advocate Aryal had moved against Karki's appointment arguing that he was ineligible to head anti-graft body. However, Justices Gopal Parajuli and Om Prakash Mishra quashed the writ petition on September 2014.  

In Novembe last year Aryal again moved the court arguing that Karki's appointment was unconstitutional. The court under leadership of Chief Justice Sushila Karki this time finally revoked the apex court's previous decision and ordered Karki to appear before the court.  

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