SC summons govt over Dhungel pardon

Published On: May 26, 2018 01:19 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 25: The Supreme Court on Friday summoned several government authorities to attend the apex court on Sunday in order to participate in a hearing on whether or not to issue stay order against the government's preparations to pardon jailed murder convict Balkrishna Dhungel, a former Maoist leader.

Dhungel was convicted by the Supreme Court for the 1998 killing of Ujjan Kumar Shrestha of Okhaldhunga and is currently serving his eighth year of a 20-year term at Dillibazar jail in Kathmandu.

Acting on a writ petition filed on Thursday against the government preparations to pardon Dhungel, a single bench of Justice Deepak Kumar Karki issued the order on Friday after the completion of initial hearing into the petition. The government authorities summoned by the court include the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, the Office of President, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Prison Management to explain why Dhungel should be pardoned.

The government is planning to invoke presidential power to pardon Dhungel by invoking Article 276 of the Constitution. The government plans to release him on the occasion of Republic Day on May 29.

The government is preparing to release several inmates including Dhungel saying they have already completed 40 percent of their terms and demonstrated good behavior in jail.

Previously, the then Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai had recommended Dhungel for presidential pardon in November 2011 but the plea was quashed by the Supreme Court.

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