KATHMANDU, July 11: It has been revealed that a team led by Supreme Court (SC) Justice Ananda Mohan Bhattarai left for a week-long trip to Georgia on Sunday without seeking prior approval from the government. The visit is in violation of the recently introduced Foreign Trips Management Directives-2018.
Amid a growing trend among government officials to make unnecessary foreign trips, the government had decided to curb such trips and approve only those “which are beneficial for the nation”. Law Minister Sher Bahadur Tamang said that the ministry will not approve the trip made by Justice Bhattarai’s team since the trip was made without seeking prior approval from the government.
“The ministry is unaware about the trip by Justice Bhattarai and his team. So the visit will not be approved,” he said, adding, the government will not foot their travel bill and they will have to pay the cost from their own pockets.
The SC team is on a week-long visit to Georgia to exchange experience on mediation and the trip was pre-scheduled, according to the communications expert at the SC, Kishor Paudel.
Earlier, the cabinet had barred a Supreme Court team from making a foreign trip terming the visit as ‘unnecessary.’
The team visiting Georgia includes Justice Bhattarai, SC chief registrar Rajan Bhattarai and others
An official at the SC said that it was not necessary for the SC to seek approval from the government for every minor thing since judiciary is an independent institution. “How can a judiciary be independent if it has to seek approval for everything? Therefore, the team did not seek approval for the trip,” the official said.
However, Minister Tamang said judicial independence is applicable only in justice delivery but not to visits that involve spending from the state coffers.