The Nepalgunj Appellate Court has issued a show cause notice in the name of Bardiya District Police to report within 15 days with a written explanation on a contempt of court case.
A single bench of Chief Judge Bam Kumar Shrestha issued the order on Monday, seeking explanation on the authorities’ refusal to register conflict-era cases. This is the second order from the court to the police administration to register the cases.
Two years ago, Nepal Police had refused to register cases against the extrajudicial killings of Dil Bahadur Khadka, Narayan Prasad Sapkota, Suresh Chaudhary, Kanhaiya Tharu, Karna Bahadur Tharu and Anil Chaudhary of Bardiya, citing the lack of evidence. When the District Administration Office also refused to register their cases, Bhagiram Chaudhary, chairperson of the Conflict Victims Committee, Bardiya, had filed a writ petition in the Appellate Court.
The court, in November 2014, issued an order in the name of the Bardiya DAO and police to register the cases. Police, however, refused to take the cases arguing that the newly formed transitional justice bodies would look into conflict era cases.
Citing the Supreme Court verdict on conflict-era cases, a second writ petition was registered at the court in April last year. The SC, in its verdict, has stated that conflict victims can seek justice through either the regular court or the transitional justice mechanism.
In December 2014, the Dailekh District Court had delivered a verdict in the 2004 murder of journalist Dekendra Raj Thapa, which was a conflict-era case. The district court’s decision to slap up to two-year jail terms on the murderers was upheld by the Surkhet Appellate Court.
Similarly, he Kavre District Court last month reopened the case of Maina Sunar, in which the court had issued a verdict against four Army officials—Bobi Khatri, Sunil Prasad Adhikari, Amit Pun, and Niranjan Basnet—on the charge of her illegal detention, torture, and murder in 2008.
“We were forced to appeal to the court as the local administration refused to take our cases,” said petitioner Bhagiram. “Police even defied the court order. We want to see what excuses they have now.”
The SC verdict to seek justice in insurgency-era cases through regular court was opposed by former rebel party UCPN (Maoist). However, the court issued a verdict in favour of conflict victims allowing them both the options to seek justice. However, the transitional justice bodies are now allowed to investigate into cases sub judice in court.