It's still party time for Nepal King! | india | Hindustan Times
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It's still party time for Nepal King!

india Updated: Jul 06, 2006 15:02 IST

The Nepal government may have axed the vast powers and privileges enjoyed by King Gyanendra and brought him almost on a par with the average citizen, but the monarch still enjoys his own way in the kingdom - literally.

After leading a virtually cloistered life in the palace since the end of April, when his absolute reign came to an end, the king has started attending social functions once again - what's more, his minions bring traffic to a standstill every time the royal couple attends a party.

On Wednesday evening, as the king and Queen Komal ventured out of the fortified palace to attend a wedding in Thapathali where two leading hospitals are located, the army closed the road for nearly two hours, to the consternation of people returning home from work, students and residents, reported Kantipur, Nepal's largest daily and strongest critic of the royal regime.

"Though the security situation has improved (following a truce called by the Maoist guerrillas) and the times have changed (with a democratic government ruling instead of an authoritarian regime), we were compelled to close the road due to orders from the army," the daily quoted an unnamed traffic police official as saying.

The army order came even as the government has partially dismantled the Unified Command of security forces established under the king's directions in 2003, de-linking nearly 3,800 police personnel from the chain of command headed by the army.

Traffic will once again be obstructed on Thursday when the royal couple, the queen mother, Crown Prince Paras and his wife Crown Princess Himani head towards the Hotel de l'Annapurna for a party to observe a relative's son's first rice-feeding ceremony, the daily said.

While the army adhered to its loyalty to the crown despite being re-christened Nepal Army from the earlier Royal Nepalese Army to remove its association with monarchy, Nepal's judiciary has decided to clip the king's influence on judges.

Nepal's constitution gives the king the power to appoint judges. Though parliament axed the king's executive and legislative powers, it has not curbed his judicial authority.

But now, the Judicial Council, comprising of the chief justice and other judges, has decided to change the provision.

The council would recommend the names of new judges who would then be appointed by the chief justice, the Himalayan Times daily reported Thursday, quoting law, justice and parliamentary affairs minister Narendra Bikram Nembang.