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Controversy over Govt R-Day awards

world Updated: May 31, 2010 14:45 IST
Utpal Parashar

Controversies over state-sponsored awards don’t happen in India alone. Neighbouring Nepal also witnesses them.

The latest one is over the government’s decision to honour 269 personalities for ‘distinctive contribution to the country’, as part of the second Republic Day celebrations on Saturday.

Chief Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha has raised objection over the government’s decision to confer Suprabal Janasewa Shree honour to five judges without informing or obtaining his consent.

In a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office (copy of which was also marked to the President), he warned that the government move could harm the judiciary’s independence and impartiality.

Shrestha also accused the government of violating provisions of the interim constitution by its move and more seriously raised doubts on merit of the judges selected for the honour.

“Honouring new appointees only demoralizes others who have been continuously contributing to the nation,” he wrote.

There is also anger for the decision to honour a senior police officer who was responsible for death of a youth during the People’s Movement of 2006 against monarchy and restoration of democracy.

Former SSP Durga Kumar Rai was suspended and later indicted by a probe commission for misuse of power while suppressing the movement.

Expressing concern, lawmakers from ruling Nepali Congress have decided to raise the issue in parliament.

Several prominent persons like eminent journalists Kanakmani Dixit and Yubaraj Ghimire and popular actors Hari Bansa Acharya and Madan Krishna Shrestha have refused to accept the award.

“At a time of deep political polarization, I think it is inappropriate to accept this recognition,” the Republica daily quoted Dixit as saying.