Nepal King trying to control judiciary: Report
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Nepal King trying to control judiciary: Report

After bringing the media and bureaucracy under his control, Nepal's King Gyanendra is now trying to control the judiciary.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 17:49 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

After bringing the media and bureaucracy under his control, Nepal's King Gyanendra is now trying to control the judiciary, a media report said.

While cases are piling up in Nepal's overworked courts, the king has been ignoring the country's top legal body to appoint new judges, the Himalayan Times daily reported on Saturday.

The Judicial Council's recommendation to appoint 31 judges has been gathering dust for a month, as Gyanendra is busy on a three-week unofficial visit to western Nepal along with Queen Komal, offering prayers at temples and granting audience to loyal ministers, the daily said.

The wilful delay is said to be part of the pressure tactic applied by the king, who seized power through a coup in February last year, to appoint judges obedient to him.

"The palace had once tried to press the council to recommend names of lawyers loyal to the palace. But after failing to do so, the palace might have been once again trying to create pressure by not approving its recommendation," the report said.

Earlier, the law minister, Niranjan Kumar Thapa, had asked the council to include the names of 15 lawyers owing allegiance to the king.

But the move was foiled after stiff opposition by two Supreme Court judges, the report said.

Even the controversial Chief Justice, Dilip Kumar Poudel, and a royalist member of the council had tried to push forward the names of royal nominees, the daily added.

The daily also quoted a former chief justice as saying the palace has always tried to "influence the judiciary".

Bishwonath Upadhyay, who was also a co-drafter of the kingdom's constitution, told the daily the current king's elder brother, late king Birendra, had also tried to influence the judiciary though he ostensibly handed sovereign power over to an elected government after a mass uprising in 1990.

The report comes even as Gyanendra is smarting under a blow administered by the Supreme Court last month.

The apex court ordered the king to disband a controversial probe commission he had formed under emergency powers and given the unprecedented power of investigating, charging and sentencing anyone.

First Published: Mar 04, 2006 17:48 IST