Locals complain of lackadaisical service at the judicial committee in NepalgunjLack of legal knowledge, budget and working guidelines is the major cause of the ineffective service delivery.
Hira Thapa, a resident of Gulmi district, wants to transfer a patch of her father’s land in Nepalgunj to her name. Her parents have refused to pass on ownership of the land, and she has sought to use the rights enshrined to her in the constitution to acquire her parents’ property.
According to Thapa, she went to Nepalgunj Sub-metropolis from Gulmi in August 2018 to get legal support from the judicial committee for her case, but she could not meet Uma Thapa Magar, Nepalgunj’s deputy mayor who leads the three-member committee.
“I had to return home without meeting her, as she was out of the district. I revisited Nepalgunj a few months later and finally met with her, but she told me that she was in a hurry,” said Hira, adding that the judicial committee did not extend her any support. “I felt that the judicial committee was reluctant to hear my complaint.”
She then filed a case in the Gulmi District Court since she could not get legal service from the Nepalgunj’s judicial committee, she says.
Krishna Shah, a woman from Kanchanpur who was married to a man from Nepalgunj, also faced a similar ordeal. She complained that she too paid multiple visits to the judicial committee in Nepalgunj but no help ever came.
She had gone to the judicial committee to get help with property matters, after she separated from her husband. “Whenever I meet the deputy mayor she says she is very busy. I talk to the legal officer of the committee and return with no help. The judicial committee and its coordinator are apathetic to my problem,” said Shah.
Aside from these two women, many service seekers have complained that the judicial committee does not provide any legal help.
According to the existing legal provision, the three-member judicial committee is formed under the chairmanship of deputy mayor. A separate bench is also arranged in the municipal office. However, the bench is almost defunct.
Maya Sharma, the legal officer at the sub-metropolis, admits that the judicial committee has been ineffective in implementing its work. “Hearings and giving verdicts are not under my jurisdiction. I can just give legal suggestions and advice,” said Sharma. According to her, the judicial committee is supposed to hold the bench every Thursday but that it rarely happens. “The deputy mayor is often busy and she has not given due priority to the judicial committee.”
Besides the deputy mayor’s hectic schedule, lack of legal knowledge, budget and working guidelines are the major causes behind the ineffective service delivery from the judicial committee.
Deputy Mayor Thapa Magar admitted that she hasn’t been able to give much time to the judicial committee. “But we are working on plans to make the committee and its functions more effective,” she said.