Patan High Court upholds district court’s decision to remand Mahara into judicial custodyWhile upholding the decision, the High Court also asked the Kathmandu District Court to conclude the case within a month.
Tika R Pradhan
The Patan High Court has upheld the decision of the Kathmandu District Court regarding the judicial custody of former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who was remanded to custody on November 4.
Citing the urgency of the case, the High Court, however, asked the district court to conclude the case within a month.
Arguing that the district court’s decision was faulty, Mahara had appealed the High Court, demanding that the decision to remand him into judicial custody be scrapped.
However, a joint bench of Chief Judge Nahakul Subedi and Judge Tek Bahadur Kunwar upheld the district court’s decision. Mahara can still appeal the decision at the Supreme Court.
“Citing the gravity of the offence, the High Court urged the district court to conclude the case within a month,” said Baburam Dahal, registrar at the Patan High Court. The district court should deal with serious cases, including those related to rape and domestic violence, at the earliest through a continued hearing, said Dahal.
Mahara was arrested on October 6, two days after a woman who works at the Parliament Secretariat lodged a complaint with the police, accusing him of attempted rape.
Police had filed a charge sheet against Mahara on October 31, demanding five to seven-and-a-half years in jail.
Four days after his arrest, Mahara was shifted to Norvic Hospital after he complained of chest pains. Since then, Mahara had been defending his case from the hospital, with a defence team of nearly 30 lawyers, including former attorney general Raman Kumar Shrestha.
But on November 4, Mahara was taken to Dillibazar prison after the court remanded him to judicial custody.
Mahara is the first high-profile politician to go to trial for rape allegations. Although he stepped down as House Speaker after the allegations became public, he has not resigned as a Member of Parliament.
In the initial days since the allegations emerged via an online portal, the case has taken various turns, as the accuser in an interview with another online portal retracted her earlier statements, prompting confusion among law enforcement officials.
It was only after the woman visited the Baneshwor police station and filed a formal complaint that the police acted. Mahara, in his statement to the court, has denied ever entering the woman’s apartment.