Achham district judge who passed a controversial decision on a rape case called to Supreme CourtNabin Kumar Joshi last month slapped a three-and-a-half-year jail term to a rape victim, citing a non-existing legal provision.
Acting Chief Justice Deepak Kumar Karki has called Achham District Court Judge Nabin Kumar Joshi to the Supreme Court on deputation.
Joshi had run into controversy after handing down a three-and-a-half-year sentence to a rape vicitim and acquitted the accused.
On March 23, Joshi cited a non-existent legal provision to pass the judgement sentencing the girl, without even giving a chance to her to defend herself.
The girl is preparing to appeal the sentence at Dipayal High Court. The government attorney too is planning to appeal against Joshi’s decision to acquit the accused.
Man Bahadur Karki, a spokesperson at the Judicial Council, said Acting Chief Justice Karki is planning to send a replacement for Joshi in Achham after transferring him to the Supreme Court.
“On Sunday, the chief justice decided to bring Achham District Court Judge Joshi to the Supreme Court on deputation,” said Karki.
Joshi will be given some minor responsibilities at the Supreme Court while the Judicial Council investigates him. But it is still unclear when the Judicial Council will begin the probe.
According to officials at the Judicial Council, the council will take a decision on when to begin the probe against Joshi.
The Judicial Council investigates judges against whom there are complaints and reveals the findings.
The girl from Kamal Bazar of Achham had filed a rape charge against Nandaram Khanal of Ramaroshan Rural Municipality-4, saying that he had established sexual relationship with her at her home in Kamal Bazar and again in a nearby jungle on the night of January 29, promising that he would marry her and take her to Mumbai, but later he allegedly backtracked on his promises.
The victim had told the Post’s sister paper Kantipur that she had filed the complaint to the police two days later, but she was goaded into changing her statement later before the court.
After police investigated the complaint, the district attorney filed a case against Khanal at the Achham District Court on February 22.
But stating that the victim herself changed her statement, the court slapped a three-and-a-half-year jail term on the victim.
Clause 44 of the Criminal Procedures Code has a provision that one who changes their statement can be sentenced up to three months and fined Rs5,000. However, Joshi slapped a 14 times higher jail term.
Joshi’s decision had created furore because he had cited a law that no longer exists to hand down the jail term to the girl, with rights activists and people from the legal fraternity questioning whether competent judges are being appointed in Nepal’s courts.