Supreme Court issues show cause notice to Prime Minister Dahal in insurgency-era caseThe apex court refuses to issue an interim order as sought by the petitioners.
The Supreme Court on Friday issued a show cause notice to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal in two writ petitions filed at the court seeking a criminal investigation against him over insurgency-era atrocities.
During a preliminary hearing, a single bench of Justice Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada ordered the defendants including the prime minister to submit a written response within 15 days on what actually had happened and why not to issue an order as demanded by the petitioners.
Hearing the petitions by advocates Gyanendra Aran and Kalyan Budhathoki, the bench ordered it to give priority to the case in the hearing process.
The apex court said issuing an interim order was not necessary, citing there are not enough reasons to pass the order in the current context. The petitioners had demanded that the court issue an interim order to arrest Dahal.
The order further states it would be appropriate to resolve various questions raised by the petitioners with regard to constitutional provisions, international practices and the apex court’s verdicts in connection with the transitional justice delivery only through the final hearings.
On January 15, 2020, while addressing a Maghi festival celebration event in Kathmandu, Dahal had said that he, as the leader of the Maoist party that led the decade-long insurgency, would take the responsibility for the deaths of 5,000 people and that the state should take responsibility for the remaining deaths.
It is estimated that around 17,000 people lost their lives during the decade-long insurgency.
Aaran and Budhathoki had tried to register their petitions on November 10 last year, but the court’s administration had refused to accept them claiming that the cases were related to transitional justice and already in the docket of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Later, on November 14, the court asked its administration to clarify its refusal to register the petitions against Dahal. A single bench of Acting Chief Justice Hari Krishna Karki had decided to seek a report on why the Supreme Court administration had refused to register the petitions filed by advocates Aaran and Budhathoki.
However, on March 3, the apex court ordered its administration to take the petitions against Dahal, stating that the criminal justice process could not be kept on hold, made ineffective or passive under any pretext.
In their petitions, the victims have demanded the court take necessary legal action against Dahal for the killings that he himself owned up to.
According to Budhathoki, the 20 writ petitioners, who were conflict victims, have demanded the Supreme Court hold Dahal accountable for the deaths of 17,000 people in the Maoist insurgency and not only of the deaths of 5,000 people.
However, the Maoist Centre and its breakaway factions have been objecting to the decision of the court to allow the registration of the petitions. Against their claims that the insurgency-era cases of atrocities must be handled solely by the transitional justice mechanism, the apex court in its March 3 ruling had said, “criminal justice process cannot be kept on hold, made ineffective and passive under any pretext”.