Top court issues show cause notice in presidential pardonsA single bench of Justice Prakash Dhungana seeks the reasons for commuting remaining terms of three convicted of murder of eight policemen and a toddler in Tikapur incident.
The Supreme Court on Thursday sought clarifications from the President’s Office and the government over their moves to provide amnesty to three convicts of the Tikapur carnage from 2015.
Responding to a writ petition by Sharada Kadayat Bohara, wife to police inspector Keshav Bohara who was killed in the incident, and Mandhara Devi Bista, wife to another victim, a single bench of Justice Prakash Dhungana sought the reasons for commuting remaining jail terms of Hari Narayan Chaudhary, Pradip Chaudhary and Bir Bahadur Chaudhary, who were sentenced to life terms for killing eight police officials and a toddler. “The bench issues show cause against the decision to commute their sentence,” reads the court’s order.
The offices have 15 days to respond through the Office of the Attorney General. President Ramchandra Paudel, on the recommendation from the government, had commuted jail terms of the three convicts on the eve of the eighth anniversary of the constitution promulgation. Kadayat, along with Bista, had on November 9 moved the Supreme Court demanding the decision be annulled.
Kadayat also moved the Supreme Court against President Paudel’s decision to pardon the remaining jail term of Resham Chaudhary, who was convicted for masterminding the carnage. He was released on the occasion of Republic Day on May 29.
The hearing on the petition is yet to start despite it being on the November 7 cause list. The next hearing has been slated for January 1, 2024.
Resham and ten others were convicted by the Kailali District Court on March 6, 2019 for their involvement in the bloodshed. The Dipayal High Court upheld the decision. The convicts challenged the decision in the Supreme Court demanding a clean chit arguing that they were not involved in the killings.
The Supreme Court upheld the subordinate court’s decision to convict Resham, Hari Narayan, Pradip and Bir Bahadur, who are now freed. Resham is back in politics.
In their petition, Kadayat and Bista have cited the Supreme Court’s recent decision to annul a presidential pardon to Yog Raj Dhakal, aka Regal, a murder convict affiliated with the Nepali Congress.
On November 2, a full bench of Justices Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada, Sapana Pradhan Malla and Kumar Chudal concluded that the decision to grant amnesty to Dhakal, who was convicted of killing Chetan Manandhar in cold blood, was a breach of the constitutional authority.
On the recommendation of the Cabinet, President Paudel, on the eve of the 8th Constitution Day on October 19, pardoned the remaining jail terms of 670 convicts, including Dhakal, Pradip, Bir Bahadur and Hari Narayan. Dhakal was arrested immediately after the court’s ruling.
The full court's decision to overturn the pardon to Dhakal could be a precedent in deciding the cases against Resham and other convicts of the Tikapur carnage.
It is possible that the petition challenging Resham’s pardon could be decided together with the one against the release of Pradip, Bir Bahadur and Hari Narayan as they are of similar nature.