Birgunj judicial committee sees decline in casesCases drop to six this fiscal year from 13 last fiscal year.
The judicial committee of Birgunj Metropolitan City in Parsa district has been without work of late as very few complaints are being lodged at the committee.
As per the data available at the judicial committee, only six cases have been filed at the committee in the current fiscal year.
“The number of cases filed at the committee is decreasing by the year,” said Dhan Bahadur Thapa, an advocate at the judicial committee.
As many as 131 cases had been filed at the judicial committee when it was formed in the fiscal year 2017/18. In the fiscal year 2018/19, the committee received 79 cases while 58 and 13 cases were lodged in the fiscal years 2019/20 and 2020/21 respectively.
A total of 287 cases have been filed at Birgunj's judicial committee since 2017. The committee said it has settled 122 cases so far while 165 others are pending.
The metropolis’s judicial committee, led by Deputy Mayor Shanti Karki, has two other members—Baijayanti Mala and Tufel Akhtar.
According to Thapa, in the initial days after the committee’s formation, people used to come and register cases without any proof or names of the claimant.
“The number of cases started decreasing after the committee demanded proof, necessary documents and details of the claimants,” said Thapa. “Another reason behind the decline might be the lack of commitment from the judicial members. The committee’s members are the elected representatives of the people so they are often busy with administrative work and can’t give their full time to the committee.”
The judicial committee also has problems in implementing its decision due to the non-cooperation of other concerned stakeholders, Thapa says.
“The executive committee, police and other authorities concerned are responsible to implement the committee’s decisions. But they do not take their responsibility sincerely,” said Thapa.
A lack of legal knowledge among the judicial committee members is another leading cause behind the committee’s decline, local residents say.
Tufel Akhtar, one of the committee members, however, argues that the Covid-19 pandemic and the people’s representatives' role in settling disputes at the ward level have led to fewer cases being lodged at the judicial committee.
There is a provision of a judicial committee in each local unit. The Local Government Operation Act 2017 clearly states the roles and duties of the local judicial committee. It has been empowered to settle disputes related to 13 specific matters, including property boundary disputes; disputes regarding canals, dams, ditches or allocation of water; encroachment on roads or way out; disputes about compensation for damage to crops; disputes about payment of wages; and disputes about lost and found cattle.