Kathmandu Mayor Shah defends his court remarksSays he was just exercising his constitutional right to free speech.
Kathmandu Metropolitan City Mayor Balendra Shah has claimed his remark about one of the Supreme Court rulings cannot be termed as contempt of court.
Furnishing his written clarification to the court on Tuesday, Shah said freedom of expression is a constitutional right of citizens which allows them to have critical views on any issue.
“Right to expression and opinion has been guaranteed by Article 17 (2) of the constitution. The judiciary itself is a custodian of the constitution,” Shah wrote in his clarification. “It would be wrong to conclude that exercising constitutional rights can lead to contempt of court. One can have a critical opinion on any action by any state agency.”
Expressing his disappointment over the Supreme Court’s interlocutory interim order against the metropolis to halt demolition at the Norvic International Hospital, Shah on August 10 wrote a Facebook post: “I would like to request for an amendment to the constitution to give the Supreme Court all the authority related to approving the building design and taking action against illegal constructions.”
Advocate Deepak Raj Joshi filed a contempt of court case against Shah claiming that his reaction in the public forum amounted to contempt of court. After a preliminary hearing on August 29 the court issued a show-cause notice to Shah, asking him to submit a written response to the court.
On August 9, the City had attempted to demolish an illegally constructed structure of the Norvic International Hospital in Thapathali by issuing a 24-hour ultimatum. But it backtracked on its step and formed a probe committee to investigate the alleged encroachment.
Later, the committee was forced to stop its work after the Supreme Court issued an interlocutory order not to remove the structures built by the hospital. Mayor Shah took to his official Facebook to express his displeasure over the order.