Kantipur receives court subpoena

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Sep 5, 2014-

The Supreme Court on Friday dispatched the court notice to Kantipur Publications regarding the contempt of court case. As per the August 26 order of the court, the defendants, including Chairman and Managing Director of the Publications Kailash Sirohiya and Editor-in-chief of Kantipur daily Sudheer Sharma, will have to appear before the court within seven days to have their statements recorded.

Other defendants are Director Swastika Sirohiya, reporter Ghanshyam Khadka and columnist Vijay Kumar Pandey. All the defendants, except Pandey, will have to appear in person to record their statements.

Responding to two different contempt charges, a single bench of Justice Gopal Parajuli issued the summon stating that the Publications tried to damage the image of judiciary. It has charged the Kantipur daily of running an “institutional mission” to defame judiciary. The daily is trying to “weaken the judiciary and obstruct the right of ordinary citizens to access justice”, the SC has said.

The order comes in the backdrop of Kantipur daily’s critical coverage on the nomination of some controversial names as justices, including Parajuli, to the country’s apex court, as well as corruption in the judiciary.

Observers believe the order against the Publication is an attempt to discourage critical reporting on judiciary. “From the order, it appears that court is trying to tell its critics not to delve into its matter,” said Shiva Gaunle, former president of Federation of Nepali Journalists. He added that critique on the conduct of a judge should not be construed as contempt of the institution. “There needs to be distinction between the two,” he said.

Another contempt case was filed by Advocate Ratna Kumari Shrestha, mentioning that the news report published on the daily on June 14 and the editorial column published on June 18 defamed and scandalised the court.   

On the front page of June 14 edition of Kantipur, Khadka had written a news report on the court’s decision to release Mohan Agrawal and Chinese national Guymtso Lama, the prime accused in a gold smuggling case, on ordinary bail. In the same case, the court had ordered for detention of Om Bahadur Bajracharya, the taxi driver found transporting the contraband gold.

Published: 06-09-2014 09:15

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