2 district judges in dock over ‘sexual misconduct’

  • - SC summons the duo - JC conducting investigation
- Bhadra Sharma, RABINDRA UPRETI, Kathmandu/Mahottari
Judges Prakash Dhungana and Purna Prasad Bastola of Mahottari District Court were said to be in a drunken stupor when they were caught while making sexual advances towards a woman at a local hotel

Feb 24, 2016-The Supreme Court (SC) has summoned two district judges to the headquarters on charges of sexually harassing a woman.

The judges in questions—Prakash Dhungana and Purna Prasad Bastola—of Mahottari District Court were said to be in a drunken stupor when they were caught red-handed while making sexual advances towards a woman at a local hotel in Bardibas of Mahottarai on Sunday.

 “They have been summoned, but they are yet to appear before us. No further decision has been taken in this regard,” said Lal Bahadur Kunwar, Joint Registrar at the Supreme Court.

Following reports that the judges had harassed a single woman, Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha had instructed the court administration to summon them immediately.  

Officials at the Judicial Council, the body responsible for recommending action against judges, said they are collecting details regarding the judges’ misdemeanour.  

“The Judicial Council is led by the chief justice. So, he can also decide on the issue on his own,” said JC Spokesperson Devendra Raj Dhakal, adding, “We have a bit of complex procedure to start investigation into any case; a formal meeting should take place to take a decision formally, and it is yet to take place.”  

On Sunday, Judges Dhungana and Bastola had reportedly drunk beer at Sish Mahal hotel in Bardibas with four timber contractors and harassed the woman working at a local cooperative group. The woman had arrived at the hotel to collect daily deposits. The judges had verbally abused her while dragging her towards them. 

One of the contractors is said to be Shyam Dhakal of Hetauda, according to the hotel owner. 

The 22-year old woman ran home and informed her brother about the incident. Her brother, along with locals, then handed the judges over to police. Locals were not aware of the identities of Dhungana and Bastola until they were handed over to police. 

Once their identities were revealed, locals picketed the police office, demanding action against Dungana and Bastola.

Police, however, released the judges after they made a public apology.

 

Published: 24-02-2016 08:20

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