Fasting doc held in contempt case

  • Detained at Singha Durbar Police Circle
  • Due to be presented to the Supreme Court today for statement
- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Jan 9, 2018-

A few hours after the Supreme Court issued an order to arrest Dr Govinda KC, who had launched a hunger strike against the SC’s ruling to reinstate the ousted Institute of Medicine dean, the fasting surgeon was rounded up from the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital premises on Monday evening.

Dr KC has been detained at the Metropolitan Police Circle, Singha Durbar. Police said he will be presented to the court on Tuesday to record his statement on “why he should not be charged with contempt of court”.

Superintendent of Police Ram Dutta Joshi, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Range, Teku, confirmed the arrest. SP Joshi’s team had taken Dr KC under custody. “We followed the apex court’s instruction,” he said.

As police approached Dr KC on Monday evening, the fasting doctor gave in saying: “I won’t agree with what the SC says but will cooperate with the police in their duty”.

Dr KC said his fast would continue even in police custody. A number of his followers, students and doctors were present around Singha Durbar where the doctor will spend the night. 

Shortly before his arrest, Dr KC told the Post that the apex court cannot have monopoly over decisions on issues related to the health education sector.

“I’ll continue my fast no matter what,” said Dr KC, who has already staged 13 hunger strikes calling for reforms in the country’s medical education. Dr KC held a press meet at 2:00pm on Monday, right before embarking on another fast-unto-death, demanding resignation of Chief Justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli.

Dr KC had expressed disagreement with the court’s ruling that reinstated Dr Shashi Sharma as the dean of the IoM, Tribhuvan University. The anti-corruption crusader said such decisions set a bad precedent and could lead to all the gains in health education being squandered.

Presenting a long list of judgments made by the court in favour of private medical colleges, Dr KC had accused the judiciary of serving the interests of “mafias and medical college owners”.

In the meantime, a single bench of SC Justice Dambar Bahadur Shahi had directed the police to present Dr KC before the court claiming that Dr KC’s “indecent” statements had tarnished the image of the judicial system, judiciary and judges. The SC had ordered police to present Dr Govinda KC before it at 9am on Tuesday.

“Press statements and news published in the name of Dr KC on several online portals were indecent and against the decisions made by the court accordance with the laws and constitution,” the SC rules.

The order was issued in response to a contempt of court writ filed by Netra Bandhu Poudyal, a section officer at the SC, for defaming the judiciary. Dr KC has termed the court’s decision to reinstate the dean as a “systematic effort to affiliate new colleges and imperil medical education in the country”.

A division bench of Chief Justice Parajuli and Justice Dipak Kumar Karki ordered the TU on Sunday to reinstate Dr Sharma. The TU Executive Council on January 10, 2014 had appointed Dr Sharma to head the IoM.

But after Dr KC’s protest and widespread criticisms, the Khil Raj Regmi-led administration ordered the TU to relieve Sharma on January 22, 2014. Dr Sharma had a controversial tenure as the vice-chair of Nepal Medical Council. He was criticised for taking decisions favouring private medical colleges.

Dr KC has put forth five demands including probe into the conduct of Chief Justice Parajuli. “We’ve seen that the judiciary is under the grip of notorious and controversial people. This should end immediately,” said the doctor.

Published: 09-01-2018 07:36

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