Local judicial committees in Sudurpaschim restricted by lack of staff and legal know-how

- DR PANTA, DADELDHURA/BAITADI

Feb 1, 2019-

Local judicial committees in Dadeldhura and Baitadi districts of Sudurpaschim Province lack legal knowledge and staff in order to perform their responsibilities effectively.

The committees were formed more than 18 months ago during local-level elections as an alternative for settling disputes.

So far, not a single case has been lodged in any of Dadeldhura’s seven local units, while just 15 cases have been lodged throughout Baitadi’s 10 bodies.

Baitadi Deputy Mayor Janaki Bam, who leads the judicial committee, said they could not register any cases due to a lack of staff, judicial bench and legal advisors.

“What should we do by registering complaints, considering we do not have any knowledge or information about judicial matter? The few cases that we received were settled with the help of police,” said Bam.

Melauli Municipality has not registered a complaint yet. The committee did not have enough legal knowledge to do anything, according to Deputy Mayor Radhika Ojha.

Elected representatives of many judicial committees said they lacked the required legal knowledge, and that they were unaware of their rights and duties. Few committees have appointed legal advisors.

Representatives emphasised the need for legal training to make the judicial committees work as planned, as well as urging authorities to send specialised staff to adjudicate cases.

Bhageshwor Rural Municipality, however, managed to settle seven cases—including family and financial matters—since its committee was formed. However, the committee has yet to work effectively because of its lack of legal know-how, said Deputy Mayor Padam Bohara.

Keshav Chand, mayor of Baitadi’s Patan Municipality, said, “The delegation of power is not enough. It is essential to have skilled people involved, while also giving our elected representatives the knowledge needed.”

A widespread lack of awareness was also part of the problem, as people did not know the committees’ function or of their existence.

“A campaign is needed so people know they can access legal facilities at a local level,” said Draupadi Chand, judicial body coordinator at Sigas Rural Municipality.

Published: 01-02-2019 11:24

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