Justice Khatiwada refuses to recuse himself from hearing case against PM Dahal

KATHMANDU, March 10: Justice Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada has refused to recuse himself from hearing the petition filed against CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

On Friday, advocate Chandeshwar Shrestha and former Attorney General Mukti Pradhan, who argued in favor of Prime Minister Dahal, asked Justice Khatiwada to leave the bench.

The advocates reached the bench and asked for recusal without formally informing or giving a request.

“They said that the Justice’s opinion had already come in the previous order (to register the case) so he cannot be considered for hearing this case. But Justice Khatiwada did not accept it,” advocate Anantaraj Luitel, who argued on behalf of the petitioners, told Republica.

According to him, Justice Khatiwada, while addressing the plea of the advocate, replied that it is not possible. Luitel said, “Justice Khatiwada replied that you are talking about recusal, but it is not possible.”

Justice Khatiwada informed Luitel that he had ordered and heard 10 similar cases previously. “Advancing this argument, I will hear this case,” Justice Khatiwada said, “I will not recuse .” Khatiwada said, “Show me if there is any other basis, I will not recuse on this basis.”

The debate on the case against Prime Minister Dahal started at 12:45 PM on Friday afternoon and ended at 1:15PM. On behalf of Prime Minister Dahal, advocates Shrestha and Pradhan asked Justice Khatiwada to leave the bench, and then the lawyers arguing on behalf of the petitioners presented their arguments. Most of the lawyers participating in the debate demanded an interim order.

According to advocate Luitel, the advocates said that the war victims had not got justice although 16 years had passed since the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement. “Where should the war victims go to get justice?” the petitioners asked,

“The first argument was advocate Gyanendra Aaran’s father Tika Raj Aaran who was killed, filed a police complaint after the murder on March 1, 2001 but investigation has not been done yet,” he said, “This topic was also raised in the debate.”

According to advocate Luitel, even when the complaint was registered, the process of inquiry and investigation did not proceed, and the victim did not get justice for 16 years.

“The lawyers claimed that the Police Act 2012 and the Government Cases Act 2049 (1992) were not followed and the law was violated. On this basis, everyone demanded that an interim order be issued against PM Dahal,” he said.


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