The ruling CPN (Maoist Center) has made an exception to the Supreme Court (SC) order to register two court petitions seeking the arrest of its Chairman and Prime Minister (PM) Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
The Maoist Center has said that the order by judges Ishwar Khatiwada and Hari Phuyal on Friday to revoke the administration’s decision not to register petitions filed by Ramechhap’s Kalyan Budhathoki and lawyer Gyanendra Aran has seriously caught their attention.
Maoist Center General Secretary Dev Gurung issued a statement on Sunday, saying the party rejects and condemns all kinds of activities against the Constitution and progressive achievements. He has claimed that the registration of petitions citing Dahal’s statement flagrantly violates the freedom of expression granted by the Constitution and goes against the basic principles of legal recourse.
In addition, he has maintained that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR) and the Investigation Commission on Forced Disappeared Persons have been handling conflict-era cases and stressed that no decision can be made in a way that affects cases in the jurisdiction of the two commissions.
Addressing an event organized at Khula Manch in Kathmandu on the occasion of Maghi on January 15, 2020, Dahal refuted allegations that he had killed 17,000 people during the decade-long Maoist armed conflict, but said he would take responsibility for the death of 5,000 of those killed during that period. He had also said that he would take responsibility for everything good and bad that happened during the armed conflict.
In November 2022, the SC administration decided not to register the two petitions seeking a warrant to arrest Dahal based on his statement.
The court administration had refused to register petitions claiming that the conflict-era cases are outside the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as they would be dealt with by the transitional justice mechanism.
The petitioners, Kalyan Budhathoki from Ramechhap and lawyer Gyanendra Aran, then filed a lawsuit against the decision.
Holding a hearing on their application, a joint court of Justices Ishwar Khatiwada and Hari Phuyal reversed the administration’s decision not to register the petitions on Friday.
Aran and Budhathoki have stated in their petitions that they are victims of the conflict and that they have also filed complaints against Dahal with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
They have sought the maximum punishment for Dahal and others under the law, claiming that Dahal had made a public statement taking moral responsibility for killing 5,000 people. They have also applied for a provisional warrant to arrest Dahal and move the necessary investigative process forward.