KATHMANDU, May 21: In a bid to expedite clearance of a backlog of nearly 160 corruption cases, the Supreme Court (SC) is all set to issue an anti-corruption strategy at the earliest.
According to a SC source, the proposed strategy aims at discouraging individuals ranging from notice servers to justices who try to influence corruption cases under various pretexts.
"Justices who deliberately try to avoid handling corruption cases will have to furnish reasons in writing for not handling such cases," states a provision under the strategy.
Justices have long been deferring graft cases saying that he/she shouldn´t be involved in settling a particular case because there could be conflict of interest. However, to date, there is no provision that requires such justices to clearly mention in writing the reason for not looking at a particular case.
"As per the new anti-graft strategy, a justice has to clearly mention in writing through the bench assistant why he/she was unable to take up a particular corruption case," states the provision.
The SC source said such a provision will primarily discourage justices from deliberately deferring graft cases.
According to the source, the strategy is in the final stages of preparation. A committee headed by SC Justice Prakash Wasti has been working to finalize the strategy. The committee has already held several meetings with SC justices, judges of the Special Court and judicial staff regarding the provisions to be incorporated in the strategy.
"We are soon holding a meeting with notice servers as we have received feedback that they are mainly responsible for notices of cases not being dispatched on time, thereby delaying the cases," the source added.
The source further said they are also mulling over providing vehicles to notice servers if they so demand. "If notice servers have been facing problems due to vehicle problems, we are ready to fulfill that demand," the source told Republica.
The provision also states that the SC would maintain zero tolerance for judicial staff who either deliberately put off cases or influence them by various means. As per the provision, the SC would first seek clarifications from those officials who deliberately influence case proceedings. "Officials found guilty of influencing cases would first be warned. If they repeat the mistake, they would be suspended without delay," reads the provision.
"The SC won´t accept any application seeking deferral of a corruption case more than twice," states the provision.
To discourage government lawyers, the strategy aims to keep records of how many times and for what reasons they request deferal of cases. And to discourage private lawyers, the strategy recommends that the SC strictly implement provisions incorporated in the SC regulations which state that no one can defer a particular case more than two times.
"Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi is very positive about issuing the anti-graft strategy without delay," the source said, adding, "We are preparing to implement the strategy shortly."