The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the Dipayal High Court’s verdict to slap life sentence on Nagarik Unmukti Party leader Resham Chaudhary in the Tikapur incident.
A joint bench of Justices Ananda Mohan Bhattarai and Nahakul Subedi on Tuesday has endorsed the lower court’s verdict to slap life sentence on Chaudhary saying the defendant’s appeal for acquittal is not justified.
The bench, however, has acquitted Sitaram Chaudhary and Gangaram Chaudhary who were slapped life sentence for murder and another five-year term for attempt to murder by the Dipayal High Court.
The SC has also slashed the term of another accused Laxman Tharu, who was also slapped with life sentence for murder and another five-year term for attempt to murder by the Dipayal High Court, to three years.
The SC verdict has arrived less than a week after the government registered amendment in the Criminal Code 2017 to withdraw cases of Nagarik Unmukti Party leader Resham Chaudhary, and leaders and cadres of CK Raut-led Janamat Party and Netra Bikram Chand’s party.
The government registered a proposal to amend section 116(1) of the Criminal Code 2017 adding a sub-section (a) to facilitate withdrawal of cases.
“No case once filed in the court on any offense under Schedule-1 or Schedule- 2 shall be capable of being withdrawn,” states the section 116(1).
The added amendment states that there will be no obstruction on withdrawal of any case against leaders and cadres of political parties or groups sub judice in any level of court if there is political agreement by the government to withdraw the cases irrespective of what is mentioned in the section 116(1).
Section 116(2) states that cases of grave offense including that of forged passport or citizenship, immigration, corruption, human trafficking and transportation, smuggling and transaction of narcotic drugs, poaching of, and illicit trade in, wildlife, adulteration of goods of public consumption with poison, murder by administrating poison, in a cruel or inhumane way or by taking control, money laundering, or ancient monuments protection cannot be withdrawn.
The amendment proposal registered by the government allows withdrawal of cases of even such offenses committed by leaders and cadres of political parties or groups.
Resham Chaudhary is one of the main accused of the Tikapur incident in which eight police personnel including an SSP of Nepal Police and a toddler were lynched on August 24, 2015.
The Kailali District Court had slapped life sentence on Chaudhary over the Tikapur incident and the Dipayal High Court endorsed the life sentence.
Chaudhary has been at Dilli Bazar Jail after surrendering before the Kailali District Court on February 26, 2018.
He was sworn in as HoR member on January 3, 2019 even as the case was sub judice in the district court. He remained in judicial custody and was not allowed to attend the House meeting even after being sworn in. He lost the post of lawmaker after the district court gave life sentence.
Chaudhary, who was absconding after the Kailali killings, had surrendered before the Kailali District Court on February 26, 2018. Chaudhary had lodged the candidacy for federal parliament in 2017 from Kailali-1 on Rastriya Janata Party ticket through an agent. He had won the election by a margin of around 19,000 votes securing 34,341 votes.
The government had filed a case against Chaudhary in the Kailali District Court considering him to be one of the main accused of the Tikpaur incident. The Supreme Court (SC) in December, 2017 had refused to register a writ petition he tried to file through an agent on his behalf demanding he be released on date.
The single bench of Justice Tanka Moktan had ordered Chaudhary to seek legal remedy through the court if he were innocent when he again moved the SC against the administration's decision to not register his petition. "The applicant must get acquittal through a legal process of the court if he were not guilty and the charges against him were false," the bench had said. "Knowingly allowing an accused a means of receiving the facilities and rights provided by the state by evading or defying the court process will promote impunity in the country," the bench had said.
The Kailali District Court then had slapped life sentence on him and the Dipayal High Court had endorsed the district court verdict.