Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who resigned as speaker following rape allegations, has yet to be investigated by the police more than 100 hours after staffer at the federal parliament secretariat Roshni Shahi called police.
Shahi had called the police within an hour of the alleged incident and a team from Metropolitan Police Circle, New Baneshwore had immediately reached her rented apartment in Tinkune and recorded details from her.
An emergency secretariat meeting of ruling CPN held at the prime minister's (PM) residence in Baluwatar on Tuesday asked Mahara to resign from both speaker and lawmaker to facilitate investigation. But Mahara resigned only from the post of speaker and has yet to resign from that of lawmaker as per the secretariat decision.
But the police slept on the case and waited for written complaint from Shahi.
The law, however, does not require a written complaint from the victim in such cases as the police claim. A verbal complaint or mere information suffices.
Clause 21(a) of the Crime Victim Protection Act 2018 under the victim's duties requires the victim to make or give inform or notice as to the offence on time to the competent body or authority pursuant to the prevailing law.
Senior advocate Shankar Prasad Shrestha explains that this means filing a written complaint is not legally mandatory. "Complaint is not mandatory. Information suffices in itself for investigation and prosecution of crime. The information given to the police authority through phone in time is considered to provide complete legal grounds for investigation," Shrestha has posted on Facebook.
"Who comes to lodge a complaint when an unconscious or devastated woman has been raped at charity homes, jungle, riverside or any other place of solitude? Who comes when small girls who cannot speak or physically weak elderly making do by seeking alms are raped? Who comes to complain of murder or rape in a terrorized state of ethnic violence or mass murders in terrorist attacks?" he questions.
He points that rape is considered a crime against the state by the law and the government fights the legal case on behalf of the victim. "There are many more instances where the victim cannot lodge complaint. Why are such crimes called crime against the state if investigation of such crimes cannot be carried out?" he argues.
The police that dallied to investigate on the rape case citing lack of complaint by Shahi immediately registered the notice by her giving clean chit to Mahara on Wednesday.
Shahi still had bruises on her face she claimed were due to Mahara's punches when she reached the police with her husband Chitra Jung Shahi to register the notice on Wednesday. She had showed those bruises on face and body to the police team that had reached her apartment Sunday night.
The police following widespread condemnations now claim that investigations are on on the basis of the initial information given by Shahi on Sunday. "We are protecting the crime scene, conducting forensic tests and doing other necessary investigations," SP with Kathmandu Police Uttam Raj Subedi told Setopati. "We will take the case to the court if necessary on the basis of the investigations."
Mahara has been accused of raping Shahi on Sunday.
She has claimed an inebriated Mahara reached her rented apartment in Tinkune with a bottle of whiskey when there was no one else in the apartment Sunday night and raped her.