Nepal Today

Sunday, July 14, 2013



Kathmandu, 14 July: Shanti Jirel has been elected  chairperson of National Indigenous Women’s Federation by the sixth general convention Friday, RSS reports.
Jirel is a former lawmaker.


Kathmandu, 13 July: Nepal Must defeat Maldives Sundau to qualify for
final of the South Asian Volley Championship.
Sri Lanka qualified for finals with six points beating Afghanistan and
Nepal has two points with a win over Afghanistan.

Kathmandu, 14 July: The Madhes-based parties have mounted pressure on the Election Commission (EC) to extend the July 15 deadline to complete voter roll update for November elections, Bhadra  Sharma writes in The kathmandu Post..
A group of leaders from the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party submitted a memorandum to election commissioners seeking an extension of the term for updating voter roll this week, while other Madhes-based parties are exerting pressure on election commissioners, according to EC officials.
The parties argue that a large number of eligible voters, especially from the Madhes constituencies, are deprived from enrolling into the newly adopted biometric voter registration system in the absence of the citizenship certificate. Besides, the EC officials also said that establishing evidences of their presence in the older voter roll takes a long time.
The eligible voters have to produce citizenship cards to be enrolled into the newly introduced system with photos and finger prints, but those individuals who were registered in the previous voter roll can register themselves on the basis of recommendations of local authorities.
“It’s not only the case of Madhes as around 1.7 million eligible voters across the country are still waiting to get themselves registered. So the deadline for the voter roll update should be extended,” said TMLP Vice-chairperson Hridayesh Tripathi.
The Tripathi-led team has already asked Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety and other commissioners to move ahead only after updating all the eligible voters.
In April, the government mobilised 561 teams comprising officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the EC for a month to distribute citizenship certificates to Nepalis without the national cards yet.
The election commissioners fear that their plan to hold the election in November may be hit if the voter roll update process is not wrapped up within the fixed date. “The EC has come up with a time-bound action plan for the November polls. Rescheduling the cut-off date will directly affect the plan,” said EC Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav.
Out of total 17.6 million voters registered in the 2008 CA elections, only 15.5 million voters cast their votes. The commission, which has a target of registered 12.5 million voters by July 15, has so far registered over 12 million voters for the upcoming CA elections.
Citing the 2011 census, the EC puts the number of eligible voters (Nepalis above 18) up till February last year at 15.4 million. The commission estimates 2.5 million to 3 million voters are unregistered as they are currently aboard for business, study and employment purposes.
Kathmandu, 14 Juy: Around six months ago, a man was found murdered in Jhapa. Police seized the weapons from the crime scene and the post-mortem report stated that the injuries in the body were caused by sharp weapons, Ankit Adhikari/ Manish Gautam write in The Kathmandu Post..
Shankar Basnet, a forensic analyst, says police did not send the seized weapons to the forensic laboratory for test of fingerprints or bloodstains. While either the bloodstains or the fingerprints on the weapon supposed to have been used in the crime could be scientific clues to punish the perpetrator, there was no mention of such mechanical evidences in the police report.
Basnet said this happens frequently. He attributed this to the absence of a legal mechanism to oversee the “Rules of Evidence”, an international practice that systematises the way evidences are collected from the scene, their examination, documentation and presentation at the court. “However, our court itself relies more on statements taken from witnesses than physical evidences,” he said.
Besides, the problem, according to experts, is also about the infiltration of a third party in the evidence leading to its alteration and even manipulation at times. The infiltration, Basnet claims, violates the standard practice maintaining that the entire management of the evidences should move in a chain of custodies, during which no third person can access them.
How the Rautahat District Forest Office (DFO) trashed a scientific report of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) while prosecuting a wildlife “smuggler” last month too brings into question the same doubt cast over the absence of the rules of evidence. The case in point is about NAST’s examination of a material which “looked like” a rhino horn, seized in a Rautahat forest. While the NAST report showed the seized material was a fake rhino horn—made from adulterated magnetic substances—the district forest officer, having issued a verdict against the arrestee, told the media this his conscience said the material seized “could not have been anything other than a rhino horn”.
The non-implementation of a scientific report as such, according to Jeevan Rijal, head of the forensic department at NAST, is a challenge to the undisputed theories of science. “Two things could have been at play when the so called rhino horn was sent to us for lab test,” he said. “Either the officials concerned had no intention of looking into our report as the sample was sent to us just for formality, or the evidence that we examined was not the one that the officers had seized.”
The absence of the rules of evidence has taken its toll on other police investigations as well. Citing the dearth of authenticated processes to be approached while collecting and sending the evidences for test, the NAST does not take any samples from the police unless ordered by the court to do so.
Police spokesperson DIG Nawa Raj Silwal, claiming that the police leave no stone unturned in maintaining the rules of evidence, attributed the problem to the ignorant infiltration of public at the crime scene. According to him, allegations that police do not look into all the evidences are baseless. “We do have the rules of evidence in place,” he said. “All personnel are oriented towards the rules of evidence and the correct operation of the evidence’s chain of custody right from the training phase.”
SP Prabhakar Shah, deputy in-charge of the Central Police Forensic Science Laboratory, echoes Silwal. “In the lack of awareness, the public often touches and even takes away materials found on the crime scene, which may destroy vital evidences.”


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