Supreme Court of Nepal at Ramshapath in Kathmandu/File Photo
KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday overturned the President’s decision to grant amnesty to Yograj Dhakal “Regal”, who was previously imprisoned for life in a murder case.
The bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada, and Justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Kumar Chudal, made the decision today following a two-day hearing of arguments from both parties.
The SC has also ordered the immediate arrest of Regal.
The full bench of the Supreme Court continued to deliberate on the matter throughout Tuesday and Wednesday.
In the writ filed by the President against amnesty, priority was given to Dhakal’s case, leading to the swift hearing.
Lawyers representing the writ petitioner contended that the President had abused his constitutional powers by granting exemptions from imprisonment to individuals involved in heinous crimes, based on political considerations.
A full bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada, Sapana Pradhan Malla, and Dr. Kumar Chudal gave the verdict to this effect.
It should be noted that the debate on both sides was complete on Wednesday.
Regal, who was serving a prison sentence for the murder of Chetan Manandhar, was granted amnesty by President Ram Chandra Paudel at the recommendation of the government.
Chetan Manandhar’s wife Bharati Manandhar Sherpa filed a writ in the Supreme Court on October 9 against that decision.
29-year-old Chetan Manandhar of Nepalgunj-8 was attacked near Dhambozhi Chowk on July 23, 2015. Regal was absconding after Manandhar’s death.
Regal, accused of killing Manandhar, went to the court and surrendered after two months in September.
He was then sent to jail pending trial.
District Court Banke convicted Regal in the murder of Manandhar in April 2019 and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
Concluding that they were involved in the murder of Manandhar, the court also sentenced 12 other people to 3 years to 10 years depending on the crime.
The then District Court Judge Bishnu Subedi’s bench had sentenced Sohan Singh Dhakal, a member of Regal’s group, to 10 years in prison.
Madhav Nepali, Biraj Pathak, Hari Oli, Manish Chaulagain, Pritam Thapa, Yam Bahadur Budha Magar, and Keshav Bahadur Rokaya of Regal’s group were each sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.
Similarly, Premdhwaj Khatri alias Prashant Gautam, Chabilal Basnet alias Vishal, Navraj Khatri, and Mohanlal Khadka were all sentenced to life imprisonment.
Regal was released after serving about 50 percent of his sentence.
Along with the opposition, the leaders of the ruling party and the civil society also protested against murder-convict Regal’s release.