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New laws come into effect from today

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KATHMANDU — A new set of laws to replace the 165-year-old Muluki Ain (Civil Code) that introduces sweeping reforms in the traditional legal practices has come into effect from Friday.

With this, the Muluki Ain — introduced by the then Prime Minister Janga Bahadur Rana in 1853– has been officially replaced with the new set of rules approved by parliament last year.

The new laws includes 70 percent provisions with revision from the existing Muluki Ain while 20 percent new provisions based on the changed context of social norms and values and the remaining 10 percent other provisions are based on precedents set by the judiciary.

6 laws were endorsed from parliament last year in August, splitting the Muluki Ain into five separate laws to be enacted from Friday.

Among the five laws, the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code deal with defining crimes and fixing sentences against those convicted of those crimes.

The new law has criminalized the Chhaupadi practice,match-fixing in sports, public land encroachment, dowry tradition, acid attacks, tampering with photos of individuals, and enslavement, among other offenses.

Likewise, the Civil Code, Civil Procedure Code deal with property issues, contract and property share allotment and other issues, while Sentencing Act has provisioned method and criteria to determine and pronounce sentences on offenses.

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Anyone involved in tampering with or distorting the photos of another individual without prior consent will be liable to face two years in jail and Rs 10,000 to 20,000 in penalty. Likewise, if a woman, according to to new law, wants to divorce her husband despite being treated properly by him, she may not necessarily get a share of his property.

With the implementation of the new law, foreign nationals to be married within the territory of Nepal should abide by the domestic law, whatever the limitations or freedoms in his or her own country.

As this new set of laws goes into effect, it has courted criticism from different quarters including the media as it has stringent provisions against defamation, privacy breach, recording of secret conversations, taking photos, publishing cartoons and sketches and tampering photos.

Some provisions in the Criminal Code say violation of any individual’s right to privacy would result in up to three years imprisonment and fines in thousands of rupees.

The new law also says listening to or recording a conversation between two or more people, or photographing any individual, without consent is a criminal offence and anyone found violating these rules faces one year in prison and a fine of Rs10,000 or both.

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About 7,029 girls, women rescued from traffickers in five years

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KATHMANDU—A total of 7,029 women and children were rescued from border by Nepal Police in the past five years.

They were rescued from Jhapa, Ilam, Morang, Udaypur, Sankhuwasabha, Parsa, Sarlahi, Mohottari, Siraha, Chitwan, Makwanpur, Nuwakot, Sindhuli, Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Kapilvastu, Gulmi, Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Jumla, Kailali and Kanchanpur while being trafficked. Out of those rescued, 3,896 were under the age of 18 years.

According to Nepal Police Spokesperson and Senior Superintendent of Police Uttam Raj Subedi, Nepali women and girls are vulnerable to trafficking due to the porous border with India.

Januka Dhakal, vice-chair of Samaj Utthan Mahila Manch, an organisation which has been working to prevent trafficking of girls and women, said lack of awareness and poverty made women and girls more vulnerable to trafficking. The traffickers target such women and girls with the promise of lucrative jobs in foreign countries.

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Most of such women end up in brothels in India.

Girls and women are trafficked mainly for prostitution, sex slavery and forced labour.
Nepal’s anti-trafficking law stipulates 20-year jail sentence and a fine up to Rs 200,000 for anyone found guilty of human trafficking.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has approved a proposal submitted by Inspector General of Police Sarbendra Khanal seeking establishment of Human Trafficking Bureau and Cyber Bureau.

The Ministry of Finance has allocated budget for setting up the two bureaus. Nepal Police hopes that it will be easier to prevent trafficking of girls and women after the bureaus are set up.

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