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SC seeks clarification for lowering jail term of black marketers

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KATHMANDU — The Supreme Court has issued a show cause notice to the government authorities, demanding the reason for shortening jail terms of black marketers amending Some Other Public Crimes and Punishment Act, 1975.

The five-member Constitutional Bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli, Deepak Raj Joshee, Om Prakash Mishra, Deepak Kumar Karki and Cholendra SJB Rana on Wednesday issued the notice to the government, seeking clarification on the two-year-old amendment that provisions a lower jail term than before for those convicted for black marketing.

Stating that the government led by KP Sharma Oli amended the Act with an intention of supporting black marketers, petitioner by advocate Jagannath Mishra had accused it of reducing the jail term to ultimately support entrepreneurs who engage in black marketing.

The petitioner also stated that the government had hatched a conspiracy to support black marketers with a lighter punishment by amending the Act.

The amendment came into effect from February 25, 2016 which reduced the jail sentence for various crimes such as profiteering, manipulating the supply of goods, cheating on quality and creating artificial shortages, from between three to 10 years in jail to up to no more than one year.

Advocate Mishra accused the government of undermining social justice for consumers as enshrined in the Constitution stating the provision was inserted in the Act in a grave deviation from the principal of consumerism and the constitutionally guaranteed rights of consumers.

Article 52 of the Constitution states that only cases deserving more than one-year jail sentence can be tried in district court and other cases which may deserve lighter punishment will be tried in other quasi-judicial bodies such as the District Administration Office.

The petitioner has sought the apex court’s intervention to put the rights of consumers back on track.

The bench has given the defendants — the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Minister, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Law and Justice and the Parliament Secretariat — 15 days to submit their written replies.

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PM congratulates Nepali national cricket team

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KATHMANDU— Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has congratulated Nepali national cricket team for being able to clinch the International T20 series.

PM Oli in a tweet extended best wishes and congratulations saying he was very happy to know Nepal’s win over the UAE by 14 runs in the third match of the series.

Winning T20 series is another landmark success for Nepali cricket, he said, adding, “It is big achievement for Nepal’s cricket. I would like to heartily congratulate entire members of Nepali cricket squad”.

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