The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nepal court scraps king’s graft panel

Kathmandu, Feb. 13: King Gyanendra suffered a major setback today after the Supreme Court scrapped the controversial Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC), paving the way for the release of jailed former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

Deuba and former minister Prakash Man Singh were released from jail late tonight.

A special five-member bench of the apex court described Gyanendra’s act of forming the RCCC through a special decree as unconstitutional and ordered its immediate dissolution.

The bench said the commission was formed against the spirit of the 1990 constitution.

“The King has no authority to form such a commission under Article 127,” it said.

The bench, comprising Justices Kedar Prasad Giri, Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Ram Nagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma and Ram Prasad Shrestha, issued the order after examining the constitutionality of the anti-graft royal body formed last year ' 16 days after the King took over as an absolute monarch by dismissing the Deuba government.

The bench also announced that all decisions taken by the body, including the sentencing of former Prime Minister Deuba on corruption charges, would be annulled with the dissolution of the royal commission.

“The order for the formation of such a commission cannot be taken as a constitutional step as per Articles 83 (3), 84, 85, 88 (3), 89, 105 (7) and 127” of the constitution, the bench observed adding that the RCCC was redundant as the country already has the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority .

On July 26 last year, the RCCC slapped a two-year jail sentence and a fine of 90 million Nepali rupees ($1.3 million) on Deuba in its “verdict” on the Melamchi case. The apex court’s decision comes a day after it had ordered the government to produce 21 leaders to test the legality of their detention.

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