Thursday 22nd March 2018

AG Shrestha Vows for Private Lawyer Free GOs

Raman kumar Shrestha, Attorney General of Nepal, has been talked popularly in the field of Nepalese law politics by his new statement regarding Attorney. The conduction of National Conference of the Attorney was held first time after the establishment of the office of Attorney General in the history of Nepal, under his leadership. He has been planning to ban the appointment of the private lawyers in the government agencies. The joint conference of the Attorneys’ and the investigation officers’ is also being conducted to make the broader coordination among them for the strong positive results in criminal cases. AG Shrestha disclosed his opinion during the interview with T. P. Sharma Kadel, Editor of this online page (swagatnepal.com), including the process of newly appointment of Judges in High Court too.

AG Shrestha in Interview
/Photo: Pukar Timalsina

You have started the lobbying to stop appointment of private lawyers in the government (state) agencies. What are the reasons behind it?
Attorney General is the legal advisor for the state and the government attorneys works under the same organizational frame and same head. The Attorney General has the duty and right to provide legal advice to the government. It is not the advice which is given to an individual by any lawyers. Everyone cannot have this right to provide legal advice to the state as they provide to the natural person. If so, anyone not identified by the constitution, cannot keep right to be appointed in the government agencies and take economic advantages. The government sector should appoint legal advisor from the authority identified by the constitution.
As you are constitutionally right person to provide advice to the government, why did you ignore in the case of Lok Man Singh Karki?
I have already mentioned that state cannot take advice from any lawyers who are not authorized. Regarding the matter of Lok Man singh Karki, I found unauthorized members were called. For this particular subject, I found them unrecognized by the constitution. In this situation, how can I attain in such meeting? It is to understand that there is difference between individual (commoner) and Legal Person.

Regarding the view you have expressed, a citizen can get advice from anyone but why can’t the government from the private sector?
There is no any confusion in this subject because the article 158 (1) of the constitution has clearly mentioned that the Attorney General is the main legal advisor of the government. The government advocates are the other authorities mentioned in the constitution to provide legal advice for the government and if there are enough resources with the government, why should it call from the private sector paying huge amount?
For the same agenda, is there any other secret motive except this reason? Or, is it only by the huge presence of Nepali Congress and CPN-UML in the appointment?
No more reasons. In my view, government should not spend huge amount in the name of legal advising because it is the money of people. They pay tax. By the existing process of appointment, the peoples’ money is not being used properly. But if we change this system, their tax is going to be utilized in meaningful way. By the reason, the people will (are) support ( ing) me in this issue.
This particular subject has been increasing your popularity. What other activities you have done and going to do during strengthening your sector?
I think, it is not the matter of gaining popularity. We have completed national conference of Attorneys for the first time in the history of Nepal. It was after 65 years of establishment of the office of the Attorney General. And we are going to conduct another Joint National Conference between Government Attorneys and the investigation officials.
As you have said the conference was great and historical, do you think it is the achievement that you want?
Not exactly. But the declaration of the conference is an achievement. The point No. 9 of the declaration seems very important for us because it clearly talks about the state agencies cannot appoint legal advisors from the private sector. In case of appointing by any agency, the government advocate would not defend the case. Not only that, the matter of secrecy is another serious component. Many issues of the government should not be disclosed. At the same time, we have even declared not to defend the cases against the public litigation decided by the government agencies. This waves the positive message to the government to be responsible and sincere. This is all about implement the constitution. Constitution is to be put into practice. If the implementation body cannot implement it, what would others do? That is the great question.

In this regard, do you have right to decide either to defend the case or not? Isn’t this giving sense of being judge yourself?
No. It is the right provided by the main law of the state. I am the main advisor of the government. If the Attorney General and Attorney cannot give advice, than only it is logical to hire from the private sector.
Though you have historical declarations, do you have right to say not to defend the cases, not to advice the government as you are appointed by the same government?
Yes. It is clearly mentioned in the article 158 (2) that we have right to decide it. Actually, it is the practice to begin practice. Attorney General has right to see the case before the court does it. Article 158(4) has said that AG has right to advice or not to advice.

You have got right from the constitution and you have been trying to make your sector able but also don’t you realize some concerned people are against it?
I think, some of them might have understood less. The person, who should not have to take oath from the government, may not be the right person to provide advice. But, I hope, they will understand slowly. In my view, people are not much against of it.
There are many state agencies on the grip of few private lawyers who have been able charging huge amount of money in name of legal advice? What is your view on it?
We should believe in quality but not the quantity. No matter who are they? How much they earn and how? Mainly, my target is to establish the train and principle.
Many AGs faced this situation.Why do you think they could not do that? Any reason?
I think, they were known about the matter. I don’t have much concern about their working style but I will do that.
Regarding the movement you have started, what is the reaction from own sector?
They are positive and have been providing good suggestions. I think everyone will be positive because I have tried just to start the practice using my right given by the main law of the country.
Is there any significant works you have done to make your faculty competent? You also realize that government is not able to defend many cases.
We are doing well. It is the beginning. I have already told about the National Conference and upcoming Joint Conference. The conference will be the milestone in the history of Nepalese law sector.
Don’t you think you became the most popular among the government advocates?
I am here not for popularity but for the work to be done. They might be getting signal of positive changes.

As you have been lunching new practice in the segment of law, do you believe that you will be successful in this movement?
Yes. The other government sectors are positive in my movement. There is good cooperation. I hope that they respect the work. CIAA has given word to begin the implementation.
Have you got any pressure for not going ahead, from inside and outside?
Let’s not discuss on that now. You have understood all. I think within a year, the movement will get success.
The “Judge Appointment” issue has been criticized now. What is your view about the appointment of judges in the High Court recently?
It became the matter of controversial. I think, it was completed following necessary legal procedure and taking advice from the related bodies. So, it is not the matter to go against.
Some of them said that the selected are not so much able and qualified in comparison of not selected one. What is your view on it?
There are very qualified judges appointed. Some of them are awarded by the government. How can we say they are not qualified?
Have you ever thought you would be in this position one day?
Not actually. I am from the business family and my interest was to study electronic engineering. But later, I was given a responsibility related to law in my business which dragged me in this field. As a result, I became the student of law and honored by Gold medalist. After the political moment of 2046, I developed the sense of reaching in this position one day. And now I am.
A person from private lawyer is the head of government advocates now. How is your feeling being Attorney General of the country?
I am satisfied to handle the duty and responsibility of this post. There are many opportunities and challenges . And I love to face such challenges.
Are you planning to encourage your children in the same field?
No. they have already involved in other sectors. Daughter in International Relationship (IR) and son is studying MBS.
What is your future plan? Is this to be Judge or….?
I will back again in my own private field. Same field where I came from. It is clear that my plan is not to be judge. That’s why, I am able to express my views in this interview openly.

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