Four months after his detention and a month in solitary confinement, BP Koirala is summoned before a specially constituted court at Singha Darbar. His lawyer, Ganesh Raj Sharma tells him he has filed a habeus corpus writ in the Supreme Court. On his return to Sundarijal, BP finds that he is no longer under detention under the Security Act, the army has been replaced by police. BP is too excited to sleep, and takes a sedative.
Tuesday 26 April, 1977
After all, they took me to a specially constituted court set up specifically to try my case on camera. In the morning immediately after breakfast the Major came inside to inform me that as I had been arranged to be taken to the court the lunch would be served before 11AM. I was in the bathroom doing laundry work when the information was conveyed to me. I had very little time to arrange my things and thoughts. But they came after 2PM, which I thought was time past for myself to be taken to the court + hence I was preparing to press my washed clothes. Ass. Anchaladhish 1st came along with the Major + told me that his order of my detention under the Security Act had been withdrawn and asked me to certify the withdrawal. When I asked him for a written order of withdrawal, he said his verbal statement was enough. I signed the typed certification, tho I was not wholly satisfied by his statement.
I agreed with him that since a written order of detention had been served, its withdrawal order should also be in writing. But he wouldn't listen. Immediately after I signed the certification of withdrawal I was taken out of the camp + brought to the court (at Singha Durbar) in a police jeep escorted by another jeepload of armed police. My 1st outing in 4 months. The outside of the camp appeared to be a small fort with sinister looking tangle of barbed wires, which reminded me of . Camp of war prisoners (Italians). The jeep was wholly covered so that I couldn't see much of the roadside views + scenes-whatever I could see was through the small openings in the flaps of the covering and the keep was being driven at 80km speed. They didn't take me through the main road which is the direct route-but adopted a circuitous route to avoid notice by the people. Everything in the court seemed to be improvised and hurriedly put up. The court is constituted of one judge, with two office clerks-the judge is the district judge of the Narayani Zone-seemed to be a little nervous and self-conscious also and anxious to be judicially fair. On the whole a good normal person, but lacks personality + may not be legally clever-and softspoken, but may not be strong enough to withstand the pressure from the govt. When the court sat, at the very outset I told it that I was unable to particiapte in the legal proceedings as long as I didn't get the services of a lawyer. He promptly said that I would get all legal facilities provided by the constitution-and a man was immediately dispatched to fetch Ganeshrajji. In the meantime I pleaded with the court that I should get all the normal facilities of an undertrial, including regular interviews with members of my family + also pleaded for the permission to them to attend this court. As regards interviews he said that he sould see what he could do about it afterwards, but as far as their attendance in the court was concerned the special court by govt order had to hold its sessions in secret, so outsiders wouldn't be permitted according to the very order of the constitution (See 21.4.77)
[entry on page for 21 April]
of the court. On this my argument was that family members were not outsiders and the secret session was not meant to be a session in purdah. The intention was to avoid press and the public. I further argued that since there was no specific order preventing the attendance of family members, the judge was free to interpret the order of the govt in such a liberal manner as per my interpretation of the order. The judge said nothing clearly on this point. As we were waiting the arrival of my lawyer the judge went to his chamber, permitting some kind of recess. In the meantime Ganeshrajji came. He told me that he had moved the Supreme Court for habeus corpus on my behalf starting that I was in military detention, that I was being interrogated by the police on charges that had already been submitted to the court + that too when I was a prisoner under the Security Act-malafide detention, etc etc. He was expecting Supreme Court's ruling on this writ application today itself. He also told me that foreign legal experts, including Palkiwala, were interested in my case + might attend the court as observers.
All this had an effect: because when I was brought back to the detention camp the Major told me that he had just received order to hand over the camp to the police and that the police party was expected any moment to take charge of me. The sudden withdrawal of detention order under Security Act, the withdrawal of the army as my jailer, my presentation to the court - all were suddenly decided with a view of the writ petition and the realisation on the part of the govt that what they had been doing with me was not legal + was definitely high-handed. If the court were as concerned as they should be for the citizens' rights under law it should take this development too in consideration. After all, the compliance of the letters of law without meeting the demand of it in spirit is typically known as jalphareb and jali phataha. A jaliphataha keeps his legal document in order but violates the law in spirit.
I was given a glass of lemon tea in the court room when the court was not in session. The court atmosphere was relaxed. I told the judge in the very beginning that when I am brought here, I became (see 24.3.77)
[entry on page for 24 March]
relaxed and relieved, that I had been kept in solitary confinement under Security Act detention order, etc etc.
I was brought back to the detention camp at 6:15 PM. This outing had been too exciting and I felt a little tired. I was hungry also. Immediately after food at 7PM I wanted to go to bed but I was too excited to sleep. At about 9:30 the Major came with DIG Chemjong and bade goodbye to me. At dinnertime the Capt + Subedar + others had come to say goodbye. I told them that they had been good to me + I thanked them all. I thanked the army cook + told him that I would always remember his solicitous care of us + for the good food he served. To the major I said-"Major, I am very glad as I hope you will also be that the army is being relieved from police duty. The army is always used by the govt against their political opponent, and is made to perform the police duty-which is not what the army is for." I further told him-"I am fighting for the dignity of the people of Nepal, for you, Major, for your brothers + for the future generation too. I wish you the best of luck. Goodbye, Major." He brought a writing table for me and said-"I know you had been wanting a writing table, and the army HQ was preparing to send one. But now that the police has taken over, I don't know how long they will take to get a table. This is my table which I had been using here. It is a field table. I hope it will serve your purpose." I thanked him. I saw Subedar was tearful. I also felt sad when they left. I seem to have grown a fondness for the men of the army.
The DIG who has taken over charge also seems to be a good man-bespectacled, thin, totally devoid of a personality which is associated with a police officer-an atmosphere of cold authority is lacking in his demeanor.
The atmosphere of the camp has suddenly changed. I took a tablet of valium 5 + went to bed, a little overwhelmed with the events of the day and a little sad at the departure of the army from the establishment. I had started liking them, and they too had developed a regard for me + an understanding of our cause.