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New passport troubles

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

The Supreme Court has ordered the government to halt the process of outsourcing the printing of machine readable passports, in the wake of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal’s statement that he was forced to award the contract to India to please the coalition parties. Republica writes:

Responding to a writ petition filed against the government´s decision to award the Machine Readable Passports (MRPs) contract to India, the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday issued an interim order asking the government to suspend the process until Monday.

The single bench of Justice Sushila Karki said that it will hold further hearings on the writ on Monday and decide whether to continue the stay order. “The bench hereby orders the government not to move ahead as per its previous decision to import MRPs from India until our next decision,” reads the SC order.

Lawmakers also registered their opposition to the passport deal in the parliament today saying it poses a national security threat. Kantipur writes:

“By defying the directives of the committee the government has meddled in the jurisdiction of the Parliament,” CPN-ML lawmaker Yadubansha Jha Maithil Bahun said.

Dubbing the government as a puppet, Maoist lawmaker Bhim Prasad Gautam said the decision should be scrapped at the earliest as it posed national security threat.  “Diplomatic and political reasons cited by the prime minister while awarding MRP contract to India is objectionable,” he said.

Meanwhile a panel formed by the Women, Children and Social Welfare Committee to investigate the killings of three women in Bardiya National Park has reported that the army destroyed evidence from the incident. Nagarik writes:

The Women, Children and Social Welfare Committee of the Legislature Parliament has called the incident, in which three women, including a 12-year-old girl were killed, mysterious, and said the army played a role in destroying the evidence. A team that visited the site for investigation has concluded that the army prepared their own report and got the police who visited the site after the incident to sign it.

An earlier report by National Human Rights Commission accused the army of using excessive force and has asked the government to prosecute the involved security personnel for murder.

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