Overcoming Challenging While Engaging in Judicial Resolution

The Constitution delineates the list of local government rights in Schedule 8. Articles 57 (4), 214 (2), 221 (2), and 226 (1) of the Constitution are pertinent to the rights of local bodies. Correspondingly, the Local Governance Act of 2017 has been enacted. Under the Constitution, provisions ensure the existence of village councils, municipal councils, district councils, district courts, and the facilitation of mediation/arbitration. Additionally, provisions have been made for the establishment of judicial committees within local governments. According to the Local Governance Act of 2017, judicial committees are granted two types of authority: the right to resolve disputes under Section 47 (1) of the Act and the right to resolve disputes through mediation as per Section 47 (2). Despite their limited knowledge of legal and judicial practices, the conveners of judicial committees bear significant responsibility for judicial administration. Have representatives overseeing judicial administration encountered any challenges? In this context, Rima BC, the representative of Rupandehi district for INSEC, has conducted discussions with several deputy mayors and vice-chairpersons at the local level in Rupandehi, gathering and presenting public opinion.


Kalpana Harijan

Deputy Mayor, Lumbini Cultural Municipality

There have been some initial challenges, which I view as opportunities for improvement. In our municipality, various issues have arisen, including land encroachment, disputes over shared property, and the unlawful seizure of government land. Some interpersonal conflicts have been successfully addressed through mediation discussions, while those that couldn’t be resolved amicably have been referred to the court. Following legal counsel, many of these issues have become more manageable. However, the authorities are sending letters, after consulting both press and legal advisors, which has caused concern. Letters were received indicating to remove legal advisors due to increased expenses. Despite this, we have not dismissed our legal advisors. Unfortunately, in 13 wards, only two ward secretaries are currently active. Despite the absence of permanent staff, contractual employees are fulfilling their duties. Nonetheless, the cooperation and collaboration of all representatives and staff have streamlined operations. The utilization of authority granted to local judicial committees has facilitated the resolution of legal matters.


Vidyalaxmi Gurung

Deputy Mayor, Devdaha Municipality

Biddhayalaxmi-Gurung-Devdha-244x300Initially we were unclear about our duties, responsibilities, and rights. There were no legal advisors in the judicial committee. There weren’t enough staff members. At times, the previous term was extremely challenging. Now, it’s my second term. Legal advisors have been appointed now. The situation is not as it used to be before. Justice administration has become easier. In Devdaha Municipality, around 60 or more cases are brought to the judicial committee annually. Most of the cases involve transactions, land disputes, marital conflicts, domestic violence, and incidents of sexual violence. Recently, even men have started coming forward to report abuse. In comparison to before, justice administration is much smoother now, and there has been considerable success in delivering justice. According to the Local Governance Act, 2074, the judicial committees have been given two types of authority: the authority to adjudicate disputes as per Section 47 (1) of the Act and the authority to resolve disputes through mediation from Section 47 (2). Although some cases have been resolved through consensus, they have not been implemented, leading to their recurrence. Some cases are referred to the district court.

Sabitridevi Aryal

Butwal sub-metropolitan city

Sabitra-Devi-Arayal-245x300In the judicial committee of Butwal Sub-Metropolitan City, various issues such as land disputes, boundary conflicts, a house built on land belonging to three individuals, marital disputes, domestic violence, and sustenance complaints are frequent. Having worked in the community, justice delivery has not been a problem. Most cases are resolved through mediation. As this area is known for handling challenging tasks, these situations are seen as opportunities. The judicial committee is continuously adjudicating cases within its jurisdiction through the means of mediation.




Sunita Chaudary

Vice chairperson, Omsatiya Rural Municipality

Sunita-Chaudari-Omsataya-RM-278x300In the beginning, we faced a lot of problems. What should we do? How should we move forward? These were the questions we had. Thankfully, things got easier after some training. Initially, there was a lack of understanding regarding legal provisions, and the delineation of duties and rights was unclear. While winning the election was one milestone, determining the subsequent course of action remained uncertain. There was fear that some laws might be violated when the provincial government was slow in legislation. Employees did not cooperate much at first, but now everyone is working together well. Even senior administrative officials and other employees who were not very understanding in some matters now readily provide assistance. Most of the disputes in the judicial committee are related to land disputes and transaction-related issues. Cases of domestic violence are fewer. The decrease in cases is because people fear embarrassment if they report them, as per their mindset. Some cases are quite complicated. Because the judicial committee handles certain issues through mediation, so sometimes mediations are done through ward level mediators. While some cases are settled by the judicial committee, others are referred to higher courts. However, in certain instances, solely because of my gender, I encounter differential treatment, lack of response when I send letters for discussions, suggestions that discussions should be elevated to higher authorities, and a mindset that prescribes what a woman can or cannot do, along with presumptions about her thoughts, both in the past and present.


Mausami Thapa Magar

Vice chairperson, Kanchan Rural Municipality

Mausami-Thapa-Magar-271x300There have been challenges at the outset. What to do? How to proceed? How to conduct speedy trial, how to gain trust, these were the concerns. There was insufficient legal knowledge for dispensing justice, and no legal advisors. Even now, there are no legal advisors. It felt like an impossibility to resolve disputes. There was also ignorance about the domain of work, duties, and rights. But now, as work progresses, there is much more information available on various topics.

Disputes related to land are the most common in the judicial committee. Additionally, issues such as conflicts between spouses and land encroachments also arise. Typically, straightforward cases are sent for mediation through local mediators. However, some cases are more complex. Such cases are progressed by taking advise from legal professionals to move forward. Some issues pending in court are brought to the judicial committee for consideration. Regarding such cases, advice is sought from legal practitioners to move forward. Currently, there is an increase in the number of cases coming to the judicial committee. Viewing this as an opportunity, we are forging ahead, surmounting challenges as we glean valuable insights.