The 10th Chief Justices’ Conference held in Kathmandu has adopted a seven point Kathmandu declaration, intending to encourage cooperation in the judicial sector amongst SAARC countries.
The conference has decided to employ the website of SAARCLAW as a tool to publicize judgments on human rights, public interest litigation, environment and commercial law. The website would also have an alert system designed for every new judicial update.
Periodic SAARC Law Reports have also been decided to be published. These would contain landmark judgments and decisions of the apex courts of the SAARC countries. The countries have also declared that steps be taken to foster regional cooperation so that the SAARC LAW Arbitration Center in Kathmandu could turn into reality.
The attendees to the Conference decided to make further use of national judicial academies for mutual exchange of knowledge, skills and experience of judges, judicial officials and law practitioners in the region, through trainings and visits. A mechanism for enhancing justice to all was also decided to be put in place, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. Best practices of Court management will now be shared among the judiciaries in the region. The Governments of all member countries were urged to provide adequate resources to the judiciary for strengthening its institutional capacity.
The conference was inaugurated by President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Saturday and was attended by Surendra Kumar Sinha, the chief justice of Bangladesh, Tshering Wangchuk, the chief justice of Bhutan, Kalyan Shrestha, the chief justice of Nepal, Ezaj Afzal Khan, the justice representing Pakistani chief justice and K Sripavan, the chief justice of Sri Lanka.
Nepal’s Chief Justice, Kalyan Shrestha was quoted as saying that the conference was a milestone in promotion of mutual cooperation and rule of law in the region. The Chief Justice handed over English versions of the Constitution of Nepal to the participants.
Interacting with the reporters at the end of the conference, Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur reportedly praised Nepal’s new Constitution. He described it as promising, as it has embraced the basic principles of human rights, independent judiciary, the rule of law and democracy. He said, “The new constitution incorporating peace, freedom, social justice and independent judiciary and people’s aspiration is very inspiring.” He put forth the idea of evolution of Nepal’s Constitution, keeping its basic structure intact, similar to the evolution of the Indian Constitution.