Justices Karki, Sharma dissent in verdict to revoke decision to build Nijgadh Airport – Shova Sharma

Justices Hari Krishna Karki and Manoj Kumar Sharma have dissented in the Supreme Court (SC) verdict revoking the government’s decision to develop the Nijgadh International Airport.

The extended full bench of SC on May 26 after hearing the writ petitions filed by multiple petitioners had revoked the government’s decision to build the airport, the Forest Ministry’s Environmental Impact Assessment, and the decision to hand over 8,045 hectares of forest area to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

The extended full bench including Justices Hari Krishna Karki, Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha, Ishwore Prasad Khatiwada, Prakash Man Singh Raut and Manoj Kumar Sharma had issued a mandamus to revoke the government’s decision to construct the airport at Nijgadh and asked it to build an international airport finding an appropriate place.

The extended full bench was divided on the case and the majority delivered the verdict of revoking the decision to build the airport with Justices Karki and Sharma dissenting in the verdict.

A justice told Setopati that the three justices have not spoken anything about whether an airport can be developed inside the designated four corners or an alternative could be sought outside. They have advised to look for alternatives considering environmental security and sustainability.

The dissenting justices have opined that an appropriate place can be found in Nijgadh to build the airport and advised to not deforest a large area.

Whether the majority prohibited the option of looking for alternatives to build the airport in Nijgadh has yet to be known as the final verdict has not been made public yet.

The SC on February 16, 2020 had sent the cases related to the airport to the extended full bench.

The SC on December 6, 2019 had instructed the government to keep works related to the airport as it is.

A single bench of Justice Tanka Bahadur Moktan hearing the writ petition of former secretary Dwarika Nath Dhungel, advocate Krishna Prasad Bhandari and Prabhu Budhathoki had instructed the government to not move the project forward.

The SC hearing another petition filed by senior advocate Prakash Mani Sharma contending that trees should not be chopped to build the airport had issued an interim order on December 22, 2019 instructing the government to not immediately move the project forward.

The SC then sent both the petitions to the extended full bench.

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