Introduction to Political and Historical Development of Nepalese Legal System

Introduction to Political and Historical Development of Nepalese Legal System

 Nepalese legal system

legal system is a procedure or process for interpreting and enforcing the law. The legal system includes rules, procedures, and institutions by which public initiatives and private endeavors can be carried out through legitimate means. In other words, is a system for interpreting and enforcing the laws. It elaborates the rights and responsibilities in a variety of ways. Three major legal systems of the world consist of civil law, common law and religious law.

Historically, the Nepalese legal system is based on Hindu philosophy and its growth and development is largely influenced by Hindu religious texts. After the successful revolution in 2007 B.S., a new political system based on the democratic norms and values was recognized in Nepal. Since then, modernization process of the Nepalese legal system has been taking place at various levels and fields.

Nepalese legal system has started to introduce new concept through different sub-systems, treaties and conventions. The influence of Hindu religion and Dharmashatras was minimized, and the legal system of Nepal became a hybrid legal system after 2007 B.S.

After the change in 2007 B.S., the concepts of rule of law, fundamental rights of people, independent judiciary were introduced into the Nepalese legal system. These concepts were the voluntary incorporation of foreign laws and treaties by the Nepalese rulers.

In 2017 B.S., the Government Cases Act introduced new concepts in the process of criminal justice. Likewise, Muluki Ain 2020 B.S. brought changes in the penal system and introduced the principle of equality before law, which was adopted by the Constitutions of Nepal. However, it was lacking of fully enforcement in practice.

In 2047 B.S., the new Constitution was promulgated based on people’s popular movement and popular concepts necessary for a democratic country. In that constitution, rule of law, fundamental human rights, and the independence of judiciary have become the basic principles of Nepalese Legal system.

The present Constitution of Nepal has also applied rules of law, separation of power, secured the fundamental rights and duties of citizens, made the Judiciary independent and declared Nepal as a Federal Democratic Republican Country.

The legal and political history of Nepalese legal system can broadly be divided into the following parts:

1. Early History

Nepalese legal system is over two thousand years old. The formal discussion about the legal history of Nepal starts from Kirants. It is commonly known as the first ruling dynasty in Nepal, created crude form of government and judicature.

The Lichchvi dynasty paid sufficient attention to the development of well-managed justice system in the country.

The Malla Kings significantly reformed the judicial system. Jayasthiti Malla gave his great contribution in form of Manab Nyayashastra that promoted a lot in providing justice.

2. Post-Unification Era

King Prithivi Narayan Shah unified Nepal. He also devoted some of his thoughts towards the law and justice as well. King Prithivi Narayan Shah also helped in the systemization of judicial administration.

3. Dissemination of the Muluki Ain

Muluki Ain (Country Code) 1910 was promulgated which amended and codified all laws of Nepal – civil and criminal, including religious and customary. Muluki Ain 1910 was based on Hindu religion and Dharmashatras.

4. After the Period of 2007

During this time, King Tribhuwan Bir Bikram Shah Deva and late King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Deva both introduced noteworthy contributions. King Tribhuwan enacted laws making the judiciary independent and king Mahendra issued Muluki Ain 2020 which abolished caste based discrimination and promoted equality.

5. After the Period of 2047

After 2047, the multi-party democracy in Nepal was restored and some major changes were introduced in the Nepalese legal system. The mode of legal system started to change through the constitutional reforms. The basic structure as designed by the 2047 Constitution is as follows:

  • Constitutional monarchy
  • Sovereignty vested in Nepalese people
  • Multi-party democracy
  • Rule of law
  • Protection of human rights
  • Independent and competent Judiciary

Nepal has further issued two new Constitution after the promulgation of Constitution of Kingdom of Nepal 2047 B.S. The Interim Constitution 2063 and Constitution of Nepal 2072 but Interim Constitution 2063 was for short period of time until new Constitution has not been promulgated. The interim constitution has abolished monarchy system from Nepal and declared Nepal as republican country.

6. Constitution of Nepal 2072

The present Constitution of Nepal was promulgated on 3rd Ashoj 2072 B.S. This was the first constitution which was promulgated by Constitution Assembly in Nepal. The Constitution of Nepal was the collection of wills and aspirations of people of Nepal as the representatives of people had participated in constitution making process. The key features of Constitution of Nepal are as follow:-

  • Sovereignty power vested in people of Nepal 
  • First constitution promulgated by Constitutent Assembly
  • Declared Nepal as Federal Democratic 
  • Republican Country
  • Rules of Law
  • Separation of Power
  • Three tiers of federal government 
  • Independence Judiciary
  • Limited government
  • Constitutionalism

In this way, the legal system of Nepal was developed from Hindu Dharmashatras and now it has been became hybrid legal system by adopting the religious legal system, civil legal system and common legal system. Legal system is the rules and regulations by which a country is governed.

Anish Kumar Tiwari

I am Anish Kumar Tiwari, founder of this blog. I can write very well on any topics and I like to share information on different topics through my blog. Thank you for visiting my blog.

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