Dipendra Jha is a lawyer practicing at the Supreme Court of Nepal. He has master’s degrees in constitutional and criminal law, human rights, and peace and conflict studies from Nepal, Thailand, and the UK, respectively. Currently, he is associated with Terai Law Associates, a law firm in Kathmandu.
Advocate Jha’s interventions have been instrumental in strengthening the capacities of marginalized and excluded communities in the Tarai region to claim their rights to citizenship, equal participation in the state mechanisms and access to justice.
Among a host of other accomplishments, his interventions include:
His work has received high levels of recognition on political, organizational and social levels. This is validated by his success in influencing several important political agendas set by Madhes-based political parties such as the Madhesis’ entry into the Nepal Army, the amendment to Inclusion Act, voter’s registration, constituency delineation and citizenship issues. Adv. Jha’s strong linkages to lawyers, the media and the regular engagement with key political leaders have proved effective for policy intervention.
Click here to read more about some of his major interventions.
His upcoming book is Federal Nepal: Trials and Tribulations. This book is his debut non-fiction book, which includes insights from the perspective of a constitutional lawyer and insider for political parties during the constitution drafting process. The book exposes the manipulations in the constitution writing and implementing process and the dilution of the agenda of change, including federalism. It was expected that Nepal’s new constitution would help reform the state uniting Madhesi, Tharu, Janjatis, women and hill people. But the charter has, in fact, proved to be divisive.
The book, being published by Aakar Publishing. The book deals mainly with three different aspects of the constitution:
British Parliament Motion
After being invited to address the United Kingdom British Parliament, Adv. Dipendra Jha played a foundational role in the issuing of a motion in the UK parliament that urged the Nepal government to amend the constitution to allow for fair representation of the marginalised people of Madhes.
Read more about the motion here.
Madhesi inclusion in National Army
In 2011, a total of 154 Madhesis applied for the 32 reserved seats at the officer level, but only one was selected. In the same year, 1,683 Madhesis applied for various non-officer posts. In 2012 a total of 31 Madhesi candidates passed three levels of examinations including the IQ test for army officers. None of them passed the written test. On August 21, 2012, one of the candidates, Rakesh Yadav, who passed three levels of examinations, went to the Supreme Court charging that the written test was biased towards Madhesis.
The judges clearly stated that “the entry of Madhesis into the Nepal Army is constitutional and legal.” Articles 144, 21 and 13 of the Interim Constitution has guaranteed such rights of inclusion. Similarly, the Army Act 7 (1), Clause 4.7 of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, point No 5 of the eight-point pact signed between the Nepal government and the Madhesi Morcha and the recent four points have also ensured Madhesi representation in the Nepal Army.
Read more about the court order here.
We Are Sorry Campaign:
To issue an apology from upper caste groups for the discrimination, Adv. Dipendra Jha and several prominent journalists and human rights activists led a campaign with a simple but poignant argument: “Political liberation and social reform must go together.”
Read more about the campaign here.