Birth: 15 June 1940, Kathmandu
Death: 28 October 2021, Kathmandu
A revered name in Nepali judiciary, Bhairav Prasad Lamsal was best known for his strong public stand for the prosecution of around 600 persons, including government officials, judges and politicians—all of whom were shown to own illegal properties by an investigation panel he headed.
Lamsal was born in Kathmandu's Chuchepati, Chabahil. In 1961, aged 21, he entered the judicial service as a public prosecutor. While working in the courts of Nepalgunj, Biratnagar, Janakpur and in other districts, Lamsal started earning a name for his honesty and hard work.
In 1987, he was appointed an additional judge at the Madhyamanchal Chetriya Adalat, paving the way to his becoming the Chief Judge of Nepalgunj Appellate Court on 15 June 1992.
A fearless judge, he stepped into the Supreme Court on 1 August 1997 as a temporary judge; his stay was made permanent on 19 March 1999. He later became an ex-officio member of the Judicial Council and Judicial Service Commission before retiring from the Supreme Court as a judge in 2005. In his decade at the court Lamsal was noted for his judgment based on elaborate reasoning that left no room for any conflict of interest.
He believed one of the main reasons for the country’s unchecked corruption was the failure of high-ranking state employees to disclose their property details. Inspired by him, in 2002 the then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba formed the Judicial Commission on Property Inquiry, under Lamsal’s chairmanship.
The Lamsal commission was tasked with combing through property details of almost 42,000 government officials. Among those, the commission found the details of about 600 officials suspicious.
The Lamsal Commission, after working on the report for over a year, handed it over to King Gyanendra in 2003, demanding immediate investigation into the assets of those suspected of engaging in foul play. But the report became a political hot potato, as it was repeatedly passed between the Council of Ministers, the Judicial Council and the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority. (In 2004, the CIAA separately found out that 27 judges at the time owned illegal assets.)
The report brought out the truth of corruption among government officials, politicians and judges and yet no action was taken against them. In fact, the report was never made public.
On 22 July 2005 Lamsal was appointed a legal member of the Judicial Council.
Lamsal passed away on 28 October 2021 at the age of 84. He was suffering from heart problems and later caught pneumonia. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, and a son.