Nepal SC annuls Parliament Secretariat’s letter calling Chief Justice Rana’s impeachment ineffective
Kathmandu : Issuing an interim order, the Supreme Court of Nepal on Friday annulled the letter of the parliament secretariat which had stated the impeachment motion filed against Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana to be ineffective.
The constitutional bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Hari Krishna Karki comprising Justices Bishowambhar Prasad Shrestha, Ishwar Khatiwada, Aananda Mohan Bhattarai and Anil Kumar Sinha issued interim an order blocking the return of Chief Justice Rana to the Supreme Court.
The bench has issued an interim order that states not to implement the decision of Federal Parliament Secretary Dr Bharatraj Gautam’s notice issued on December 7 which mentioned that the impeachment motion against Rana has been inactive.
The bench further stated that Bharatraj Gautam does not have the right to issue such notice and it does not fall under his jurisdiction. Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana, who is due to retire as the Nepal Chief Justice on December 13 has been kept under tight security and observation at his government residence in Baluwatar.
Six senior advocates- Krishna Prasad Bhandari, Shambhu Thapa, Badri Bahadur Karki, Purnaman Shakya, Tikaram Bhattarai and Nepal Bar Association President Gopalkrishna Ghimire have pleaded on behalf of the petitioners demanding the annulment of the decision.
Supreme Court Bar Association President Purnaman Shakya, Vice President Mukunda Prasad Paudel, Secretary Rishiram Ghimire, Treasurer Vinod Kumar Karki and members Bikash Bhattarai, Ananta Raj Luitel, Deep Narayan Sah, Amita Gautam and Ramhari Tripathi had moved the apex court challenging the decision of the Parliament Secretariat on Wednesday.
Suspended Chief Justice Rana earlier on December 6 had written to the Parliament Secretariat requesting it to inform the authorities concerned to allow him to resume his work, stating that the impeachment motion registered in the previous House had become ineffective with the election of a new House.
Rana has cited Articles 89 (c), 91 (6) and 111 (1o) of the Constitution of Nepal. According to Article 89 (c), the tenure of the lawmakers expires with the conclusion of the term of the lower house, while 91 (6a) says that the term of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker expires a day before candidacy filing for the elections.
As per Article 111 (10), in case the House of Representatives is dissolved or its term expires when a bill introduced in the House is under its consideration or when a bill adopted by the House is under consideration in the National Assembly, such a bill lapses.
On February 1, 98 MPs registered a general indictment against Rana, saying that he was against the power coalition. In March, the impeachment was tabled in the Parliament and an 11-member recommendation committee was formed.
The majority of the members of the Impeachment Recommendation Committee had recommended impeaching suspended Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana. The 11-member impeachment panel formed by the lower house completed its investigation and submitted its report to House Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota. The submitted report has been endorsed by six members while the remaining five have differed citing reasons.
Earlier in the year, Chief Justice Rana had landed into criticism for attending the meeting of the Constitutional Council held after the issuance of an ordinance by the then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. The ordinance issued back on the time had reduced the requirement of the opposition leader and house speaker in the meeting reducing the majority required to make the appointments. The agitating advocates and justices have accused Chief Justice Rana of “bench shopping” meaning hearings were held for the purpose of making a favourable decision for one of the parties.
There are also allegations that the court has failed to make any reform. Overall, there are allegations of anomalies, irregularities and corruption in the judiciary.
Chief Justice has also landed in controversy after his brother-in-law Gajendra Bahadur Hamal was appointed as a non-parliamentary minister to confirm the allegation that he was seeking a share.
Chief Justice Rana has maintained that he will not resign and that he is ready to face impeachment by parliament which is the constitutional process to remove the chief justice.