KATHMANDU: Around 7,000 lawyers across the country will cast their votes tomorrow to elect a new leadership of the Nepal Bar Association, an umbrella organisation of lawyers.

According to election commissioner, advocate Ravi Raj Bhandari, lawyers will cast their votes in 34 different polling centres including Kathmandu.

Three major panels — democratic, progressive and revolutionary — are contesting the election with a major agenda to reform the judiciary. Apart from the three major teams,

others from fringe groups are also contesting the

election.

Voting will begin from 9 am and close at 4 pm.

“We are expecting all ballot boxes to be brought to Kathmandu by Sunday, while we may start declaring the results by Wednesday,” Bhandari said.

The democratic panel led by advocate Prem Bahadur Khadka has been contesting the poll with independence of judiciary, rule of law and separation of powers and checks and balances as its agenda in the future constitution. The panel said it would also fight against corruption and delayed justice.

It said it would ensure legal assistance to the poor and would support the appointment of judges from within the NBA. It further said it would work against the promotion system of judges and would focus on independent and competent judges’ appointments. It would also work to strengthen the mechanism for legal and constitutional remedy of personal rights.

Advocate Hari Krishna Karki-led progressive panel has been pleading for independence of judiciary in the new constitution and for shifting the benches of the Supreme Court across the country to ensure access of the common people to justice. The panel also expressed commitment to provide constitutional capacity to the Nepal Bar Council and formation of specialised benches in the apex court.

It said if it wins the election, it would emphasise the need to promulgate a separate Act to tackle judicial corruption and ensure independence of the judiciary by appointing judges from the bar body.

The revolutionary panel led by senior advocate Ram Nath Mainali is pleading for independence of judiciary and it said that it is always against the committed judiciary. The panel also said that it would fight for 50 percent judges’ appointment from the bar body and would consider members of the Madhesh, Muslim, Tharu, Indigenous and women grous in the judges’ appointment. It is also pleading for investigation of corruption scandals in the courts through a separate mechanism to punish corrupt judges and said that it would support direct appointment of the Chief Justice outside from the judges’ service.