Nepal | July 08, 2020

CC recommends Kalyan Shrestha as new CJ

Tika R Pradhan
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Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha

Justice Shrestha

KATHMANDU: The Constitutional Council today recommended senior-most Justice Kalyan Kumar Shrestha as new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Born on 14 April 1951 in Baglung, Shrestha is known as a fearless judge due to his daring verdicts that sent shivers down the spines of some powerful state organs and political parties.

He began his career as a section officer of the Supreme Court in 1974 and will hold the top position of the apex court for nine months before he turns 65.

Shrestha will have to sit for parliamentary hearing before President Ram Baran Yadav administers him the oath of office and secrecy. Chief Justice Ram Kumar Prasad Shah is due to retire on July 8 due to 65-year age bar.

Justice Kalyan Shrestha is better known for his verdicts on transitional justice, corruption and socio-economic and cultural rights, though his verdicts on all the issues are equally important. His bench on June 1, 2007, had ordered the government to criminalise the disappearance of people. His verdict also focused on reparation to the victims of disappearance instead of only giving them compensation.

In the same verdict he had issued an order to the government to take action against the perpetrators, claiming that they were responsible for the enforced disappearance of Bipin Bhandari and Rajendra Dhakal.

His recent verdict of February 26, stating that amnesty cannot be granted in serious crimes, made Maoist leaders suspicious about the intentions of the court. Maoist parties even took to the streets opposing the verdict.

In the words of advocate Govinda Bandi, Shrestha has issued many important verdicts on socio-economic and cultural rights, including women and reproductive rights and environmental issues and he was the key person to develop jurisprudence on social rights.

“Justice Shrestha had also issued a verdict on strict implementation of land-use plan while developing high-rise buildings,” Bandi said. Nepali society remembers his verdict on corruption cases, including the one against NC leader Khum Bahadur Khadka, and revival of the case concerning murder of journalist Dekendra Thapa.

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