CJ defends decision to issue stay order

Kathmandu, January 3

Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana today said the Supreme Court issued stay order against the construction of Nijgadh International Airport as valid questions were raised in the case by the litigant arguing that the project could harm endangered flora and fauna and the surrounding ecology.

Addressing a press conference organised at his chamber here today, CJ Rana, who completed his first year as the chief of the judiciary, said the SC had set a precedent in the case stating that there should be a perfect balance among citizen’s interests, government’s desire to achieve the goals of development and development projects.

In response to a journalist’s query, the CJ said that the judiciary had the obligation to protect citizens’ rights guaranteed by the constitution.

He said the proposal to recommend former judicial council member Padam Prasad Baidik for a SC justice was put on hold as the Nepal Bar Association protested the proposal to nominate him in the post. CJ Rana said he was committed to adjudicating old cases without further delay and expedite the process to prepare full texts of verdicts. He said some of the corruption cases had not been adjudicated mainly because there was Yubaraj Sharma’s case   sub-judice at the full bench of the justices and once the case was adjudicated, that could set precedent, which would apply in many disproportionate asset cases.

He said the Judicial Council had taken action against the judges found guilty of violating code of conduct. Rana also said his administration monitored courts and took actions or served warning letters to 70 court officials or middlemen within a year.  He said the SC had within a year adjudicated 1,302 cases that were pending for more than five years. Currently the SC has over 1,886 cases pending for five years.

He said he was considering to extend case hearing for more than regular work hours, in an attempt to increase the case disposal rate.

Rana said his administration was preparing to introduce court room technology so that lawyers representing a case could attend the court proceedings through audio-visual mode of communication. The SC will also introduce digital archive of cases. Rana said he had been trying to bring reforms in the judiciary as per his plan presented during his parliamentary hearing.