Kathmandu, September 10
Justice Om Prakash Mishra assumed the charge of Chief Justice today after President Bidhya Devi Bhandari appointed him as the new CJ.
Mishra took the oath of office and secrecy from the president at the Office of the President. Earlier in the morning, the Parliamentary Hearing Committee had unanimously confirmed his nomination.
It was smooth sailing for Mishra in the PHC confirmation hearing today as members of the panel passed positive comments about the work plan that he presented during the two-and-a-half hours long hearing.
In the PHC hearing, Mishra said he would retire in around four months from service on grounds of age, but he would try his best to achieve the goals set in the third fifth year strategic plan of the judiciary and he would also add more to the plan to ensure access to justice, speedy delivery of justice and end the shenaniganism of middlemen.
“I will have zero tolerance against corruption and middlemen in the judiciary,” he said and added that he had set up a mechanism to identity middlemen and bar them from entering the courts. He said he would soon make provisions for fixing the daily cause list with the help of technology.
Mishra said he would try to ensure proportional inclusion in the appointment of judges.
Members of the panel sought Mishra’s views on the problems of corruption in the judiciary, the manoeuvring of middlemen and ‘unjustified use of interim orders.
In response to a PHC members’ query, Mishra said he never faced political pressure in his 47 years of judicial career. “But if you are talking about the past political affiliation of judges, I think, once somebody enters the judiciary as a judge, s/he is bound to perform as a professional because their verdicts must be in conformity with laws and precedents. If somebody errs in judgment, then we have a provision to punish them,” he added.
NCP (NCP) lawmaker Yogesh Bhattarai said the allegation that judges were delivering verdicts under undue influences was eroding people’s faith in the judiciary. “I hear that there is big manoeuvring in issuing interim orders in cases. Such orders costs the exchequer. I want to know whether or not such things will be stopped in the coming days” Bhattarai said. Similar sentiments were echoed by NCP (NCP) members Niru Pal. Other NCP members Suman Raj Pyakurel and Nand Chapai said that the Supreme Court’s verdicts were not helping to protect public land.
NCP Lawmaker Surendra Pandey asked Mishra what he would do to acquaint court officials and judges with new technologies, which would be necessary to enable them to deliver justice in crimes committed with the help of new technologies.
Nepali Congress lawmaker Jitendra Narayan Dev sought Mishra’s views on political intervention in the judiciary.
On the issues of complaints lodged against him at the PHC, Mishra said he had adjudicated 17,000 cases in his career spanning 47 years and he did not expect all the litigants to be happy with his verdict. He said he always followed the law while adjudicating cases and had never favoured any litigant.
Mishra, a resident of Raipur of Rupandehi District, was born on January 1, 1954. He holds a master’s degree in Comparative Law from Delhi University (1989) and master’s degree in Political Science from Tribhuvan University (1985). He had joined judicial service in 1981 and rose to the rank of SC Justice.
Mishra was nominated for CJ by the Constitutional Council on August 24 after the PHC rejected CJ nominee Deepak Raj Joshee on August 3.
‘I will use automation to fix daily cause list’
Newly appointed Chief Justice Om Prakash Mishra said that he would soon try to adopt automation for fixing the daily cause list.
He said this after assuming the post of chief justice today. In a brief interaction with the press, the CJ said that he would also focus on enhancing the capacity of court officials to ensure effective delivery of justice.
Mishra also said that he would strictly enforce the assets declaration provision and would take action against those judges who violate the code of conduct and indulge in corruption and irregularities.
Mishra said he would also try to ensure speedy delivery of justice. “I will retire in four months, but I will try to initiate good work which will deliver good results in the long run,” he said. In response to a journalist’s query, Mishra said he had no misunderstanding with any fellow Justice. Earlier, Mishra was welcomed by other Justices and court officials.
A version of this article appears in print on September 11, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.