CJ retiring on Sept 7, CC yet to pick his successor

Kathmandu, August 21:

Though the incumbent Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel is retiring on September 7, the Constitutional Council (CC) has not yet started the process for appointing his successor.

According to a source close to the PM’s Office and Cabinet, the Council has not met due to differences among the ruling-party members. The source said the CPN-Maoist is creating obstacles to appointments in constitutional posts.

“The Maoists have forwarded conditions like allocating one-third of the constitutional positions to them. This is why the Council has not been able to meet,” the source told The Himalayan Times.

According to a constitutional provision, candidates chosen for constitutional posts have to be recommended to the parliamentary Hearing Special Committee two weeks ahead of such appointments.

As per the Interim Constitution, the PM appoints the CJ and other constitutional nominees after the parliamentary hearing is over.

Meanwhile, a member of the Council said that the Council would meet tomorrow or the day after. PM Koirala-headed Council has six other ex-officio members, including the Chief Justice, the Speaker and three ministers assigned by the PM, among others.

Koirala has assigned ministers Ram Chandra Paudel, Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Pradip Nepal to participate in the CC meeting.

The Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, according to the source, “are taking stance for appointing CJ without any further delay even if other constitutional appointments are not possible immediately.”

The posts of CIAA chief commissioner, NHRC chairman and members and Auditor General are lying vacant for long. “The Maoists are in favour of filling up all vacant posts, but they have not given the list of their nominees,” he added.

According to the Judicial Council secretary Prakash Kumar Dhungana, the JC wrote to the Constitutional Council requesting it to start process for Chief Justice’s appointment a week ago.

The JC has sent personal details of the judges with three-year experience in the Supreme Court - Kedar Prasad Giri, Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Anup Raj Sharma, Ram Prasad Shrestha and Khil Raj Regmi - who are eligible for the top post of the Judiciary.

Hemanta Rawal, assistant spokesperson of the SC, said that the apex court had written to the Constitutional Council on August 16 requesting it to start process for CJ’s appointment.