Impeachment move not making much headway

Kathmandu, October 6:

Corporate lawyers assigned to come up with valid reasons to initiate an impeachment motion against the Supreme Court judges, who had issued a verdict favouring the Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills on a bank loan default case, said today they will furnish their opinion in writing to the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) once the PAC submits its report on the case to the House, seeking action against the judges.

They also accused the lawmakers of not taking up the case seriously.

While some lawyers want the judges impeached, others want the judges spared.

The PAC had, on September 18, assigned the corporate lawyers to gather valid grounds to initiate an impeachment motion against the judges.

“We will furnish our opinion in writing to the PAC only if the latter submits its report in the House session, seeking action against the judges,” legal adviser to the Rastriya Banijya Bank, Purnaman Shakya, told this daily today.

“The PAC itself cannot impeach any judge, but it can urge the House to do the same We are awaiting the PAC move,” Shakya said, adding: “We will support the PAC if it moves first.” According to him, the PAC can do nothing, but submit a report seeking a file impeachment motion by one-fourth members of the House. “Though there are some grounds to initiate an impeachment process against the judges, nobody is paying much attention,” said another lawyer, Shailendra Kumar Dahal, who represents the Himalayan Bank.

“We are also serious about protecting the independence of the judiciary, but want the judges to be accountable,” he added. While some of the lawyers want the judges impeached, the others want action taken against the judges.

Legal adviser to the Employees Provident Fond, Prakash Wosti, also accused the MPs of not opting for follow-up action on the case.

The Banks have demanded impeachment against the judges, who had removed the Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills owned by businessman Binod Chaudhary and MP Birendra Kumar Kanoudiya from blacklist.

Justices Arjun Prasad Singh and Badri Kumar Basnet had removed the business firm from the blacklist. Later, Justices Kedar Prasad Giri, Badri Kumar Basnet and Top Bahadur Magar had uphold the initial verdict. While Justice Singh retired a few months ago, Justice Basnet is going to retire in two weeks.

On the September 18 meeting of the PAC, the lawyers, accusing the judges of not following norms, ethics and precedents while deciding the case, had said the House can impeach them and make the judiciary accountable.