KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 10
Newly appointed Minister of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies Gajendra Bahadur Hamal resigned after media outlets and civil society members continued to accuse Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana of lobbying Prime Minister SherBahadur Deuba to appoint him as a minister.
Recent media reports accused Rana of lobbying the PM to appoint Hamal, who is Rana's brother-in-law, a minister. On July 12, the SC had issued a verdict in the House of Representatives dissolution case that benefited Deuba politically. The constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had nullified the HoR dissolution and ordered the president to appoint Deuba the new prime minister.
Hamal told THT that he decided to resign, as the controversy could damage not only his personal political career, but could also imperil the image of his party, the Nepali Congress.
Hamal decided to leave the Cabinet after Deuba asked him to do so arguing that his appointment had sent a wrong message and created controversy, according to a source close to the PM. Hamal has been associated with the Nepali Congress for the past five decades and is considered close to Deuba.
Hamal, who is not a member of the Parliament, could have served only for six months as then constitution stipulates that a non-lawmaker can serve as minister only for six months. Media reports had accused CJ Rana of lobbying the PM to make Deepak Timalsina and Gajendra Bahadur Hamal ministers in the Deuba Cabinet.
Deuba, however, did not induct Timalsina into his Cabinet following widespread criticism.
CJ Rana, who is also a member of the Constitutional Council, also faces accusation of appointing his confidants in constitutional bodies in connivance with the then prime minister KP Sharma Oli last year after Oli brought an ordinance to lower the quorum for the constitutional council meeting.
The SC has refuted allegations against Rana, saying the chief justice and the court were committed
to acting as per the spirit of separation of powers and to upholding the principle of justice and nd independence of judicial.
A version of this article appears in the print on October 11, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.