Judges’ code of conduct yields little

KATHMANDU: Six months after the adoption of the code of conduct for judges, the expected outcome is far too meagre.

The implementation of the code of conduct should be monitored by the chief judges of appellate courts who will subsequently submit the report on the same to Chief Justice (CJ) and Judicial Council (JC) in every three months.

But majority of the judges are yet to forward even a single report as yet. The CJ and the JC enjoy the authority to monitor and implement the same.

“We have received quite a few of them (reports),” Jivan Hari Adhikary, acting secretary, JC, told The Himalayan Times today.

On April 1, the code of conduct was adopted in the two-day national conference, which was attended by 223 judges.

As per the nine-point code, judges are prohibited to keep relation with ministers, member of the parliament and lawyers, and accept prize or award or any honour which may pose threat on impartiality of their judicial duty. They have to work for protecting the judicial independence and to do away with suspicion, partiality and irregularities as well.

The code also expects the judges to be cautious about the influence while deciding cases due to their social relation. The judges have to work freely and to provide the same opportunities to their fellow judges while performing their duties.

The code which replaced the same issued in 1998, made the judges responsible in working for protection and promotion of judicial independence and to promote public trust towards the judiciary, according to law practitioners.

The code also bars the judges from involving in public comment on any sub-judice matter and from hearing case if they have any financial dealing or family relationship with litigants.

The conduct also prohibits the judges to provide their houses to lawyers to operate law firms.

“We have been thinking to organise workshops to sensitise the judges to implement the code of conduct effectively,” Adhikari said. Recently, such workshops were held in Pokhara and Hetauda.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi has directed the Chief Judges of appellate courts to remove flaws while submitting the reports.

Senior advocate Shreehari Aryal, however, said that similar situation like the implementation of law and order situation in the society had been seen in the judiciary as well. “We can make Acts and code of conducts promptly and easily but it is hard to implement them.”