Law minister, Speaker discuss row over Judicial Council nominations

Kathmandu, March 13

Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Agni Prasad Kharel today met Speaker Onsari Gharti and discussed ways to resolve the issue of 11 newly nominated Supreme Court justices.

Minister Kharel said the Speaker told him that she was in favour of finding a balanced solution to the issue.

A few days ago, the Parliament Secretariat sent the JC’s nominations back to the constitutional body citing lack of Parliamentary Regulations and Parliamentary Hearing Committee.

Candidates nominated for the post of Supreme Court justices must undergo parliamentary hearings before appointment.

According to Speaker Onsari Gharti’s press adviser Babin Sharma, the Speaker told the minister that she only stated the fact that there was no Parliamentary Hearing Committee and Parliamentary Regulations that needed to be in place to conduct the hearings for the newly nominated justices but the issue was unnecessarily blown out of proportion.

“It is not that the Parliament has rejected the Judicial Council’s nominations. Once the required things are in place, the Parliament is ready to conduct hearings on request of the Judicial Council,” Sharma quoted Speaker Gharti as telling the Minister.

He said the Speaker also discussed expediting the works of Parliamentary Regulation Committee to enact new regulations within 3-4 days.

“The Speaker is of the view that if the Parliamentary Regulations Committee does not expedite the works, then the issue can be taken to the Parliament to facilitate a decision on the matter through a voting process.

But then the government will have to call the Parliament session,” Sharma added.

He said the Parliamentary Regulation Committee formed under Nepali Congress lawmaker Radheshyam Adhikari  had so far been unable to enact new Parliamentary Regulations due to differences between the lawmakers of the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML over the number of lawmakers in the Parliamentary Hearing Committee.

“The NC wants 73-75 members in the Parliamentary Hearing Committee as was the case under the Interim Constitution but the UML wants only 15 members,” Sharma added.

A few days ago, the JC had nominated new 11 justices Dipak Karki, Kedar Chalise, Sarada Prasad Ghimire, Meera Khadka, Hari Krishna Karki, Bishwambhar Shrestha, Ishwar Khatiwada, Anand Mohan Bhattarai, Anil Kumar Sinha, Prakash Man Singh Raut and Sapana Pradhan Malla.