Lawyers divided over whether CJ should quit

"Judicial Council punishes the judges for misconduct. Judges can also be impeached by the Parliament"

Kathmandu, January 11

Lawyers are divided over whether Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli should resign on moral grounds after the Supreme Court ordered to procure copies of his two citizenship certificates, educational certificates and Judicial Council’s decision on his age controversy.

Secretary of High Court Bar Association, Patan, Tara Kumar Shrestha said CJ   Parajuli faced moral questions after a division bench of the Supreme Court ordered yesterday to investigate allegations of forgery against CJ Parajuli and sought to verify genuineness of his educational certificates.

“It is up to Parajuli now to resign on moral grounds,” said Shrestha, adding, “If the head of an organisation who has been accused of wrongdoing is allowed to continue his/her job, he/she can interfere with the investigation.” He said the allegation of wrongdoing against CJ Parajuli was made in a sub-judice case and hence, it should be dealt with seriously.

Advocate Om Prakash Aryal said Dr Govinda KC’s demand for CJ Parajuli’s resignation was vindicated yesterday when a division bench of the SC ordered to probe allegations against the CJ.

“Chief Justice Parajuli faces the question of morality now after the Supreme Court ordered an investigation against him,” he said and added that if CJ Parajuli continued to remain in office, it would be a case of conflict of interest and it would also violate the principle of natural justice.

General Secretary of Nepal Bar Association Khamma Bahadur Khati, Senior Advocate Mithilesh Kumar Singh and Secretary of Supreme Court Bar Association Bishnu Luitel defended CJ Parajuli.

Khati said CJ could be removed from his post only through the impeachment process.

“As far as I know, the division bench might have intended to see his citizenship and educational certificates. The Supreme Court has no authority to investigate against CJ. There are other agencies which can investigate such allegations,” he argued. He said the NBA would discuss the matter tomorrow and come up with its stance on the case.

The JC had issued a press release on April 24, saying it has all the copies of Parajuli’s educational certificates.

Senior Advocate Singh said issues relating to CJ Parajuli’s date of birth and citizenship certificates were raised when he faced parliamentary confirmation hearing for appointment as Supreme Court justice and those issues were sent to ‘cold storage.’

He said if anybody who had question about CJ’s citizenship certificate and his academic qualifications should have lodged complaints during his parliamentary confirmation hearing for CJ, but nobody did so. “It is unfair to put a person repeatedly on trial for the same issues,” Singh argued.

Constitutional expert Bhimarjun Acharya said there were problems in the courts, but if a judge was forced to resign due to somebody’s hunger strike, then days will not be far when the judiciary would be without judges. He said the way Dr Govinda KC raised issues about the chief justice will adversely affect Nepal’s constitutionalism.

“There are legal ways to seek recourse against a judge’s misconduct. There is the Judicial Council that punishes the judges for misconduct. Judges can also be impeached by the Parliament,” he argued.

Senior Advocate Radhe Shyam Adhikari said question of morality differed from one person to another and hence this question should be left to the person concerned.