KATHMANDU: Senior lawyers today called on Constitutional Council (CC) to appoint Chief Justice (CJ) as soon as possible.

Expressing concern over the delay in appointing the CJ, Nepal Bar Association President Bishwo Kanta Mainali demanded that the government and political parties give the CJ appointment top priority.

"The Maoist-led government might be delaying the appointment considering judiciary to be unproductive. It's an important state organ responsible for maintaining rule of law and lasting peace," Mainali told this daily. He said CJ's vacancy weakens the judiciary.

CC meeting was postponed on Tuesday following developments after the government demanded explanation from Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Rookmangud Katawal.

In the failure to appoint Chief Justice on time, senior most justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi will take charge as per the Interim Constitution.

Former Attorney General Yagya Murti Banjade said even if the acting CJ can exercise all powers, an appointed CJ is required to uphold the independence of the judiciary. Acting CJ can participate the Constitutional Council meeting as its ex-officio member and preside the Judicial Council as ex-officio chairperson.

The CC works on the appointment of CJ and constitutional bodies while the JC has right to appoint and take action against judges.