NBA leaps to Sthapit’s defence

Kathmandu, December 19:

The Nepal Bar Association (NBA) said today that Law Minister Dev Gurung’s pressure on Judicial Council member Moti Kaji Sthapit to step down was an interference in the independence of the judiciary and called all concerned to resolve the crisis in the Council through dialogue.

Saying that the JC member is appointed for a fixed four-year tenure, the NBA said every JC member were independent for their duties and responsibilities. The apex body of lawyers in the country also said that JC members were not accountable to any officials or recommending authorities but were accountable only to the Constitution and the Judicial Council.

“The NBA is always for the supremacy of constitution, independence of judiciary and rule of law,” it

said, adding, “We will guard any actions against such principles.”

After a meeting with former attorney generals and senior advocates, NBA president Bishwo Kanta Mainali and general secretary Raman Kumar Shrestha called the authorities concerned not to interfere in the judiciary. The senior legal experts strongly objected the Law Minister’s interference in the judiciary and called the NBA to make public its stance on the issue. The NBA also observed that the rift between the two JC members--Gurung and Sthapit--was hindering the process of appointing judges in different courts in the country. “Such scenario doesn’t go with norms and values of the independence of judiciary and supremacy of constitution,” the NBA added. The NBA also called the Chief Justice to resolve the problem through dialogue. Minister Gurung was not available for comment. However, Maoist CA member Eak Raj Bhandari, said the party wanted to continue with their decision to demand Sthapit’s resignation.