SC slams Maoist govt move on court benches

KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court today said that the Maoist-led government’s plan to expand the circuit benches of the Supreme Court was against the concept of judicial independence.

A special bench comprising Chief Justice Anup Raj Sharma and Justices Kalyan Shrestha and Bharat Raj Upreti said that the bench expansion programme initiated by then Prachanda-led government was intended against judicial independence.

The bench was issuing its verdict in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed against the Maoist plan to set up circuit benches in Biratnagar and Nepalgunj.

The bench dubbed the UCPN-Maoist move as a way of circumventing the due process supposed to be initiated by the judiciary itself while setting up such bench in any place of Nepal. “The Supreme Court or the Chief Justice should initiate process to expand the benches with a noble cause to provide the common people access to justice, not the government,” the bench held.

It also added that the process began by the Maoist-led government without consulting the judiciary and the CJ was “unacceptable”. The bench was responding to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Madhav Kumar Basnet.