Kathmandu, April 5
The third judges’ conference urged the stakeholders to scrap parliamentary confirmation hearing for the chief justice and other justices, saying the provision allows people to drag nominees into unnecessary controversy. This was stated in the 29-point declaration that the judges’ conference issued at the end of the conference today.
Stating that the provision for parliamentary hearing is a major characteristic of presidential system of government, judges said there was no rationale for conducting parliamentary hearing in Nepal to confirm the chief justice and justices, as the country had adopted parliamentary form of government.
Judges added that parliamentary hearing had undermined the dignity of the judiciary and adversely affected sensitivity of the institution. Judges also demanded that the Judicial Council should have the majority of judges to maintain independence of the body, objectivity and professionalism in the disciplinary actions taken against judges.
According to the declaration, non-political candidates should be appointed as judges in order to deflect blame of politicisation in the judiciary.
The conference concluded that the provision in the constitution to allow the Parliament to order an impeachment motion against a judge was against the principle of an independent judiciary. The judges demanded that this provision should be replaced with a new one whereby such impeachment motion could be ordered only after one-fourth of the HoR members lodge a complaint.
Judges also expressed their commitment towards ensuring justice in the society and urged all stakeholders to ensure full enjoyment of fundamental rights.
Judges stated in their declaration that in the course of adjudication of cases involving federal units, they would try their best to avoid ambiguity in terms of power devolution between the federal units.
Judges expected collaboration with Nepal Bar Association and the Office of the Attorney General to sensitise judges on good practices adopted worldwide to resolve issues related to federalism.
According to the declaration, it will be wise to recognise the high courts as courts of record especially for those cases for which the high courts will be the final courts of appeal.
The declaration stated that high courts should serve as final courts for legal issues involving contradictory provisions between local and provincial laws. “If this happens, then that will help the Supreme Court reduce its workload,” the conference stated in its declaration.
The conference also stated that the government should make efforts to create a powerful high court in all provinces by integrating all benches of the high courts.
The conference concluded that the pay and perks of the judges should be determined on the basis of the recommendations of Judicial Pay Commission.
Judges stated in their declaration that the government should create a new legal framework and physical infrastructure to create structures suitable to reform theory of punishment introduced in new penal code.
They also demanded that the retirement age for judges should be increased. Judges expressed their commitment to judges code of conduct and urged the government to amend laws related to execution of judgment. Judges also highlighted the need for creating legal and institutional mechanisms to deter the activities of middlemen in the judiciary.
Judges urged media outlets to comment on sub judice cases only after carefully examining the facts and exercising restraint. They expressed their commitment to making their judicial work more fair, dignified and effective.
They urged the SC to frame new directives and manuals to guide courts on several issues of civil cases. Judges also demanded additional pay for additional work they should perform to issue arrest warrants, as per the provisions of new penal code.
Judges added that monitoring of judges should be done in a way that did not affect judicial independence.
A version of this article appears in print on April 06, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.