SC orders formation of constitutional bench

Kathmandu, March 23

The Supreme Court today ordered  the formation of a constitutional bench.

The order was passed by a full bench of justices Jagadish Sharma Paudel, Kedar Prasad Chalise, Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada, Anil Kumar Sinha and Sapana Pradhan Malla on a writ petition filed by Advocate Madhav Kumar Basnet against the Judicial Council and its chairperson.

This order has put the defendants under pressure to form a constitutional bench at the Supreme Court.

Petitioner Basnet, in his writ petition filed on January 17, had argued that JC Chair Sushila Karki had not shown her willingness to form a constitutional bench even after 10 months of being at the helm of JC.

He added in his petition that in the absence of constitutional bench, dozens of cases involving serious constitutional issues were pending at the Supreme Court -- a violation of the principle of speedy justice as stipulated in the SC’s strategic policies.

As per Article 137 of the constitution, four SC justices would be nominated to the constitutional bench by the chief justice on the recommendation of the Judicial Council.

He added that the JC chair, who would otherwise call JC meetings at odd hours of the day, did not call a JC meeting to form the constitutional bench.

Chief Justice Karki had submitted her written reply in the case, stating that the JC had discussed the formation of a constitutional bench on February 6 and the issue was still at the stage of discussion. She said a constitutional bench would be formed at an appropriate time.

Petitioner Basnet told THT that there were 45 cases on which the apex court had not even issued show cause notices.  He added that there was a backlog of 144 cases that a constitutional bench would have to settle.