Nepal | January 26, 2021

Acting CJ’s meeting with Dahal ‘cause for concern’

Himalayan News Service
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Judges’ code of conduct prohibits them from meeting political leaders Constitutional Expert Bhimarjun Acharya


This combo image shows CPN Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal (left) and Acting Chief Justice Deepak Raj Joshee. Photo: THT Online

Kathmandu, April 23

Acting Chief Justice Deepak Raj Joshee met CPN-MC Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal for 40 minutes from around 8:30pm to 9:10pm on Saturday.

Acting CJ Joshee admitted that he met Dahal, but it was like a meeting between two friends. “It is not that judges cannot meet their friends,” he said. He added that in his meeting he did not discuss any political issue apart from referring to the delay in the appointment of the chief justice.

The Judicial Council had sent the names of three justices of the SC, including Joshee, to the Constitutional Council Secretariat almost a month ago.

Constitutional expert Bhimarjun Acharya said the acting CJ’s meeting with a political leader was a violation of the principle of independence of the judiciary.

“Judges’ code of conduct and the UN’s Basic Principles on the Independence of Judiciary adopted in 1985 prohibit judges from meeting political leaders,” Acharya said. He added that judges should refrain from meeting political leaders, as they have to review the work of the two organs of the state — the executive and the legislature.

He said a would-be chief justice should not meet a political leader and discuss appointment of the CJ.

Acharya added that the Constitutional Council was not supposed to delay the nomination of the CJ.

Senior Advocate Purna Man Shakya said delay in appointment of Joshee as CJ was adversely affecting his performance and the concerned bodies should immediately appoint him as the CJ. “As per the tradition of the judiciary, the senior-most justice is always appointed as the CJ. If the concerned body does not find the senior-most justice eligible for the post of CJ, then it should offer reasons for the same. If the concerned body does not have any reason not to appoint the senior-most justice to the post of CJ, then it should not delay the process of appointment,” Shakya said. He added that politicians should not give the impression that they were doing a favour to  the senior-most justice of the SC.

“The message of favouritism will undermine judiciary,” he added.

The Judicial Council had sent the names of three justices – Joshee, Om Prakash Mishra and Cholendra Shamsher JB Rana. Joshee, the senior-most justice of the apex court automatically became Acting CJ after Gopal Parajuli retired from the post of CJ on March 14 after the Judicial Council wrote a letter to him informing him that he had reached retirement age on August 5, 2017.

Nomination by the CC will take place only after the president calls a new session of Parliament and new parliamentary rules are adopted by the Parliament. Once the CC nominates a new CJ, the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee will confirm or reject the CJ nominee.


A version of this article appears in print on April 24, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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