KATHMANDU, JULY 16

Newly appointed Attorney General Khamma Bahadur Khati today took the oath of office and secrecy from Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana at the Supreme Court, while president was not present. It was a break from the tradition when the AG would be sworn in at the president's office by the CJ in the presence of the president.

Khati told THT that he wanted to take the oath of office and secrecy from the CJ in the presence of the president and had apprised the chief secretary of his wish. However, he was told that the president's office had sent a letter to the Supreme Court on April 18 asking it to conduct the oath ceremony at the SC itself for those appointees who were supposed to take the oath of office and secrecy from the CJ. As per that letter, two newly appointed justices -- Kumar Chudal and Nahakul Subedi -- were sworn in by the CJ at the SC.

"I am of the view that the AG, who is the government's chief legal adviser, should be sworn in at the president's office in the presence of the president, as the AG is appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister," Khati said. The AG should have the honour of having the president as witness of his/her oath ceremony. Such an opportunity is necessary for the AG to personally know the president who appoints the AG," Khati added.

Section 21 of the act related to Conditions of Service and Facilities of the Attorney General states that the AG shall take the oath of office and secrecy from the chief justice but the same Section does not mention about the venue. Khati said the chief secretary told him that law did not mention that the oath ceremony had to be conducted in the presence of the president.

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari's Communication Expert Tika Prasad Dhakal said the president's office had written to the SC saying that from April 18, the oath of those appointees who were not supposed to take the oath of office and secrecy directly from the president better be sworn in by the designated authority in the office of the same designated authority.

As per that letter, the oath of office and secrecy of constitutional office bearers was being conducted by designated authorities in their own offices.

"The AG is the chief legal adviser to the government. That means he is also the legal adviser to the president.

If any constitutional office bearer tomorrow writes to the president's office, seeking to be sworn in in the presence of the president, the president is ready to witness the ceremony," Dhakal said.


A version of this article appears in the print on July 17 2021, of The Himalayan Times.