Senior Advocate Shambhu Thapa today accused Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana of being the most corrupt official of the judiciary and said that the Nepal Bar Association would not settle for anything less than his resignation.

Addressing a corner meeting organised by the NBA after its sit-in at the main entrance of the SC, Thapa said if other justices shared bench with the CJ, they would also have to share the blame for the CJ's wrongdoings.

"Justices Kumar Regmi and Manoj Kumar Sharma were members of the NBA before their appointment as SC justices.

Can you both tell us that CJ Rana is not corrupt?" Thapa asked the two justices who started hearing of all types of cases yesterday.

He argued that the justices who were hearing cases were acting against the constitutional guarantee of right to justice where clients had the right to get represented by lawyers and seek their counsel. "Justices cannot deliver verdicts without lawyers pleading in the court," he added.

He took a potshot at political appointees who had issued a statement yesterday opposing lawyers' protest, saying, "The people who issued a statement yesterday were appointed in a controversial manner on the basis of a controversial ordinance.

Since CJ Rana has been obstructing hearing of cases filed against them, they do not have any moral ground to speak against our protest."

Thapa alleged that Rana had entered a quid pro quo deal with the executive, gave benefit to a builder for capturing the builder's property, and arbitrarily commuted the sentence of murder convict Ranjan Koirala. Stating that the NBA had already made the CJ chair vacant, Thapa wondered why the ruling and opposition parties were not appointing a new CJ. He said the NBA should list the corrupt behaviour of the CJ and file a petition at the Parliament seeking a debate on the issue.

Earlier, NBA President Chandeshwor Shrestha addressed protesting lawyers and told them to provide information related to the controversial judgements passed by Rana, including those in which he was suspected to have taken bribe before delivering justice. Shrestha said the NBA would investigate controversial verdicts passed by Rana and would also probe his assets even after his resignation.

Four justices of the Supreme Court - Tej Bahadur KC, Bam Kumar Shrestha, Kumar Chudal, and Manoj Kumar Sharma - heard all types of cases today.

The chief justice did not form his own bench today but listed 188 cases for hearing in different benches.

Other justices of the apex court, as well as the NBA, who have accused Rana of seeking to appoint his brother-in-law a minister in the Sher Bahadur Deuba Cabinet and delaying hearing of cases filed against appointments made to the constitutional bodies, continued to protest against Rana.

Dissident justices and NBA have sought Rana's resignation, but the CJ has refused to step down. NBA staged a sit-in at the main entrance of the SC today as well in an attempt to bar Rana from entering the court.

A version of this article appears in the print on November 18, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.