Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana today issued a press statement urging the Nepal Bar Association and dissident justices of the Supreme Court to find a negotiated settlement to end the NBA's agitation. The NBA has, however, rejected the CJ's offer of dialogue.

The NBA and dissident justices have been staging a sit-in at the main entrance of the Supreme Court to prevent Rana from entering the court. They are seeking his resignation, accusing him of getting his brother-in-law appointed as a minister in the Sher Bahadur Deuba Cabinet and delaying the hearing of cases filed against appointments made to the constitutional bodies. The NBA has also accused Rana of not implementing recommendations submitted by Justice Hari Krishna Karki that are believed to introduce major reforms in the judiciary, including the automation-based cause list.

CJ Rana has said in the press statement that he is ready to implement recommendations of the Justice Karki-led committee and reports submitted by other commissions formed by the judiciary. He said it was a matter of grave concern that a continuous attempt was being made to level baseless, misleading, and false allegations against him.

The NBA, which has been protesting at the SC and other bar units across the nation to mount pressure on the CJ, continued to protest today at the SC seeking Rana's resignation.

A group of people also protested in support of Rana, demanding resumption of court proceedings, including case hearings.

NBA President Chandeshwor Shrestha said Rana's offer of dialogue was a ploy to foil the NBA's agitation against him. "We waited for almost two-and-a half years, but the CJ did not introduce any reform in the judiciary. He recently said that he was not in favour of implementing the Justice Karki-led committee's report. Rana is the main hurdle against judicial reform," Shrestha added.

Supreme Court Bar Association President Purna Man Shakya said bar office bearers held a meeting with dissident justices of the SC today and briefed them about the SCBA position. "We told dissident justices that we won't settle for less than Chief Justice Rana's resignation," he added.

Shakya said all the justices were not present in today's meeting and the bar decided to hold a meeting with them tomorrow as well.

Meanwhile, dissident justices continued to boycott all SC hearings other than habeas corpus writ petitions today as well. The CJ listed cases in his bench and heard them.

Addressing a corner meeting on the SC premises, former general secretary of NBA Sunil Pokharel said protesting lawyers would not settle for less than the CJ's resignation. He said if the delivery of justice was stalled in the wake of the NBA protest, the CJ was responsible for it.

A version of this article appears in the print on November 16, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.