CJ, Speaker differ on CA nominators

Kathmandu, May 8:

Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri today said the incumbent cabinet cannot nominate members to the 26 CA seats to be filled through nomination. However, Speaker Subas Nembang and Supreme Court justice Anup Raj Sharma countered the CJ’s opinion.

“The sitting cabinet cannot nominate the 26 members; they should be nominated by the next council of ministers,” Giri told reporters at a tea party he hosted to mark the Law Day. The reception was attended by PM Girija Prasad Koirala, ministers, judges, army chief Rookmangud Katawal, diplomats, dignitaries, lawyers, journalists and bureaucrats.

He also said the CA should ensure the independence and competency of the judiciary.

“I have already said that the government should be formed with a political consensus as there is no easy alternative to consensus,” Giri added. “However, the constitution can be amended, by adopting a general rule for the future purpose even after forming the next government,” he said.

At the same programme, Speaker Subash Nembang countered the CJ’s statement and said the current cabinet could nominate the 26 members to the CA. “The CA will not be a complete body without the nomination of the 26 members; and thus they should be nominated by the current government,” he added. “An incomplete CA cannot convene,” he added.

The Speaker also said that the next government could be formed only after the first meeting of the CA. He said there was no difference in the process for the formation of a government before and after the election, as the only basis for the formation of a government is consensus. SC Justice Anup Raj Sharma, who also heads the Constituent Assembly Court, said the incumbent government has the authority to nominate the 26 members.

“It makes no difference whether the 26 members are nominated by the current government or the next government as the nomination must follow consensus,” he said. He also said it would be better to amend the constitution if there was any confusion.

At another programme organised by Judicial Officials’ Association, Sharma said the next constitution to be drafted by the CA must ensure the independence of the judiciary. “Politicians should be clear on the restructuring of the judiciary and making the hierarchy of the courts. The judiciary must be independent and competent enough to protect people’s rights,” he said.