Joshee meets PM after PHC indecision

Kathmandu, July 31

Chief Justice nominee Deepak Raj Joshee called on Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli last evening in Baluwatar, seeking early resolution of the controversy surrounding his hearing by the Parliamentary Hearing Committee.

The meeting was held between 8:30 pm and 9:00 pm. Members of the hearing committee and lawmakers representing the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) have been divided after controversial issues related to Joshee’s eligibility for the post surfaced.

Joshee, who had not been discharging his regular duties since Thursday, attended office today and looked rather confident, a source said.

The source added that a team comprising representatives of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority and the Supreme Court Secretariat would visit Bijay Memorial School where Joshee had studied to resolve the controversy surrounding his education certificate.

Deputy leader of NCP (NCP) Parliamentary Party Subas Chandra Nembang said the PM wanted the committee to take the right decision based on an independent investigation. “The committee is capable of taking such decisions. I am hopeful that a decision will be taken tomorrow,” he said.

The NCP (NCP) has also asked its representatives in the PHC to take an informed fact-based decision.

The committee, which has already postponed the decision twice, will convene a meeting tomorrow to confirm or reject Joshee’s nomination.

PHC member and NCP (NCP) lawmaker Purna Kumari Subedi said the committee had yet to receive ‘satisfactory’ reply from Joshee on a host of issues. She said the committee’s responsibility was to take a decision on the basis of facts that would ensure justice for all.

“The judiciary’s role is not only to caution the government, but also to cooperate with the government,” she said.

According to the Federal Parliament’s Joint Working Procedure, two-thirds members of the committee can reject the recommendation of the Constitutional Council, which is headed by the prime minister.

Sources said the NC was not in favour of voting, but wanted a unanimous decision.

PHC member representing the NC Pushpa Bhusal said the commission would take a decision on the basis of discussion in the committee, and the party had not yet come up with its opinion.

Nepal Bar Association added that a decision should not be taken under pressure.

Yesterday’s meeting of the PHC ended inconclusively after the ruling NCP (NCP) pressed for rejecting Joshee’s nomination on the basis of two-thirds majority, while NC lawmakers of the panel wanted time to consult top leaders of the party on the matter.

NCP (NCP) has nine members in the panel and if Rajendra Shrestha of the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal, another coalition partner, supports NCP (NCP) lawmakers, the ruling parties will have 10 members in the 15-member panel, enough to reject CJ nominee Joshee.

If Joshee is rejected by the panel, it will be the first time that a CJ nominee has been rejected.

House of Representatives members Yogesh Bhattarai, Surendra Pandey, Purna Kumari Subedi, Amrita Thapa, Niru Pal, Parwat Gurung,  Shiva Kumar Mandal and National Assembly members  Nanda Chapai and Suman Raj  Pyakurel represent the NCP (NCP) in the panel.

HoR members Pushpa Bhusal, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, Bhimsen Das Pradhan and National Assembly member Jitendra Narayan Dev represent the Nepali Congress in the panel. Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal lawmaker Rajendra Shrestha and Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal lawmaker Laxman Lal Karna represent their parties in the panel.