House panel okays SC judges’ appointment

Judges say hearings will affect judiciary’s independence

Kathmandu, July 6:

The Parliamentary Public Hearing Special Committee (PPHSC) today approved the appointment of four ad hoc judges as permanent judges of the Supreme Court.

After recording statements of the judges, the PPHSC approved the recommendation of the Judicial Council headed by the Chief Justice. “We will write to the Judicial Council soon as we have approved the recommendation to appoint the four ad hoc judges as permanent judges of the SC,” PPHSC chairperson Amod Prasad Upadhayaya said after a hearing today.

This was the first time ad hoc judges of the Supreme Court had to face a parliamentary hearing.

Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel will appoint them once the PPHSC forwards its decision to the Judicial Council.

Two judges said during the meeting that the hearing may affect the independence of the judiciary and may politicise the courts.

“I am worried that the judiciary may lose its independence and the courts politicised,” said judge Kalyan Shrestha, while answering a committee’s query. “The parliamentary hearing may create obstacles in the independence of the judges who may have to work in an environment of fear,” he said.

Judge Ram Kumar Prasad Shah also objected to the hearing, saying that it may cause the judiciary to lose its independence and that it will affect the separation of powers and checks and balances. He added that the hearing “duplicates” the job of the Judicial Council, which had been appointing judges on a merit basis.

However, MP Minendra Rijal said such hearings will not at all affect the independence of the judiciary.

Judges Damodar Prasad Sharma and Gauri Dhakal said that the hearing was an opportunity to clear confusions regarding the judges and the judiciary.