India’s ex-CJ asks judiciary to respect Bar’s opinion

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 13:

Former chief justice and ex-chairman of the National Human Rights Commission of India, JS Verma, today said the judiciary has to respect the Bar’s opinion, as the “Bar is the judge of judges”.

“That’s the role of the Bar,” he said. Prominent jurist Verma was delivering a lecture at a programme on the ‘Rule of Law and Role of Judiciary’ organised by the Nepal Bar Association (NBA) here today. He said the Bar has to defend the rights of the people even during difficult periods.

Verma was responding to queries from lawyers regarding the recent controversy over a political speech delivered by Chief Justice Hari Prasad Sharma in Australia supporting the royal takeover. NBA president Shambhu Thapa and various legal experts have urged Sharma to resign from his post accusing him of violating judges’ code of conduct.

“But I cannot comment against anyone personally,” he said. “The Bar has a duty to defend the freedom of Press and the rights of the people.

He said judges should act keeping in mind the welfare of the people.

Citing an Indian example, he said the state has no right to encroach on the non-suspended rights even during emergency. He also urged the lawyers to educate people on the spirit of the constitution so that no one can act against it. “It is essential for participatory rule.” Former justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, Dheeraratne, urged the NBA to come to the forefront to protect the rights of the people.

Verma and Dheeraratne are here representing a mission of the South Asian Human Rights (SAHR) to monitor Nepal’s rights situation. The team comprised Director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, IR Rehman, and senior journalist of Bangladesh, Mahruz Anam. They met former chief justice Bishwa Nath Upadhayaya and other senior human rights activists today.