‘Interference in judiciary begins’

Kathmandu, August 7

The main opposition Nepali Congress has today concluded the executive’s direct interference in the judiciary has begun with the Parliamentary Hearing Committee rejecting chief justice nominee Deepak Raj Joshee.

An emergency meeting of the party’s central working committee today concluded that the chief justice appointment process ‘met with an accident’ due to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s ‘dual character’.

The NC said the Constitutional Council chaired by Oli had nominated Joshee for the post of chief justice on the basis of the criteria provisioned in the Constitutional Council Act. However, Oli himself directed PHC members representing his party to reject Joshee’s nomination without any reason.

“Against the dignity and responsibility of his post, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli made the recommendation himself and got it rejected himself with ill intention, exhibiting his dual character,” read the NC CWC decision.

The NC has taken the episode as the executive’s encroachment in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. The CWC meeting also decided that the party would be more proactive in the days to come to protect the fundamental principles of democracy, constitution, constitutional supremacy and judicial independence,.

NC CWC Member Nabindra Raj Joshi said the committee rejected Joshee’s nomination citing ‘vague’ reasons, which clearly showed ill intention. “We have concluded that this has put constitutional supremacy at risk and is against rule of law,” he said.

For the first time in Nepal’s parliamentary history, the PHC had on August 3 rejected chief justice nominee Joshee on the basis of two-thirds majority, even as four lawmakers representing the Nepali Congress in the panel walked out.

The reasons given by the committee for the rejection are: Joshee failed to present solid work plan and vision on leading the judiciary; he failed to give satisfactory answers to questions about his conduct, integrity and capability; his academic certificates issued by the education institution he had attended were suspicious and discrepancies in his date of birth also made it controversial; former justices and justices condemned his public conduct and past performances; and he failed to give positive examples of his contribution to the judiciary.