JC nominates 11 SC justices

Kathmandu, March 1

Ending months of uncertainty, the Judicial Council today nominated 11 new justices for the Supreme Court.

According to Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Agni Prasad Kharel, the newly recommended justices of the Supreme Court are Dipak Karki, Kedar Chalise, Sarada Prasad Ghimire, Meera Khadka, Hari Krishna Karki, Bishwambhar Shrestha, Ishwar Khatiwada, Anand Mohan Bhattarai, Anil Kumar Sinha, Prakash Raut and Sapana Pradhan Malla.

Among the 11 nominees seven are the sitting chief judges of appellate court and four are senior advocates Hari Krishna Karki, Prakash Raut, Anil Kumar Sinha and Sapana Pradhan Malla.

Karki tendered his resignation from the post of attorney general today and his resignation was accepted by the President. Karki, who was the president of Nepal Bar Association, an umbrella body of the lawyers, was appointed AG after a government was formed under KP Sharma Oli.

Malla is a lead human rights lawyer who has championed the cause of women and children for over two decades. She had won Gruber International Women’s Rights Prize in 2008 under the category ‘Advancing Gender Equality’.

Malla is a member of United Nations Committee against torture. Sinha is a renowned lawyer who specialises in commercial and taxation law.

As per the new constitution, SC should have 21 justices, including the chief justice, but there are only 10 justices. Lack of justices has affected case disposal rate of the apex court.

Due to lack of adequate number of justices, only 40 to 60 cases, out of 150 to 200 that are in the cause list every day, are disposed. The apex court has more over 23,000 cases to dispose.

JC under former chief justice Ram Kumar Prasad Sah had failed to nominate justices for the Supreme Court due to differences between the JC members over the names and seniority list.

Initially there were difference between Minister Kharel and Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha, who heads the JC, over the names and seniority list. Shrestha retires as CJ in six weeks.

A meeting of the central committee recently took up the issue of appointment of justices and urged the JC not to nominate justices unless it got full shape.

The prime minister and the Nepal Bar Association are yet to nominate members to the JC.

Since the Parliamentary Hearing Committee is yet to be formed, the newly nominated justices will have to wait for some time to appear before the parliamentary panel.