Judges for review power over army court verdicts

Kathmandu, July 10:

Judges of the Supreme Court today decided that they would urge the interim constitution drafting committee chaired by former Supreme Court judge Laxman Prasad Aryal to ensure judicial review power of the Supreme Court in the interim statute so as to check the decisions of the military courts and place army officials under civil court trial.

A meeting of the apex court judges decided to demand the committee to guarantee the SC’s jurisdiction to check military court verdicts and try army officials in civil courts. Currently, the 1990 Constitution excludes the army from civil court trials and excludes judicial review even by the apex court on military court verdicts.

“We have fixed a time-frame to discuss with judges on Wednesday to seek their suggestions regarding the future authority of the Supreme Court and lower courts,” Shambhu Thapa, member of the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee told this daily.

During today’s meeting all judges, except Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and a few judges who were outside Kathmandu, attended the meeting.

The judges also decided to ask the committee that SC judges should be appointed from among independent legal experts, law professionals and legal researchers and not from among judicial bureaucrats.

They have decided that judicial bureaucrats should only be sent up to the appellate court level. The judges will ask the Aryal panel to endure the independence of the judiciary, rule of law, universally accepted legal principles and reasonable appointment process of judges. The judges, however, could not come to an agreement on the issue of changing the present three-tier court system.

The judges will urge the Aryal panel to form an independent recommendation panel to appoint judges and check the actions of judges found involved in corruption.