Kathmandu, April 8
Supreme Court chapter of Nepal Civil Service Employees’ Union today issued a press release calling on the Judicial Council to reverse its decision to nominate five Supreme Court justices.
The JC recently nominated career judges Prakash Kumar Dhungana and Sushma Lata Mathema and lawyers Hari Prasad Phuyal, Kumar Regmi and Manoj Kumar Sharma for SC justices.
The authentic trade union of civil service employees’ threatened to resort to protests and pressure tactics if the JC did not withdraw its recommendation on five SC justices. It also urged the Parliamentary Hearing Committee to reject the nominees. The union stated that the five SC justices were nominated in violation of the principle of independent and impartial judiciary.
“Candidates’ qualification, efficiency, capability, experience, age, integrity and past background and reputation should be taken into account while nominating judges,” the NCSEU stated in its release.
The NCSEU stated that the JC didn’t recommend reputed and able senior lawyers and even violated the tradition of nominating career judges and lawyers in a 3:2 ratio.
“The Parliamentary Hearing Committee should reject the candidates nominated by the Judicial Council as the recommendation violates accepted rules and norms,” the union added.
The union also called upon all stakeholders, including the Nepal Bar Association, Judges’ Society, Judicial Officers’ Society, Government Attorneys’ Society, Legal Officers’ Society, civil society members and the public to force the PHC to reject SC nominees.
Constitutional expert Bhimarjun Acharya said basic qualities needed for the appointment of Supreme Court justices, such as efficiency, political neutrality and seniority, were not taken into account while recommending the SC justices. He said the PHC needed to correct the mistakes made by the JC to prevent the government’s intervention in the judiciary.
National Assembly member Radhe Shyam Adhikari, who is also a senior advocate, said questions of ability and efficiency were raised against some nominees, therefore the PHC should judiciously decide on the nomination and correct the mistakes made by the JC.
“JC made the SC justice nominations without checking background of the nominees. Questions are being raised against the nominees for constitutional post holders. Recently the Constitutional Council nominated Samim Miya Ansari for the post of chairperson of Muslim Commission without checking his background. If such mistakes are repeated, people will lose faith in government institutions,” Adhikari said. He added that PHC members should reject inefficient SC justice nominees without being influenced by party whip.
A lawyer said political influence in the JC would remain as long as its structure was not changed. He added that the JC’s decision to nominate Manoj Kumar Sharma for SC justice was more controversial than other nominees. “How can Sharma, who was relieved of the post of a high court judge due to inefficiency, be nominated for the SC, the highest court?” the lawyer wondered.
A version of this article appears in print on April 09, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.