Office bearers of the Nepal Bar Association and some senior advocates met Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and handed him a memorandum listing 17 reasons they said were enough to impeach Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana.

Former attorney general Raman Kumar Shrestha said NBA office bearers and other lawyers who met Deuba told him that while the executive had no business interfering in the functioning of the judiciary, it was its responsibility to see whether or not the judiciary was complying with rules and regulations and catering to needs of service seekers. "Lawyers and justices have been boycotting benches for almost a month. Since there are allegations of anomalies and corruption in the judiciary, executive should be concerned," Shrestha said.

NBA General Secretary Lilamani Paudel said the PM told the lawyers' team that he was aware of all the issues they had raised and he would try to sort them out in the next couple of days after discussing them in the five-party ruling alliance.

He said the lawyers' team did not directly tell the PM or any other political leader to impeach the CJ, but the 17 reasons listed in their memorandum were enough for lawmakers to impeach the CJ.

He said the NBA indirectly told the PM that the CJ must be impeached.

The NBA and protesting justices have accused the CJ of seeking a quid pro quo deal with the executive to get his brotherin-law appointed to the Cabinet and delaying hearing of cases filed against appointments made to constitutional bodies.

"When the PM said that the judiciary should itself settle its issues, media outlets interpreted it as the PM's refusal to back the call for CJ Rana's exit, but I think such interpretation was wrong. The PM may have hinted that the CJ can resolve the judicial issues by resigning from his post," Shrestha said. He said Rana had no option but to resign, as dissident lawyers and justices would not accept any role of the CJ in assigning the cases to justices.

A lottery-based cause list will become operational in the Supreme Court from December 1. This means that the CJ, who used to assign cases to justices, will stop doing that. "The NBA has said that the CJ should neither adjudicate cases, nor should he perform his duty as ex-officio member or chairperson of the Judicial Council and the Judicial Service Commission.

I expect that even the Constitutional Council will not allow him to sit in the panel after such a prolonged protest against him," Shrestha said. He said once the CJ realised that he was in no position to do anything in the judiciary, he would not feel like holding the post of CJ.

The lawyers' team that met the PM today included former attorney general Badri Bahadur Karki, senior advocates Shrestha, Harihar Dahal, Shambhu Thapa, Satish Krishna Kharel, NBA President Chandeshwor Shrestha, NBA General Secretary Lilamani Paudel, Supreme Court Bar President Purna Man Shakya, and some other office bearers of the NBA and the SCBA.

Meanwhile, the NBA and dissident justices continued to protest against CJ Rana.

While protesting lawyers staged sit-in at the entrance of the SC, dissident justices continued to boycott hearing of cases other than habeas corpus writ petitions, reconciliation petitions, and petitions seeking case withdrawal.

A version of this article appears in the print on November 27, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.