The Supreme Court Regulations amended by the apex court's full court were published in the Nepal Gazette today, paving the way for a lottery-based cause list.

This system will remain in application until the SC adopts automation-based cause list, for which the SC will have to make preparation.

SC regulations were amended by the full court in the wake of continued protests by dissident justices and the Nepal Bar Association, who have demanded that Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana resign from his post.

The CJ faces accusations of seeking to get his brother -in-law Gajendra Bahadur Hamal appointed as a minister in the Sher Bahadur Deuba Cabinet and delaying the hearing of cases filed against appointments made to constitutional bodies by the KP Sharma Oli government.

A Supreme Court justice told THT that the SC would call its full court meeting in a day or two to fix the date for introduction of the lottery-based cause list after consulting the SC administrative staff and technical staff, who have to make preparations for the same.

The justice said the revised regulation would pave the way for dissident justices to conduct hearing of cases, as the cause list would be based on a lottery system without any role of the chief justice. Once the new system starts, SC justices will pick case numbers from the lottery box and conduct hearing for those cases. Sharing of benches will also be determined by lotteries.

The SC justice said if technical and administrative staff sought some more time for the preparation of the new system, the court could grant them that. The date for introduction of the new system will be determined by the full court.

The SC justice said even after the introduction of a lottery system, case hearing process might not move smoothly as the NBA had been boycotting benches. "We will hold talks with the NBA to know the lawyers' views. It will be difficult to conduct hearing even after the introduction of the lottery system if the NBA continues to boycott benches. Bar and bench must come together to sort out the issues," the justice added.

He said if the NBA shared the views of dissident justices that the new cause list would be based on a lottery system with no role of the CJ, then lawyers could represent their clients in benches.

Dissident justices continued to protest against the CJ by hearing only habeas corpus writ petitions and cases that need to be kept pending.

One of the key demands of the NBA and the Supreme Court Bar Association is that the SC should implement the Justice Hari Krishna Karki-led committee's recommendations, including that the SC should go for an automation-based cause list to address problems of undue influence in cases by middlemen.

SC full court to fix date for introduction of the lottery-based cause list

A version of this article appears in the print on November 23, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.