Office bearers of Nepal Bar Association will hold talks with Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana and raise the issue of Rana seeking his share in the Cabinet as reported in the media.

NBA Chair Chandeshwar Shrestha said that the purpose of his team's meeting with the CJ was to press him to implement the recommendations made by the Justice Hari Krishna Karki-led committee in a time-bound manner. However, in the course of the meeting they will also be raising the controversy generated by recent media reports that state that CJ Rana sought a share in the Cabinet.

The Karki committee had made necessary recommendations related to measures for keeping the judiciary free of controversy, which also included preparation of automated cause lists.

Shrestha said the NBA would hold its meeting and make its position clear on the current controversies, but he personally believed the news reports about CJ Rana seeking a share in the spoils of appointment, including his share in the Council of Ministers, were objectionable.

An investigation into the allegation against Rana may or may not find the truth, but the allegation that CJ Rana sought a share in the Cabinet was itself serious and objectionable, Shrestha said and added if it was true that Rana had sought share in the Cabinet for a quid pro quo (delivering judgments favourable for the executive) as reported in media outlets, that was bad for checks and balances and separation of power. If the judiciary's independence is compromised, that could derail the constitution and democracy, he added.

Shrestha said the appointment in constitutional bodies made by the KP Sharma Oli government after amending the Constitutional Council Act through an ordinance was unconstitutional and yet the Supreme Court had not conducted even a first hearing 10 months after the case was filed.

He said the appointments in constitutional bodies were wrong as the spirit of the constitution was to ensure the presence of all chiefs of three state organs - executive, judiciary and legislature.

He also said that issuing interim order by a single bench against the constitutional bench that stalled the hearing of cases filed against the appointments made in the constitutional bodies was also wrong because a single bench or division bench should not issue an order against the constitutional bench, which has five Justices including the CJ.

Shrestha said the Supreme Court had assured the lawyers' umbrella body it would implement automated cause list system from September 1, but later it expressed its inability to enforce automated cause list, and that was wrong. The judiciary should implement the recommendations made by the Justice Karki-led committee in order to make the judiciary free of all controversies.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 24, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.