NCP (NCP) for rejecting Joshee’s name for CJ

Kathmandu, July 30

The much-hyped meeting of the Parliamentary Hearing Committee convened to confirm or reject chief justice nominee Deepak Raj Joshee, ended inconclusively today after the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) pressed for rejecting his name on the basis of two-thirds majority.

Two PHC members representing the NCP (NCP) told THT on condition of anonymity that they decided to defer the rejection decision till Wednesday after Nepali Congress lawmakers of the panel wanted some time to consult their top leaders on the matter.  “We hope that NC lawmakers support us, but even if they do not do so, the panel will take a call on Wednesday on the basis of two-thirds majority,” one of the NCP (NCP) lawmakers said.

NCP (NCP) has nine members in the panel and if Rajendra Shrestha of the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal, another coalition partner, supports NCP (NCP) lawmakers, the ruling parties will have 10 members in the 15-member panel, enough to reject CJ nominee Joshee. Chances of Shrestha supporting NCP (NCP) members are high.

If Joshee is rejected by the panel, it will be the first time that a CJ nominee is rejected by the panel.

House of Representatives members Yogesh Bhattarai, Surendra Pandey, Purna Kumari Subedi, Amrita Thapa, Niru Pal, Parwat Gurung,  Shiva Kumar Mandal and National Assembly members  Nanda Chapai and Suman Raj  Pyakurel represent the NCP (NCP) in the panel.

HoR members Pushpa Bhusal, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, Bhimsen Das Pradhan and National Assembly member Jitendra Narayan Dev represent the Nepali Congress in the panel. Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal lawmaker Rajendra Shrestha and Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal lawmaker Laxman Lal Karna represent their parties in the panel.

Karna, who chaired the meeting today, said the next meeting of the panel had been scheduled for 3:30 pm on Wednesday. Yogesh Bhattarai said the PHC wanted to take a decision on the CJ’s confirmation on the basis of consensus and, therefore, it decided to give some time to NC lawmakers to reach a conclusion as sought by them.

NC lawmaker Pushpa Bhusal, however, said issues were not officially discussed in today’s meeting. “We advised the ruling party lawmakers to call another meeting and finally we decided to meet on Wednesday,” she added.

Earlier, the PHC had put off its meeting twice — first on Friday and then on Sunday.

Pyakurel said some members of the PHC took exception to Joshee’s interview given to a newspaper today in which he said he felt like standing in the dock.

“How can a CJ nominee who has been acting as the CJ and who plays the role of the interpreter of the constitution, undermine the PHC hearing which is only performing its constitutional role?” Pyakurel wondered.

He said the PHC posed questions to the CJ nominee because the people’s representatives had the obligation to pose those questions that concerned the public.

Pyakurel said Joshee had made such an objectionable and negative remark at a time when PHC was still in the process of taking a decision on the matter.

“Joshee’s remarks will increase conflict between the legislature and the judiciary,” he added. Pyakurel said the PHC was within its constitutional right to investigate complaints lodged against Joshee and to know the public’s sentiment towards him.

Sources said some of the recent stay orders issued by the Supreme Court against the government’s decision to ban protest at Maitighar Mandala and some other key places in Kathmandu and to sack government officials appointed by Sher Bahadur Deuba had angered the government.