NC questions competence of prime minister in selection of chief justice

Kathmandu, August 6

The main opposition Nepali Congress today said the Parliamentary Hearing Committee’s decision to reject Deepak Raj Joshee as chief justice has raised a question over the competence of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who is also the Constitutional Council head, in the nomination of the candidate to head the judiciary.

The NC raised this issue today at Parliament after the PHC rejected Joshee, who was nominated for the post of chief justice by the Constitutional Council, with two-thirds majority last week.

“If the chief justice nominee was not qualified for the post, how did the Constitutional Council select the candidate?” NC lawmaker Gyanendra Bahadur Karki questioned during today’s parliamentary session.

The 15-member PHC includes nine members from PM Oli’s Nepal Communist Party (NCP). All nine NCP members had voted against the appointment of Joshee as chief justice.

“How can PHC members from NCP (NCP) reject a CJ nominee, who was selected for the post by their party chairman?” questioned Karki, adding, “The rejection has humiliated Joshee who has been serving the judiciary since 1993.”

Karki has called for the investigation into allegations levelled against Joshee, as he has said, “PHC had rejected him without any proof”.

NC’s whip in the House, Pushpa Bhusal, called Joshee’s rejection ‘an attack on the judiciary, which is one of the three pillars of the state’.

Ruling NCP lawmakers Khaga Raj Adhikari and Birod Khatiwada, however, criticised the NC for making those accusations. “If the NC continues to criticise the NCP (NCP)’s decisions, which has the two-thirds majority in the Parliament, it will have to opt for totalitarian rule,” Adhikari said.

The NC, according to Hridayesh Tripathi, an independent lawmaker close to the NCP, should not be raising an issue in which the parliamentary committee has already taken a decision. “If the NC really wants to discuss the chief justice agenda in the House, we should go back to the year 1993 and see which political party tried to influence the judiciary,” Tripathi said.

The lower House, in the meantime, has approved the Public Security (Third Amendment) Bill, National Medical Council Bill, Insurance Bill and Auditing Bill and sent them to the respective thematic committees.