SC judge cannot join work, can’t quit either

Kathmandu, February 22:

An ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court, Bipulendra Chakaravarti, resigned without formally taking charge of office but his resignation is yet to be accepted.

“There is a problem in accepting his resignation as he resigned before taking the oath of office, under the Constitution of 1990,” an official of the judicial council headed by Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel told this daily.

Chakarvarti resigned citing poor health only a month after he was appointed under Article 87(13) of the Constitution with the consent of the King. Chief Justice Paudel had appointed Pawan Kumar Ojha, Tahir Ali Ansari, Rajendra Prasad Koirala and senior advocate Bipulendra Chakravarti as ad hoc judges on December 28.

All the others except Chakravarti took the oath of office immediately after a few days of their appointment. “A month after he forwarded his resignation to the Chief Justice, it is yet to be accepted,” the official added.

Article 87(6) of the Constitution states that the Chief Justice or any other judge of the Supreme Court may, by submitting to the King his resignation in writing, quit office at any time.

It also stands to reason that if an appellate court or district court judge does not take the oath of office within a month of his appintment his post is automatically terminated. But there is no such clarity in Nepali law regarding the SC judges’ appointment lapses if they do not take oath of office.

Secretary of the Judicial Council Kashi Raj Dahal said that two judges of the Appellate Court, Thaneshwor Bhatta and Bijaya Gupta opted to resign only a few days after taking the oath of office. Bhatta resigned five days later while Gupta quit within a month after appointment.