Supreme Court removes Lok Man Singh Karki from CIAA

KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court on Sunday said Lok Man Singh Karki did not meet qualifications required to hold the position of the Chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority.

The verdict in effect immediately removes the controversial figure from the top position of the anti-corruption constitutional body.

Karki was appointed to the position in May 2013 by the then Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi-led interim council of ministers for a tenure of six years.

In response to a number of writ petitions filed by advocate Om Prakash Aryal, a full bench of justices  Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada, Ananda Mohan Bhattarai and Anil Kumar Sinha made the historic verdict today.

Aryal in his writ had argued that Karki did not possess all the qualifications required for the position as provisioned in the Interim Constitution, which was in effect during the time of his appointment.

Grounds for removal

In particular, the verdict has observed that Karki failed to meet the criteria as mentioned in Articles 119.5c and 119.5e of the Constitution.

The Court has explained that Karki did not have high moral standards as he was proved guilty of suppressing the 2006 People's Movement by the investigation commission led by former justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi. while his experience in civil service was also not sufficient to hold the top position.

Likewise, his experience in accounting, revenue, engineering, law, development and research was also not sufficient to hold the top position, the Court observed, as his service in the palace could not be counted for the same.

"All activities related to his appointment including the Constitutional Council's decision on May 5, 2013 to recommend Karki, who did not have qualifications as mentioned in the Constitution, for the position of the Chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority; his appointment by the President on May 8, 2013; and the oath that the Chief Justice administered on him have been quashed by this order of certiorari," the verdict read, "Now, a mandamus order has also been issued in the name of the Constitutional Council and the President's Office among the defendants to appoint a person meeting constitutional qualifications to the position of the Chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority."


Questioned since appointment

Leaders of civil society and political parties, as well as media had been questioning the Constitutional Council's decision to appoint Karki to the top post since the day of his appointment.

Over two years ago, advocate Aryal himself had filed a writ petition challenging Karki’s appointment.  A division bench, however, on September 24, 2014 had quashed Aryal’s petition that sought revocation of Karki’s appointment.

However, a division bench of Chief Justice Sushila Karki, Justice Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha and Justice Sapana Pradhan Malla, on September 16, 2016 had observed that there was a fault in the two-year-old order.

The Justice trio had said the case over Karki’s appointment would be reviewed as it raised a question on constitutional provision about high moral character sought for the constitutional position and whether Karki, who served in the palace for six years, two months and 10 days, was eligible for the position.

Considering Karki’s service in the palace for the appointment was against the Principle of Constitution Construction, they had observed.

Responding to Aryal’s latest writ petition, a full bench of three justices –Deepak Karki, Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha and Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada– on August 26, 2016 had told the authorities to forge the documents related to his appointment along with the clarification that the government sought from him in 2007 when Karki was the Chief Secretary.