How will next CJ be selected? A crisis looms

June 17, 2005

KATHMANDU: As Chief Justice Hari Prasad Sharma’s retirement clock ticks, a serious constitutional question has arisen on how to appoint the country’s next Chief Justice.“It is a serious constitutional question as to how the next CJ should be appointed at a time when there is no prime minister to head the Constitutional Council that would suggest names of the candidates to the King,” veteran constitutional expert Motikaji Sthapit told The Himalayan Times. “This is a tough question as the country is already facing a grave constitutional crisis,” Sthapit, also a former Attorney General, said. “Most of the decisions have already been taken unconstitutionally and as such the people as well as the Supreme Court should think twice on such issues,” he added. He, however, refused to say whether he would head the constitutional council set up by the King to recommend names for the post of the CJ. CJ Sharma is retiring on July 28 after he attains the age of 65. According to an official of the CJ-headed Judicial Council, a formal letter on the CJ’s retirement would be handed over to him soon. The King had appointed Sharma to the post on January 13 for a period of six months following recommendation of the Constitutional Council headed by the then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

GDP growth rate slides down

KATHMANDU: With the dismal performance of agriculture and tourism sector, the GDP growth rate has been scaled down to 2.05 per cent. Earlier, the government has set the target growth at 4.5 per cent. The finance minister had recently briefed the King about deteriorating economic situation, that has been proved by the latest figures produced by Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), a government undertaking. Talking to The Himalayan Times, Dr Rudra Suwal, deputy director at the CBS said “as per the preliminary estimate under the National Planning Commission (NPC), GDP growth has been scaled down to 2.05 per cent. Dr Suwal attributed the reasons in GDP growth rates fall to weak performance of agriculture as paddy production, which has a significant weightage in GDP, alone declined by about four per cent in the current fiscal year. As per the CBS statistics, agriculture sector’s contribution to GDP was 3.86 per cent last year where as it declined to 2.8 per cent as per the preliminary estimates, this year. Few days’ back, finance minister Madhukar SJB Rana had apprised the King of the deteriorating economic situation saying that budgetary crisis has been seen with country’s inflation touching at about six per cent ignited by the hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) and petroleum products.