In the interest of Nepal's judiciary, the CJ should gracefully bow out, which will marginally boost his image. The judiciary has evolved from the times of Ram Shah in the 17th century, who administered justice so well that it was respected with the adage be Gorkha bound if justice not found

The end of the political woe of the coalition government seems nowhere in sight on the political horizon in Nepal. It was heavily criticised for the undue delay in the expansion of the cabinet. This was further aggravated by the news of the government tying a bogey with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

It created such political ripples that the Supreme Court had to issue a notice denying the allegation. But the appointment of a non-parliamentarian, Gajendra Hamal, as the minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies exposed the hollowness of the denial.

The government has been akin to a live fish jumping into the furnace from the frying pan.

The Chief Justice has been alleged for making self-serving decisions on numerous occasions. Earlier, disappointment was expressed for commuting the life sentence of a wife murderer.

He was again rumoured to have secured the appointment of his close confidants to constitutional positions during the time of the Oli government for sitting in the meeting of the Constitutional Council that he could have otherwise absented. Because it was formed following the passing of a controversial bill that not only lowered the necessary quorum but also wished the Opposition leader of the House of Representatives out of existence against the existing constitutional provisions.

Furthermore, rumours were rife that he tried to persuade Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to appoint Deepak Timilsina and Gajendra Hamal as ministers in the cabinet.

Prime Minister Deuba did not include Timilsina reportedly due to heavy resistance by the coalition partners but appointed Hamal as the minister at the end.

Hamal, a senior member of the Nepali Congress, is well known for his dedication and devotion to democracy right from the BP era. He demonstrated his integrity by resigning from the post within 48 hours of his appointment.

He has created history at a time when ministers stick to their post like a snail despite being tainted in different cases.

But his resignation has left a gaping hole, accentuating the demanding attitude of the Supreme Court Chief Justice and the subservient attitude of the Prime Minister.

The hallmark of parliamentary democracy is power separation of the judiciary and the executive.

In fact, it can be observed right from mythical times.

When Chitragupta ordered the saints to surrender to eventual death, they refused to do so citing the honour extended to them even by the Gods.

But they had to obey Chitragupta when the Gods themselves said that time was almighty, and even they bowed to death by taking different incarnations.

This shows how no interference, concession or subsequent demands were made either by the Gods, the executives, or Chitragupta, the judiciary.

Indian Justice Jag Mohan Lal Sinha's verdict to bar Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from taking part in the elections for six years on account of availing the service of her office secretary in the elections led to the clamping of an emergency, which brought the Janata Party in power. But Sinha did not seek any favour from the Janata Party Prime Minister, Morarji Desai.

He was lured to the post of Justice of the Supreme Court before he delivered the verdict, but he spurned the offer. He remained the justice of Allahabad High Court until his retirement even though he was offered several senior appointments.

Justice John Sirica of the United States also had delivered a very notable verdict against President Richard Nixon, which led to his resignation due to his involvement in the Watergate Scandal. But Sirica never sought any offer from succeeding President Gerald Ford.

Now the question arises as to what should be done in the present circumstances.

In the interest of the judiciary of Nepal, the Chief Justice should gracefully bow out. It will marginally boost his image even though not that dramatically like of his brother-inlaw Hamal.

After all, the Nepali judiciary has evolved from the glorious times of Ram Shah in the 17th century, who administered justice so well that it was respected with the adage be Gorkha bound if justice not found.

An alternative is to seek the constitutional provision of passing the impeachment move from the parliament.

This is not likely to be for two reasons. CJ Rana's verdicts have at times saved the country from democratic crises, such as the repeated dissolutions of the parliament by then Prime Minister KP Oli.

Secondly, the present government is the offshoot of his verdict of the appointment of the Prime Minister by the Court and may not go to that extent.

In that case, the Nepali judiciary will have a tarnished image with a self-serving Chief Justice as its crown. The Nepali people will lose whatever faith they have in the Nepali judiciary.

The Chief Justice should not be a solitary sacrificial lamb on the present political altar. The Prime Minister also cannot be isolated from this complicity. He should consider making room for a new Prime Minister from the Nepali Congress.

After all, the parliamentary democracy gets stale with repeatedly erring leaders at the top. It gets recharged with the emergence of new leaders. This will give a new lease of life to the Nepali Congress.

In fact, it is not only in the Nepali Congress but other parties as well where there is a need of such political leadership cleansing.

The leaders of the coalition also have to take part of the blame for such an unbecoming judiciary-executive nexus. The leaders may disagree on the pretext of a leadership gap in the party.

But it cannot be any more than crocodile tears.

We can see how these parties have continued to receive continuity despite the demise of B P Koirala, Manmohan Adhikari and the likes.

In fact, Babu Ram Bhattarai has already hinted about this dire need in Nepali politics. The emergence of new leaders provides a new vision, mission and goal to the country at large.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 19, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.