As judicial crisis worsens, judges feel compelled to return to work

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This is Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana against all Supreme Court justices. This is Rana against the Nepal Bar Association. It’s Rana against the Supreme Court Bar Association.

Everyone wants Rana to quit her job as Chief Justice. But Rana has said he would prefer to face the constitutional process, meaning an impeachment motion that may come to Parliament.

Parliament was extended as of midnight Friday, which means an impeachment motion is unlikely in the near future.

Although a motion for impeachment can be filed in the Secretariat of Parliament against Rana, the parties do not seem inclined to this decision.

Thursday, Rana, in an interview with Prime TV, again declared that he would not resign.

The judges who raised the bar now find themselves in a delicate situation. Hearings have been affected all week. The question already arises as to whether the means taken by the judges – unofficial boycott of the benches – justify the end, which rids the justice system of anomalies.

Cracks have also appeared in the Nepal Bar Association, the umbrella organization for lawyers across the country. The Nepalese bar was initially firm on Rana’s resignation request. But divided opinions are being heard now.

Friday two the lawyers clashed at the premises of the Nepalese Bar Association as its working committee discussed a protest plan. Lawyer Bhuminanda Chudal, who told the media that judges should not obstruct justice, was beaten by Birat Neupane, another lawyer. Neupane accused Chudal of supporting Rana.

The Nepalese Bar, however, is trying to make a unanimous position on Rana.

The judges’ dilemma continued. They want the political parties to take up the issue.

There are 20 Supreme Court justices. Of these, four are currently outside the Kathmandu Valley. Two judges – Anil Kumar Sinha and Sapana Pradhan Malla – will resume their duties from Sunday and are known to join the undeclared protests of 15 other judges.

One of the judges told the Post that they are well aware that when hearings are affected, people suffer.

“There is extreme pressure on us to hold hearings,” the judge told the Post on condition of anonymity. “The judiciary could face a catastrophe if political parties do not take initiatives.

With Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba leaving for Glasgow to participate in the United Nations Climate Conference (COP 26), any meeting between the ruling alliance, made up of the Nepalese Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center), of the CPN (Unified Socialist) and the Janata Samajbadi party, is unlikely at least before his return. Even if the alliance holds a meeting, it is unlikely that a decision on filing an impeachment motion will be made in Deuba’s absence.

The Nepalese Bar Association on Friday, however, revealed a plan to protest until Wednesday to pressure Chief Justice Rana to resign. The association demanded that the chief justice not run any courts and asked all lawyers to work with black bands from 10 to 11 a.m. every day until Wednesday.

According to the secretary general of the Nepalese Bar Association Lilamani Poudel, other protest plans will be worked out if Rana refuses to step down.

But the Tihar holidays, the second largest festival, start from Thursday.

Some high-ranking lawyers, including Shambhu Thapa, have already made it clear that they will not participate in Supreme Court hearings.

Meanwhile, seven people, including three lawyers – Krishna Prasai, Toyanath Dhungana and Kirtinath Sharma – have filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court demanding an appropriate order including a mandamus on behalf of 15 judges who are avoiding the benches to take over the courts. hearings instead of requiring the resignation of the chief justice. They said hearings on habeas corpus, which is the basic human right of detainees, should not be hampered.

But the Supreme Court has yet to register it.

“We have received the request, but the court will decide on Sunday whether to register it or not,” said Baburam Dahal, spokesman for the Supreme Court.

The petitioners demanded that Supreme Court justices not affect the delivery of justice while demanding the resignation of the chief justice, as there is a constitutional process to remove him.

Senior attorney Chandra Kanta Gyawali said the situation became sticky as judges and the Nepal Bar Association acted on Rana’s resignation request without serving as an ultimatum.

“Political parties are not interested in bringing forward an impeachment motion and questions are being raised against judges for boycotting the benches. Therefore, they are in a very difficult situation, ”Gyawali, also a constitutional expert, told the Post. “We cannot say how the situation will develop as the chief justice does not seem in the mood to resign.”

Some lawyers have suggested that the bar and the judiciary (lawyers and judges) should work together to find a solution to the current impasse.

“The judiciary cannot be held hostage for long by its leaders and stakeholders,” said Gandhi Pandit, a senior lawyer. “If the parties do not budge, the lawyers, the judges and the chief judge must have a tripartite dialogue. ”

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Advocates Forum wrote to Supreme Court justices to begin the hearings.

“Today we have decided to make a decision on resuming hearings in the habeas corpus cases from Sunday after having had discussions with Judges Anil Kumar Sinha and Sapana Malla Pradhan, who are currently on leave.” , said one of the judges after a meeting of the 15 judges. who did not attend any bench on Friday as well. “But we will continue our discussions and our silent protests against the Chief Justice. “

According to him, the silence of political parties could embolden Rana and the judiciary could face further damage.

“Our political parties cannot remain silent by saying that the current crisis is an internal matter of justice,” he said. “Political leaders can at least tell the chief justice to opt for a gracious exit.”

Constitutional experts also expressed serious concerns over the growing confrontation within the justice system over the chief justice’s resignation request and urged political parties to speak out.

“The political parties have taken every advantage by interfering in court cases for their interests, but it is mysterious and of grave concern that they have now maintained an ominous silence,” said lawyer Bhimarjun Acharya, who is also an expert in constitutional affairs. “This crisis of justice is not only that of lawyers and judges. All actors in the country including political parties must make efforts to save justice as the confrontation escalates.

Balaram KC, a former Supreme Court justice, said judges should hear the cases while continuing their fight against the chief justice.

According to KC, it has generally become clear to all that judges are fighting for a cause.

“The judges can instead stop sharing the benches with the chief judge,” KC said. “The judiciary has become the victim of this permanent struggle. Judges should isolate the Chief Justice and continue their work. “


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