In her eight-year stint at the SC, she has issued many landmark verdicts, mainly against corruption. Her decision to convict sitting minister Jaya Prakash Gupta of corruption in 2012, overturning a 2007 decision taken by a Special Court bench, will always be remembered not just in the judicial but also in the political history of Nepal. This was the first instance of an incumbent minister being sent behind the bars for corruption.
It was also Sushila Karki, together with Bishwambhar Shrestha and Sapana Pradhan-Malla, who decided to reopen the case of appointment of Lokman Singh Karki as the chief of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority. The case had been scrapped by the same court earlier. Based on the same decision, a full bench of the SC on January 8 last year disqualified Lokman as the CIAA chief citing the lack of moral integrity to lead the constitutional position.
But the last crucial decision of her career dragged her into a controversy, which later became the cause for the parties dissatisfaction with her to initiate the impeachment process. On March 21, 2017, a full bench of Karki and five other justices quashed the government’s decision to appoint DIG Jaya Bahadur Chand as the chief of Nepal Police, claiming that it was an arbitrary and flawed decision.
The ruling became the major bone of contention between the government and the SC, which the former took as a breach of its jurisdiction.
The perception in the government of the judiciary encroaching upon its territory became so intense that lawmakers from the ruling parties resorted to an impeachment motion against her. As many as 249 lawmakers from the Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Centre) registered the impeachment motion against her on April 30 last year, alleging interference in the power of the executive, inefficiency in executing her duties, biased decision-making, and thriving “groupism” in the judiciary. The story did not end here. The SC a week later said the allegations made in the impeachment motion were against the spirit of the constitution.
“She never comprised on her conviction and always faced pressure boldly,” Prakash Osti, former SC justice and a member of the National Human Rights Commission, said, “It’s rare to find such a person in a country like ours.”
—By Binod GhimirePublished: 2018-02-19 12:12:33