House panel endorses all 8 judges, 2 unanimously

- Pranab Kharel, Kathmandu
House panel endorses all 8 judges, 2 unanimously

May 26, 2014-

The Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee on Monday endorsed the eight nominees for Supreme Court justices. Baidya Nath Upadhyay and Om Prakash Mishra were approved unanimously while the six were elected through voting.

The other nominees are Gopal Parajuli, Deepak Raj Joshi, Govinda Upadhyay, Devendra Gopal Shrestha, Cholendra Shumsher Rana and Jagdish Sharma Poudel. With the parliamentary approval, the number of permanent justices in the apex court will reach 13 while two permanent positions still remain vacant. The constitution provisions 15 permanent justices in the apex court while temporary ones may be hired as required.

Rana and Joshi got 24 and 25 votes, respectively, against their nomination. Lawmakers from UCPN (Maoist), CPN-UML, Rastriya Janamorcha, CPN-Samyukta and Samjbadi Party voted against them. Rastriya Janamorcha lawmaker Chitra Bahadur KC voted against all six.

The endorsement of the candidates comes after almost three weeks of wrangling among the parties. Twenty two plaints had filed against the nominees. The Nepali Congress had been indicating its willingness to endorse the names while the UML and Maoist parties were critical of the names.

For a candidate to be rejected, two-thirds of the 72-member committee must vote against his nomination. During the vote on Monday, only 66 members were present while Narayan Man Bijuckchhe of Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party and two Rastriya Prajantantra Party-Nepal lawmakers boycotted it.

Explaining his vote against Rana and Joshi, UML lawmaker Rajendra Pandey cited the apex court recommendation against the duo. The court in 2012 issued a judicial notice against Rana recommending that the Judicial Council (JC) take action against him. The court reprimanded Joshi too.

The JC decision of April 23 courted controversy after the nominees included Rana while JC member and Senior Justice Ram Kumar Shah wrote a note of dissent against Joshi and Govinda Upadhyay arguing they were incompetent for the posts.

During the course of hearing, tension flared between the House committee and the JC after the latter refused to appear before the committee to explain the nomination process, raising fears of a turf war between the legislature and the judiciary.

The issue was put to rest following an apex court order that stated that the JC need not appear before the committee as the constitution does not require it.

Published: 27-05-2014 08:36

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