Impeachment motion against CJ Karki

  • 249 MPs from Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre) sign document
  • Legal eagles say move slap on separation of powers
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu
The proposal gives nine reasons for trying to relieve CJ Karki of her duties, most prominently accusing her of interfering in the works of the executive (government)

May 1, 2017-

In a surprising move, two major ruling parties on Sunday registered an impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sushila Karki in the Legislature-Parliament, accusing her of interfering in the executive’s decision-making and working against the principle of separation of powers.

Constitutional experts, however, insisted that the government’s move makes a mockery of the separation of powers—the bedrock of democracy.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Min Bahadur Bishwokarma proposed the impeachment motion registered in the Parliament Secretariat. The motion, signed by 249 lawmakers from the NC and the CPN (Maoist Centre), was seconded by Tek Bahadur Basnet, chief whip of the Maoist party.

Karki, who became the first female chief of the country’s judiciary as the acting CJ in May last year, assumed office as the CJ on July 11. She was due to retire from the position on June 7.

Karki, who was acclaimed for her strong decisions as the CJ, was suspended from the position with immediate effect after the Parliament Secretariat wrote to the President’s Office and the Judicial Council about the motion.

According to Article 101 (2) of the Constitution of Nepal, one fourth of the members of Parliament can register an impeachment motion against any official holding a constitutional position on the ground of failing to perform duty effectively or of working against the constitution or seriously violating their code of conduct.

Among those signing the motion, 189 are from the largest party, including NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel, while 60 others are from PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s party.

The proposal gives nine reasons for trying to relieve CJ Karki of her duties, most prominently accusing her of interfering in the works of the executive (government). It claims that she breached Article 75 of the constitution, which outlines the government’s executive powers.

The ruling parties, mainly the NC, were dissatisfied over the ruling of the apex court that overturned the government’s decision to appoint Deputy Inspector General of Nepal Police Jaya Bahadur Chand as the chief of the force. The ruling parties had interpreted the apex court’s decision as an attack on the principle of separation of powers. “She was also found to have had meetings with the people against whom cases were sub judice in the SC,” Bishwokarma told the Post, adding that Karki also directed other justices to issue verdicts to her liking. He claimed that she was biased against the justices who did not follow her orders. Currently, there are 19 justices in the apex court.

The NC leader also claimed that Karki flouted judicial norms and codes of conduct several times during her tenure as the CJ.

The two parties need votes of 396 lawmakers to endorse the impeachment motion from Parliament, which seems difficult to manage given that even ruling parties Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Nepal Communist Party Samyukta have seriously objected to the move.

Judicial and constitutional experts do not agree with Bishwokarma’s remarks. They charge the ruling parties with breaching the principle of separation of powers 

by trying to intimidate the judiciary.

“This is a black day in the country’s judicial history,” said Constitutional Expert Bipin Adhikari. “The ruling forces are trying to intimidate the judiciary for not getting its approval on their wrongdoings.” He also dismissed all the nine accusations made against Karki as “baseless”.

According to the Parliament Secretariat, the motion will be tabled for discussion in the House within a week, as required by the parliamentary regulations. The proposal will then be sent to the Impeachment Recommen-dation Committee, which studies the charges and reports its views to Parliament. Given the lengthy process, it is unlikely that any decision on the motion will be taken by the House before Karki retires on June 7.

 

Parajuli acting chief justice

KATHMANDU: Senior most Justice Gopal Parajuli took charge of acting chief justice on Sunday evening, following the suspension of Sushila Karki as the CJ. The incumbent was suspended automatically after an impeachment motion was registered against her in Parliament earlier in the day. Supreme Court sources said Parajuli took charge on Sunday since Monday is a public holiday. (PR)

Published: 01-05-2017 07:49

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