Judicial Council relieves CJ Parajuli of his duties

- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, Kathmandu

Mar 15, 2018-

In a dramatic turn of events, the Judicial Council (JC) on Wednesday terminated Chief Justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli stating that investigation of documents showed he had attained the retirement age (65) seven months ago on August 5, 2017.

Article 131 of the constitution states that among other reasons Chief Justice gets terminated if he crosses the age of 65. Senior-most Justice of the apex court Deepak Raj Joshi will replace CJ Parajuli after the council takes the official decision in a couple of days. The JC also wrote letters to the Office of President and Justice Joshi, informing them that Parajuli is no longer in office as the head of judiciary. The JC took such a decision after the investigation found discrepancies in the documents that CJ Parajuli had submitted to the council and his educational certificates received from the Office of Controller of Examination. The JC decision came at a time when CJ Parajuli was administering the oath of office and secrecy to newly-elected President Bidya Devi Bhandari.

“The letter dispatched by JC is sufficient for termination of CJ Parajuli. It has clearly mentioned the constitutional age-limit of  the chief justice,” said constitutional expert Bipin Adhikari.

A letter signed by JC Secretary Nripadhoj Niraula and delivered to Parajuli confirms that the latter retired on August 5, 2017. “As per the secretary level decision of March 14, 2018, we inform that Honorable Gopal Prasad Parajuli no longer remains in the post of Chief Justice as he has crossed the retirement age of 65 on August 5, 2017,” reads the letter. The JC in the letter thanked CJ Parajuli for the contributions he made to the judiciary.

SC Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana on Monday boycotted a full bench that was hearing the contempt of court case against Kantipur daily, stating that Chief Justice Parajuli had already crossed his retirement age. Expressing dissatisfaction over CJ Parajuli, eight more SC justices followed suit, boycotting the bench assigned by CJ Parajuli on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Senior advocates and legal experts had suggested Parajuli to detach himself from the judiciary. Apex court justices were of the view that Parajuli should pave the way to protect the dignity and prestige of judiciary.   

Kantipur daily had published a series of stories about the discrepancies in date of birth in Parajuli’s citizenship certificates. On the basis of those reports, CJ Parajuli reportedly brought a contempt of court case against the daily.

On February 25, CJ Parajuli issued an interim order, asking the Press Council Nepal to stop such news from getting published in the future. The move drew national and international condemnations, terming it an attempt to muzzle press freedom against the provisions of the constitution.

Time’s up

-    January 11: Two-judge bench of SC orders investigation into the authenticity of citizenship and educational certificates of CJ Parajuli   

-    Feb 20: Contempt of court case filed against Kantipur daily

-    Feb 25 : CJ Parajuli issues an interim order, asking the Press Council Nepal to censor news reports published by Kantipur daily that highlighted the discrepancies in his birth date he had mentioned in official

documents

-    March 6: The contempt of court case against Kantipur Publications referred to a five-member full bench

-    March 12: SC Justice Cholendra SJB Rana boycotts a full bench that was hearing the contempt of court case against Kantipur daily, stating Parajuli has already crossed his retirement age

-    March 14: Judicial Council terminates CJ Parajuli

Published: 15-03-2018 16:16

User's Feedback

Click here for your comments

Comment via Facebook

Don't have facebook account? Use this form to comment