Divided panel fails to endorse CJ pick

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jul 31, 2018-The Parliamentary Hearing Committee remained undecided on Monday as well owing to differences between the ruling and opposition parties whether to endorse the nomination of Acting Chief Justice Deepak Raj Joshee as the head of judiciary.

The ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) is against endorsing Joshee’s recommendation citing his dubious academic certificates and controversial rulings. The opposition, however, wants him to be the chief justice.

The divide prompted committee coordinator Laxman Lal Karna to postpone the meeting for the third time. The joint panel of federal parliament will next meet on Wednesday to decide Joshee’s fate either in consensus or through a vote.

The committee grilled Joshee on Thursday, asking him to clarify on several charges levelled against him. The Constitutional Council led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on June 12 nominated Joshee for the top judiciary post. A meeting scheduled for Friday to decide on his nomination was postponed till Sunday. Differences among the panellists had pushed the meet further to Monday.

“The meeting was postponed till Wednesday as Nepali Congress lawmakers sought a few days’ time to reach a decision,” said Suman Pyakurel, an NCP representative on the committee.

The nomination can be rejected by a two-thirds majority of the panel.

In 15-member committee, nine MPs are from the NCP, four from the NC, and one each from the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal and the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal. As the coalition partner, the NCP counts in the SSF-N’s support to stand against Joshee if there is a vote to decide his fate.

“We will hold consultations before taking a decision on Wednesday,” said Pushpa Bhusal, a Congress member in the panel.

Committee members have held consultations with PM Oli and NCP Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal on the issue. Both the leaders are said to have asked them to use their conscience while using the parliamentary committee’s authority. They also consulted with lawyers close to the communist party. Their message was that there was enough ground for rejecting Joshee’s candidacy.

While Joshee’s academic certificates are dubious, hearing panel members are said to have been offended by his attitude while answering their queries. Panellists had quizzed him on multiple issues for two-and-a-half hours but Joshee took hardly 15 minutes to respond.

The ruling party believes that the judiciary is making unwarranted interventions in various decisions of the government. It is particularly unhappy with the SC’s decision to reinstate officials appointed by the NC-led government, after their service was terminated by the leftist government.

Published: 31-07-2018 07:27

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