Stalemate over CJ continues

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 2, 2018-The Parliamentary Hearing Committee (PHC) on Wednesday failed to endorse Acting Chief Justice Deepak Raj Joshee as the ruling and opposition parties remained sharply divided.

The attendees postponed the PHC meeting for the fourth time on Wednesday as the opposition Nepali Congress threatened to boycott the hearing if the panel rejects Joshee’s recommendation.

The next meeting is on Friday, which, according to committee members, would take a decision either on consensus or through voting.

The ruling parties--Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal--who command two-third majority in the committee, reject Joshee’s recommendation. The NC is against the move.

The ruling parties are against endorsing Joshee’s recommendation citing his dubious academic certificates, controversial rulings and obstinate behaviour. They claim the hearing would be a mere ritual if his recommendation is endorsed. There is much evidence that he is unfit to lead the judiciary. There are allegations that Joshee’s certificates are fudged.

The NCP lawmakers are miffed with Joshee’s attitude during the hearing process on July 28. They claim it was like, “a general briefing his personnel”. Cross party lawmakers had quizzed him on multiple issues for around two and a half hours, which Joshee took hardly 15 minutes to answer.

PHSC members from both the ruling and opposition parties say they will try to find a solution in the next two days.

“The NC sought more time to consult with its top leaders and we agreed on it. We cannot afford to delay beyond Friday,” said NCP lawmaker Yogesh Bhattarai. The NCP is for the parliamentary process (voting) if they fail to forge consensus.

The PHC on July 28 conducted the hearing of Joshee who was recommended for the CJ position by the Constitutional Council led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on June 12. The two-thirds majority of the committee can reject the recommendation. The 15-member panel includes nine lawmakers from the NCP, four from the NC and one each from the SSF-N and the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal.

“Why was Joshee recommended for the CJ by Constitutional Council if he was not suitable?” asked NC lawmaker Gyanendra Bahadur Karki. “The NCP through PHC is trying to attack in judiciary which is not acceptable.” He, however, said there would be dialogue between top leadership from both the parties.

With the dilly-dallying on this issue, Joshee has started lobbying with top political leaders with such alacrity not shown in his official work. He has approached PM Oli too, however, the NCP is determined not to endorse him. The Supreme Court’s Senior Justice Om Prakash Mishra has good prospects if the panel dumps Joshee.

Published: 02-08-2018 07:31

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