Ruling MPs threaten to impeach Joshee

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 3, 2018-Lawmakers from the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) are mulling over impeaching Acting Chief Justice Deepak Raj Joshee if the Parliamentary Hearing Committee (PHC) is obstructed from deciding his fate.

The move comes in the backdrop of the committee remaining indecisive for more than a week after hearingCJ nominee Joshee whether he is fit for the top judiciary position.

The meeting of the panel has been postponed five times in search for a consensus decision. NCP lawmakers have accused the opposition Nepali Congress of obstructing the verdict of a two-thirds majority of the committee.

“The Nepali Congress has been refusing to enter into the process. If the committee is not allowed to discuss [the issue] even on Friday, our party should initiate a motion to impeach Joshee,” said NCP lawmaker Suman Pyakurel, a member of the PHC. He objected to the warning by NC panellists of boycotting the meeting unless NCP lawmakers committed to endorsing Joshee’s nomination. “We are not in a position to backtrack on our decision,” he said.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has voiced displeasure at the PHC’s delay in deciding Joshee’s fate. Addressing a programme in the Capital on Thursday, Oli said the opposition party had been obstructing the business of the hearing panel. “The hearing committee has the right to question, discuss and take necessary decision but the process has been obstructed,” he remarked.

Oli has been consulting with lawmakers individually and in groups on Joshee’s prospects. He is said to have made up his mind not to endorse Joshee’s nomination after coming to know about Joshee’s activities and character.

The PM is learnt to have advised lawmakers to reach a “constructive” decision based on their reading of Joshee. After knowing about the ruling coalition’s position, the NC has warned PHC convener Laxman Lal Karna that its representatives would boycott the meeting if the committee was to reject Joshee.

Article 101 (2) of the constitution says: one fourth of the total number of sitting members of the House of Representatives may move a motion of impeachment against the chief justice or a judge of the Supreme Court, member of the Judicial Council, chief or official of a constitutional body on the ground of his or her failure to fulfil his or her duties of office because of serious violation of the constitution and law, incompetence or misconduct or failure to discharge the duties of office honestly or serious violation of the code of conduct.

After commencement of the impeachment proceedings, the person in question shall not be allowed to discharge the duties of his or her office pending the settlement of such proceedings, reads Article 101 (6).

If an impeachment motion was registered in Parliament, Joshee would be suspended immediately. The House forms an 11-member probe committee to suggest on the motion. If the motion is endorsed, the person will be ineligible for any public position.

Earlier, lawmakers of the erstwhile CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre) had registered an impeachment motion against then chief of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority Lokman Singh Karki but he was ousted by a court order before the motion was endorsed. Later, a similar motion was registered against then-chief justice Sushila Karki by Nepali Congress lawmakers but it was revoked by the Supreme Court.

Published: 03-08-2018 07:28

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