The turmoil in the Nepal Supreme Court has continued for another day as Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana has refused to tender his resignation. He has been accused of making deals with politicians.
Supreme Court justices, former justices, and lawyers from Nepal Bar Association and Supreme Court Bar Association are demanding the resignation of the Chief Justice.
Over 15 out of the 20 judges met CJ Rana asking him to step down from the position to save the dignity and credibility of the judiciary. The supporters also include four retired Chief Justices of Nepal – Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Anup Raj Sharma, Kalyan Shrestha and Sushila Karki.
“Won’t Resign Just Because The Crowd Demands”: CJ Rana Refused To Resign
“I will not quit because of such pressure, but will face an impeachment should parliamentarians want it,” said Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana while refusing to resign.
“Some of your verdicts have brought the judiciary to disrepute and you must step aside for that,” said one of the 15 judges.
“In that case, let us have all controversial verdicts by all judges reviewed and let others also quit,” remarked CJ Rana.
CJ Rana has been accused of settling deals with politicians while seeking ministerial berth for his brother-in-law, Gajendra Hamal.
On October 8, Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba expanded his Council of Ministers to its full strength of 25. Among the 18 new inductions, Hamal was allotted the Ministry of Industries, Commerce, and Civil Supplies. The fact that Hamal was not an MP, raised everyone’s eyebrows. However, Hamal resigned voluntarily three days later after the controversy erupted.
The Rana-led bench had ordered to appoint Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba as Prime Minister. It was considered an unprecedented move, as nowhere in a democracy does a Supreme Court appoint the executive head.
He had also been criticised for the verdict in Ranjan Koirala vs. Government of Nepal (Murder of Mrs. Geeta Dhakal).
Ranjan Koirala was awarded lifetime imprisonment with full forfeiture of all the assets as per the order of Appellate Court Patan and District Court of Kathmandu in 2012.
The sentence was slashed, by the joint bench of Justice Tej Bahadur KC and Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana, to eight and a half years with release of all the properties seized. The verdict was announced using an unprecedented and esoteric clause of discretion given to Justices by the Section 188 of the Muluki Ain. It was for the very first time that Supreme Court had used this clause to exonerate a murder convict sentence.