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Nepal CJ refuses to quit: No end in sight to judiciary deadlock


Khalid Umar Malik
19 Jan 2022

KATHMANDU, Nepal - The judiciary remains paralyzed, although dissenting Supreme Court justices began considering cases after the lottery-based cause list was released on December 1.

As a result, the Constitutional Council, which is in charge of making appointments to constitutional bodies, the Judicial Council, which makes appointments to courts other than the Supreme Court, and the Judicial Service Commission, responsible for issuing appointment letters to judicial service employees and transferring gazetted officers, have been unable to meet.

Due to a shortage of judges, even the Special Court has been unable to handle cases in full swing.

In October, the judiciary's functioning was hampered when dissident judges began boycotting benches, accusing Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana of pressuring the administration to get his brother-in-law appointed to the Cabinet. The Nepal Bar Association and the Supreme Court Bar Association also began protesting Rana for attempting a "quid pro quo arrangement" with the executive, and their protest is still ongoing. In the light of the scandal, bar organizations have demanded that CJ Rana resign.

Dissident justices have warned against sitting on the same bench as Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana, whether in the division bench, full bench, or constitutional bench. Since the start of the protests in the judiciary, the Supreme Court has been unable to convene a constitutional bench to address constitutional questions, particularly those involving several levels of government.

The NBA and the SCBA, which have accused Rana of corruption and impeding much-needed judicial reform, have also cautioned him not to attend any constitutional body meeting in which he is scheduled to sit as an ex officio member, including the Constitutional Council.

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