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NBA asks Judicial Council to halt process

  Says JC should wait for the Supreme Court decision on a case that is pending


KATHMANDU: Nepal Bar Association (NBA) today urged the Judicial Council (JC) to stop its ongoing judges’ appointment process in the Supreme Court citing unconstitutionality of the appointment.

Stating that appointing judges without settling a case pending in the Supreme Court — that challenges the presidential order to pave the way for the appointment process— would make the process controversial, the representatives of the lawyers’ umbrella organisation asked the JC to halt the process.

“We have asked that the judges’ appointment body show respect to a decision of the judiciary by halting the process because the apex court has not yet decided on the presidential order removing constitutional difficulties in the process of appointment,” Sunil Pokhrel, Secretary General, Nepal Bar Association, told The Himalayan Times.

The NBA demand is significant at a time when the appointing body is making final preparations to appoint judges as the JC is meeting tomorrow to discuss this agenda.

The March 13 presidential order had paved the way for appointment of judges without parliamentary hearing on the condition that the appointments had to be endorsed by a future parliament, Article 155 of the Interim Constitution notwithstanding. The said Article requires prior parliamentary hearing for such key appointments, including in constitutional bodies.

According to Pokhrel, NBA urged the SC to decide on the case filed by Hindu Activist Bharat Jangum and advocate Om Prakash Aryal that challenged the presidential order and the appointment of Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi to the post of Chairman of the Interim Election Council before going ahead with the process of appointing judges.

Following the order, Sharma has been working as Acting Chief Justice and Justice Ram Kumar Prasad Shah as senior justice of the Supreme Court to lead the judges’ selection body.

“Many serious issues were raised and they might be considered,” Tikaram Bhattarai, Vice President of NBA said. According to him, the NBA has asked the JC to stop the appointment process in the district court as it would not be appropriate to bypass the lawyers’ opportunity to hold judgeship in district courts.

Acting CJ Sharma, Justice Shah, members Khem Narayan Dhungana and Upendra Keshari Neupane represented the JC while NBA President Harikrishna Karki, Vice President Bhattarai, Secretary General Sunil Pokhrel, and Treasurer Mohan Ingnam represented the NBA during discussion.

“We urged NBA to rethink as this may infringe the right to justice,” Dhungana said. According to him, there are still chances to move ahead with the appointment after finding an amicable solution because it would be injustice to the common people to further delay the appointment of judges.

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