Nepal’s Chief Justice refuses to step down amidst allegations of colluding with government

Nepal Supreme Court Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana has refused to resign from his post amidst allegations that he helped his brother-in-law secure a berth in the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led Cabinet, triggering an unusual judicial crisis.

A section of the Supreme Court justices has demanded the Chief Justice’s resignation while some lawyers have decided to boycott the apex court.

During a meeting with 15 apex court justices on Tuesday, Mr. Rana said that he is not going to step down just because voices were raised in the streets and in the media for him to quit the top post.

"Mr. Rana told the justices that he would rather face the constitutional procedure but won't quit the post," Supreme Court spokesperson Baburam Dahal told PTI.

"I will not step down under any pressure but follow legal procedure if needed," Mr. Rana was quoted as saying by Mr. Dahal.

A section of lawyers has decided to boycott the Supreme Court while justices are busy holding meetings, affecting hearings, just as there are thousands of cases pending.

The Nepal Bar Association has also warned to stage nationwide protests if Mr. Rana did not resign voluntarily.

Supreme Court Spokesperson Mr. Dahal, however, said that some justices have started returning to their normal work from Wednesday.

According to the constitutional provision, 25% of the lawmakers in the House of Representatives can file an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice and it requires a two-third majority vote to endorse the impeachment motion leading to the removal of the Chief Justice.

Mr. Rana faces accusation of entering an implied quid- pro- quo deal with the executive by seeking to induct his brother-in-law in the Cabinet led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba as a reward for invalidating the move of former prime minister K P Sharma Oli's government to dissolve Parliament twice.

However, Mr. Rana has rejected the charges labelled against him by the Nepal Bar Association and some of the Supreme Court justices.

Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Gajendra Bahadur Hamal had tendered his resignation 48 hours after being appointed to the Cabinet led by Mr. Deuba on October 10, following media reports that he was appointed at the recommendation of the Chief Justice.

However, justices have demanded resignation of Mr. Rana, as removal of the minister on the issue was not sufficient as it would tarnish the image of the judiciary.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 4:08:51 PM |

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