SC puts off hearings in Karki case for last time

Published On: December 2, 2016 03:00 AM NPT By: Nabin Khatiwada

Next hearing set for Dec 22

KATHMANDU, Dec 2: The Supreme Court could not conduct scheduled hearings on Thursday on a writ petition against the appointment of Lokman Singh Karki as chief commissioner of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), as Karki's lawyer Bal Krishna Neupane requested a postponement on health grounds.

Karki himself is frequently alleged to have avoided court staff dispatched to serve court notices related to the case. 

Karki's lawyer on Thursday requested a postponement of the hearings as the law allows a party to a case to seek suich postponement at least two times.

Though the court accepted Neupane's request Thursday and postponed the hearings, it has ruled that no party to the case can postpone hearings any further.

A full bench of Justices Jagadish Sharma Paudel, Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada and Dr Ananda Mohan Bhattarai on Thursday also set the date of December 22 for the next hearing of the petition.

"Generally, it is not appropriate to postpone hearings in cases before a full bench. Likewise, it is also not appropriate to keep a case unsettled when a number of advocates have been scheduled to present their arguments  and the case itself relates to a dispute regarding the appointment of officials to a constitutional body," the court ruling stated.

The Supreme Court had on September 17 decided to revisit its previous verdict on a writ petition challenging Karki's appointment as  chief of the CIAA. 

The court had reopened the case, stating that the previous verdict ignored Article 119 (5) of the Interim Constitution. Article 119(5) had a provision for appointing as chief commissioner of the CIAA a person with at least 20 years of experience in the field of either accounting, revenue, engineering, law, development or research and is also a distinguished person.  

Besides the case questioning his eligibility for the post, there are four other cases against Karki, including a couple of contempt of court cases, that are sub judice at the apex court.

After Karki's case was reopened, the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of General Administration at first said that the files related to his appointment and the action taken against him could not be found as the earthquake had broiught their office buildings down. But the files were later produced.

Even Kathmandu Metropolitan City and court staff could not be contacted on the day the court orders were to be served on Karki.

Advocate Om Prakash Aryal had filed two writ petitions in May, 2014 -- one demanding a court order to stop the government from appointing Karki as CIAA chief, and a subsequent writ demanding annulment of the appointment decision. 

The division bench of Justices Gopal Parajuli and Om Prakash Mishra had quashed both the writ petitions on September 24, 2014. Advocate Aryal then filed a review petition, to which the apex court gave its nod in September.. 

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