June 20, 2017 12:00 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, June 20: The Constitutional Council (CC) failed to pick a new chief justice for the country after main opposition party CPN-UML Chairman K P Oli demanded time for studying the backgrounds of the six individuals recommended for the post.
According to sources, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has proposed as new chief justice (CJ) Gopal Parajuli, the seniormost among six justices who is also acting chief justice at the Supreme Court . “But main opposition leader Oli demanded time to study the backgrounds of the six individuals recommended by the Judicial Council (JC) before appointing anyone,” said a member of the council requesting anonymity. The member informed that other members of the CC also seconded Oli's proposal, even though Prime Minister Deuba insisted on appointing Parajuli.
According to sources, UML Chairman Oli was positive toward the appointment of Parajuli as new CJ but he wanted the appointment to be made only after the second phase polls. The meeting was then put off till June 29, a day after the local polls in three of the provinces.
Deputy Speaker Ganga Prasad Yadav informed journalists while emerging from the meeting that they discussed the nominees but failed to pick anyone for the post.
Parajuli had caused controversy after his date of birth as record at the JC was found to be different from the date in his citizenship card. The JC settled the dispute last week before including him in the roster of nominees for the post of CJ.
The president will administer oath of office to the new CJ after the Parliamentary Hearings Special Committee endorses the appointment by the CC.
The JC recommended six names for the post including acting CJ Parajuli and justices Deepak Raj Joshi, Om Prakash Mishra, Devendra Gopal Shrestha, Jagdish Sharma Paudel and Cholendra S J B Rana. The CC appoints the new chief justice from the roster of justices eligible for the position prepared by the JC.
After Sushila Karki retired from her post on June 6 due to age bar, the head of the apex court has remained vacant.
According to the constitutional provision, the prime minister is the chairperson of the JC and the chief justice, the speaker, the leader of the main opposition party, the chairperson of the national assembly and the deputy speaker are members. But acting CJ Parajuli didn't appear at the meeting on Monday as his name is among those proposed for new CJ.
Although outgoing chief justice Sushila Karki had also recommended six names for appointment as the new CJ before her retirement, the CC didn't discuss her recommendations, according to Speaker Onsari Gharti .