KATHMANDU, Jan 17: The government recently decided to provide 50 percent of their salaries as 'motivation allowance' to the justices of the Supreme Court (SC) if they work two hours extra daily.
As per a decision of the Council of Ministers on December 28, 2017, the government has already corresponded to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the SC for providing such allowances to the justices. Chief Secretary of the government, Lokdarshan Regmi has stated in a letter sent to the law secretary that the decision has already been made and the SC justices will be provided the allowance effective from November 17.
Supreme Court employees, however, claimed that it is “illogical” to provide motivation allowance to the justices. “On the one hand, it would be wrong to demand motivation allowance by individuals holding a dignified position of SC justice,” an official affiliated to SC trade union said, adding, “On the other hand, they haven't been able to change their work performance.”
In the past, SC judges would attend the court at 11 am and go to the courtroom at 11.30 am and after an hour's gap, they would go for lunch at 1.30 pm. After lunch, they would hear cases for an hour. Thus, in total, they would work for two and a half hours a day.
Earlier, in a proposal, the apex court had asked the government to allocate Rs 7,750,000 annually for the allowances to the justices for their additional work. As per Rule 3(4) of the Supreme Court Rules, 2017, the Chief Justice has the power to assign justices for additional hours.
The apex court had forwarded its proposal to the government in September last year anticipating that the justices could decide 5,760 additional cases in extra the hours annually.
Legal practitioners have claimed that it would be immoral for the SC justices to demand additional allowance. “The position of an SC justice is not like a normal jobholder's position to demand allowance for working over time,” advocate Tikaram Bhattarai, who is also a former vice-president of Nepal Bar Association, told Republica. “The judges should realize that they hold dignified positions. They should not forget that they work for the nation. Otherwise, we cannot bring about reforms in the judiciary.”
Senior advocate Yadunath Khanak, who is also a former chairman of the Democratic Lawyers Association, however, claimed that shouldn't be a problem for others if the government gives allowance to the SC judges for working overtime. “However, it's true that the justices have not changed their working style. So, the justices should rethink their performance,” Khanal added.