September 12, 2016 12:20 AM NPT
By: Ashok Dahal
KATHMANDU, Sep 12: Parliament on Sunday endorsed three inter-related bills, paving the way for establishing seven high courts as part of the implementation of the new Constitution.
The House meeting unanimously endorsed the Judicial Administration, Judicial Council and Judicial Service Commission bills, which have inter-related provisions regarding establishment of the high courts, appointment of judges and provisioning the manpower for such courts.
With just a week left before the constitutional deadline, the bills will come into effect after endorsement by the president.
The new Constitution has made it mandatory to replace the appellate courts within one year of commencement of the new Constitution, which was promulgated on September 20. Article 300 (3) of the Constitution provisions that enactment of the federal laws, establishment of the high courts and dissolution of the existing appellate courts must all be done within a year of its commencement.
The Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs had registered the bills at the parliament secretariat in June, proposing to replace the existing 16 appellate courts with seven high courts.
The Judicial Administration Bill has proposed transforming one appellate court in each of the seven federal provinces into high courts and converting the nine remaining appellate courts into benches of the high courts in the provinces concerned.
The Judicial Council* will recommend one appellate court in each province for conversion into a high court as per the provisions of the just endorsed bill. All the seven provinces have more than one appellate court. Three each of the existing appellate courts are in provinces 1 and 5, while two each are in the other five provinces.
The bill proposes that the total number of judges at all the seven high courts should not exceed 160, and one high court should have at least 11 judges, including a chief judge.
Though the bill proposes setting up the high courts in the capitals of the respective provinces, it also has an interim provision for locating such courts in the national capital if they are now in a different location than the to-be-announced provincial capitals.
The government is yet to announce the capitals of the seven provinces.
Similarly, the Judicial Service Commission bill proposes appointing the district judges through open competition examinations.