KATHMANDU, June 6: The government has registered a bill at the Parliament Secretariat to replace the existing 16 appellate courts with seven high courts, in accordance with provisions of the new Constitution.
The Bill to Amend and Integrate Acts Related to the Judicial Administration proposes to transform seven of the 16 existing appellate courts into high courts. As per this provision, there will be one high court in each of the seven federal provinces, while the remaining nine appellate courts will be converted into benches of the high courts of the provinces concerned.
After endorsement of the bill by Parliament, the government will select one appellate court from each province, on the basis of the recommendation the Supreme Court, to upgrade it into a high court.
The government’s move comes as an initiative toward implementing the constitutional provisions relating to federating the country into seven provinces.
The new Constitution has made it mandatory to replace the appellate courts structure within one year of commencement of the new Constitution, which was promulgated on September 20. Article 300 (3) of the new Constitution provisions that the enactment of federal laws, establishment of the high courts and dissolution of the existing appellate courts must all be done within a year of commencement of the new Constitution.
The bill proposes setting up the high courts at the to-be-announced capitals of the respective provinces. If the appellate court upgraded into a high court is situated in a location different than the to-be-announced capital, the court will be shifted to the capital. The government is yet to announce the capitals of the seven provinces.
The bill proposes that the total number of posts of judges at all the seven high courts should not exceed 160, and one high court should have at least 11 judges including the chief judge.
As per the provision, there shall be two extended benches each in provinces number one and five one such bench in each of the other five provinces.
Of the existing appellate courts, six are in province one and five [three in each], while the other 10 appellate courts are in the other provinces [two in each].