157 lawmakers from UML, Maoist Center register impeachment motion
KATHMANDU, Oct 20: Chief Commissioner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Lokman Singh Karki has been suspended from his post as 157 lawmakers from the main opposition CPN-UML and major ruling party CPN (Maoist Center) registered an impeachment motion against him in parliament, Wednesday.
Out of the total of 157 lawmakers signing the list of those proposing impeachment against Karki, 107 are from CPN-UML and 50 from the ruling Maoist Center, CPN-UML Chief Whip Bhanubhakta Dhakal told Republica.
Following the registration of the impeachement motion, the parliament secretariat sent letters to the Office of the President, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Constitutional Council and the CIAA office on Wednesday night informing them about the development.
“The letter has informed the four top offices about the registration of the impeachment motion against Karki by over one-third of the total lawmakers,” said Babin Sharma, press advisor to Speaker Onsari Gharti.
According to him, the issue has already been included as one of the agenda items for Thursday’s House meeting. The parliament secretariat usually publishes the possible agenda items of the next day in advance.
Sharma said though there were discussions to prorogue the House session on Thursday, the idea has been dropped for now following the new development.
“With the registration of this motion, Karki will automatically be barred from working in his capacity as CIAA chief until the issue is duly resolved by parliament,” Dhakal said.
Lawmaker Mahendra Bahadur Shahi of the ruling Maoist Center had proposed the impeachment motion and UML’s Dhakal seconded it.
Top UML leaders including former prime ministers Jhalanath Khanal and Madhav Kumar Nepal and former speaker Subas Nembang are among those supporting the motion.
Minister for Energy Janardan Sharma of the Maoist Center, among a few other ministers, are among the Maoist lawmakers supporting the motion.
As per Article 101 (2) of the Constitution, one-fourth of the total number of the then members of the House of Representatives may move a motion of impeachment against the chief justice of Nepal or a justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the Judicial Council, or the chief or official of any constitutional body on the ground of his or her failure to fulfill the duties of his/her office, serious violation of the Constitution or laws, incompetence, misconduct, failure to honestly discharge the duties of the office, or serious violation of the code of conduct.
Article 101 (6) of the Constitution states that after commencement of impeachment proceedings under Clause (2), the chief justice, a justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the Judicial Council or the chief or official of a constitutional body against whom the impeachment proceedings have been initiated shall not be allowed to discharge the duties of his or her office, pending the conclusion of such proceedings.
--Article 101 (6) of the constitution
If the motion is passed by at least a two-thirds majority of the total number of the then members of the House of Representatives, the person concerned shall be relieved of his or her office.
Once the three major political parties -- Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) -- stand united in support of the motion, it can be endorsed by a two-thirds majority of the House.
Asked what triggered the lawmakers to register the motion, Dhakal said the latest activities by Karki’s side such as obstruction in serving Supreme Court notice added fuel to the fire.
Leaders involved in inter-party discussions expressed confidence that the largest party, NC, would support the motion.
“We had a sufficient number of lawmakers [from UML and Maoist Center] ready to register the motion. We need support from the NC to endorse it. I am optimistic they will do it,” said Dhakal.
Lawmakers said top leaders from the major political parties including Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli had held several meetings to discuss the matter earlier in the day.
There is a strong voice from some of the influential second-rung NC leaders to impeach Karki.
Lawmaker Radheshyam Adhikari of the same party, while addressing parliament on Tuesday, had fiercely criticized parliament for not taking any initiative on the public demand for action against the CIAA chief.
Immediately after registration of the motion, NC lawmaker Dhanraj Gurung wrote on Twitter, “UML and Maoist Center lawmakers have registered impeachment motion against Karki. Now all the big parties should stand together to endorse the motion.”
Writ petition questioning Karki’s eligibility for the post of CIAA chief is sub judice at the Supreme Court.