KATHMANDU, June 6: As some lawyers submitted a petition at the Constitutional Bench on Sunday afternoon raising questions over 11 out of 21 justices at the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana asked them to withdraw the petition or face a contempt of court charge.
As soon as the reconstituted Constitutional Bench began hearing the writ petitions demanding the reinstatement of the House of Representatives (HoR), which was dissolved on May 22, advocates including Raja Ram Ghimire and Gyanmani Nepal tabled the petition seeking a review on the new Bench headed by CJ Rana.
According to them, 11 justices including Anand Mohan Bhattarai, who is a member of the bench, should not bench the hearing on the writ petitions associated with the House dissolution case.
The new Constitutional Bench consists of justices Dipak Kumar Karki, Dr Anand Mohan Bhattarai, Mira Dhungana, Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada and the chief justice himself.
After lawyers raised questions over the justices, CJ Rana asked them to have trust in the bench. He was of the view that none of the justices can bench the hearing if such a series of questions continues. “I ask you either to withdraw the petition or face a contempt of court charge,” CJ Rana warned.
The hearing, which began on May 28, was, however, impacted due to a dispute over the composition of the bench. Chief Justice Rana had picked justices Dipak Kumar Karki, Dr Aanand Mohan Bhattarai, Tej Bahadur KC and Bam Kumar Shrestha for the bench to hear more than two dozen petitions registered against the ‘unconstitutional’ dissolution.
A controversy erupted after a lawyer of Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba raised questions over two justices picked as members of the Constitutional Bench in view of their previous decisions on the case of reviewing the CPN unity and registration.
The hearing over the petitions resumed on Sunday. The petitioners demanded an interim order to restore the House that was dissolved by President Bidya Devi Bhandari on May 22 at the recommendation of the Council of Ministers.