KATHMANDU, Dec 12: The Constitutional Council (CC) meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning for selecting new chief justice has been postponed for the fourth time.
Chairman of the National Assembly Ganesh Timalsina, who is also a member of the Council, told media persons that the CC meeting did not take place as the leader of the major opposition party Sher Bahadur Deuba remained absent. The meeting was called for 9 am at the Prime Minister’s Office in Singhadurbar. The meeting has been rescheduled for Thursday morning, according to Timalsina.
Speculations are rife in political circles that differences between the government and the main opposition Nepali Congress, which has been demanding major shares in various constitutional bodies, for the repeated postponement of the meeting.
Earlier, the Council meeting did not take place on Tuesday evening as both Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and the leader of the major opposition party Deuba remained absent.
The members of the Council were informed during the meeting that the next meeting would be held on December 20. However, the Prime Minister’s secretariat conveyed the CC remembers on late Tuesday that the meeting was pre-poned and would be held on Wednesday morning. This is the fourth time the meeting has been postponed.
Initially, the first meeting was scheduled for December 1 and second was scheduled for December 7 but both the meetings failed to pick the successor to Chief Justice Om Prakash Mishra, who is retiring on December 31 on age grounds.
The top constitutional appointing body is expected to pick new chief justice from among two candidates—seniormost justice Deepak Raj Joshee and justice Cholendra SJB Rana—whose names were already forwarded by the Judicial Council (JC) secretariat.
The council is headed by the Prime Minister Oli and its members include the main opposition leader, speaker of the lower house, chairman of the upper house, deputy speaker of the lower house and law minister as members.
The positions of heads and members of various constitutional bodies including Madheshi, Tharu and Inclusive Commissions remain vacant for a long time although the laws related to govern the commissions have already been promulgated. Sources claimed that Rana's chances are high because Joshee was already rejected as chief justice by the parliamentary hearings committee on August 3.