Expedite Appointment of Chief Justice

Published On: August 1, 2023 07:38 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Justice delayed is justice denied. This age-old adage holds true in every society, and Nepal is no exception. The recent confusion and delay surrounding the appointment of the Chief Justice in Nepal have raised serious concerns about the state of the judiciary and the functioning of the country's constitutional bodies. As a responsible and democratic government, it is imperative to ensure that the Chief Justice is appointed on time to uphold the principles of justice and the rule of law. The appointment of the Chief Justice is a critical process that should be carried out in a timely and efficient manner. It also paves the way for appointing other justices at the apex court, high courts, and district courts. According to Article 284 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Council should recommend the appointment of the Chief Justice one month before the retirement of the incumbent Chief Justice. But with just five days left for incumbent Chief Justice Hari Krishna Karki to retire, the government has shown no sign of making a new appointment anytime soon.

The absence of a Chief Justice leaves the judiciary in a state of uncertainty and hampers its ability to effectively discharge its duties. A strong and independent judiciary is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and any delay in appointing its leader undermines the trust of the people in the justice system. This situation also puts additional pressure on the other judges, who may have to shoulder the responsibilities of the Chief Justice temporarily, affecting their efficiency and causing a backlog of cases. Moreover, the delay in appointing the Chief Justice sends a negative signal about the government's commitment to upholding the rule of law. It raises questions about the government's understanding of the importance of timely appointments to vital constitutional positions. Such delays can be perceived as attempts to exert control over the judiciary and compromise its independence, a notion that should be unequivocally rejected in a democratic society. Furthermore, the impact of these delays extends beyond the judiciary. The legal system as a whole suffers from the lack of leadership, and citizens may lose faith in the effectiveness of the judiciary to protect their rights and dispense justice.

As the ruling parties have started holding discussions about the appointment of the new head of the judiciary, it is critical to ensure that the appointment process itself must also be conducted transparently and fairly. It is essential to uphold the principles of merit and seniority while selecting the Chief Justice and other judges. This will ensure that qualified and experienced individuals lead the judiciary, instilling confidence in the public and the legal community. As we move towards a more progressive and democratic society, it is crucial for the government to take prompt action in the appointment of the Chief Justice. Delays stemming from political wrangling or internal disputes within the Constitutional Council must be set aside in the interest of justice and the smooth functioning of the judiciary. In this regard, we commend the Nepal Bar Association for urging the government to prioritize the appointment of the Chief Justice. Their demand for the Constitutional Council to convene immediately and begin the process is both justifiable and in the best interest of the nation. As a newspaper, we call upon the government to heed this call and demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law and the principles of justice by expediting the appointment of the Chief Justice. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that justice is served in a timely and efficient manner. The government must act decisively to ensure that the post of Chief Justice is not left vacant even for a single day.

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