KATHMANDU, Aug 2: A week after concluding hearings for chief justice nominee Deepak Raj Joshee, the Parliamentary Hearings Committee (PHC) remains undecided as the ruling and opposition parties are divided whether to endorse or reject the nomination.
The hearings committee deferred its meeting, scheduled on Wednesday, for the fourth consecutive time without taking any decision after the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) threatened to boycott the committee. The opposition has stood firm against a proposal from the ruling parties to reject Joshee's nomination as new chief justice on grounds of an unsatisfactory record of performance.
The next meeting of the hearings committee has been scheduled for Friday, at 10 am at Singha Durbar. “We insisted on a decision on Wednesday itself. But after NC members of the committee threatened to boycott the meeting if Joshee's nomination was rejected without proper consultations with them, we were compelled to postpone the hearings committee meeting till Friday,” said Purna Kumari Subedi, an NCP member on the committee.
NC member Bhimsen Das Pradhan said that the decision was postponed after both the ruling and opposition sides realized that the committee needed to take a decision unanimously.
“We are for a consensus decision and both sides have been trying for that. Let's hope Friday's meeting will yield the result,” Pradhan said while emerging from the meeting.
Ruling party lawmakers have accused the NC of trying to prolong the entire process for unnecessary maneuverings. If the hearings committee fails to endorse any nomination within 45 days after receiving the nomination letter from the Constitutional Council, it will pave the way for the president to appoint the nominee to the designated post.
Ruling and opposition party members of the committee held hours-long informal negotiations, delaying the scheduled meeting. “The committee is trying to reach a decision through consensus. We deferred the meeting for the next two days after committee members sought time for consensus either on decision or on process,” said the ad-hoc chairperson of the committee.
The previous meeting of the committee on Sunday was put off after the NC sought time to consult the party over NCP's proposal to reject Joshee. “We are still trying to reach a consensus. The next meeting of the committee will be decisive and will not be postponed,” said NCP lawmaker Yogesh Bhattarai.
Both NCP and NC leaders had consulted party leaders prior to the committee meeting .
The committee held hearings last Thursday and its meeting was put off for Friday . After ruling party lawmakers sought time for looking into suspicious academic certificates, two consecutive meetings were adjourned without any decision.