Impeachment motion was filed against me after I fixed the verdict date in Lalita Niwas land grab scam: Suspended CJ Rana

Published On: September 1, 2022 02:04 PM NPT By: Ishwari Subedi

KATHMANDU, Sept 1:  Suspended Chief Justice (CJ) Cholendra SJB Rana has claimed that an impeachment motion was registered against him in parliament after he set the verdict date in the Lalita Niwas land grab scam in which former prime ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal and Dr Baburam Bhattarai, too, are embroiled.

Giving his statement to the Impeachment Recommendation Committee of the House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon, suspended CJ Rana stated that the ruling parties had decided on the impeachment strategy after he set the date for the final verdict in the Lalita Niwas case on November 1, 2021.

Rana refuted all the allegations made against him in the Impeachment Recommendation Committee of the House of Representatives. As called by the committee, Rana, who was present at the Parliament Secretariat Singhadurbar at 11 AM on Wednesday, recorded his statement from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

There was a demand from different quarters that the prime ministers involved in the scam should also be prosecuted. A total of 175 individuals were accused of illegally registering more than 299 ropanis of government and guthi (trust) land of Lalita Niwas in Baluwatar in the names of various individuals through the abuse of  authority or the concocting of fictitious land tenants.

This is the first time in the history of Nepal that a Chief Justice has been grilled in connection with an impeachment motion. CJ Rana answered only four of the 43 questions asked to him by the Impeachment Recommendation Committee on Wednesday. He will answer the remaining questions on Thursday.

He not only defended the charges leveled against him, but on the contrary, also blamed the leaders of the political parties, the Nepal Bar Association and the officials of the Supreme Court Bar Association. Before the Impeachment Recommendation Committee asked him the questions, Rana made serious allegations against the Supreme Court justices and bar officials from the ruling coalition.

CJ Rana also linked the impeachment motion against him to the restoration of the House of Representatives (HoR) and the formation of a new government. He said that it is considered that he made a big mistake by restoring the HoR. He commented that it was well planned to file an impeachment motion against only him out of the five justices involved in issuing the verdict to reinstate the dissolved House of Representatives.

He asked about the propriety of the impeachment motion saying “what I did before the decision on the restoration of the HoR and what I did after the restoration.” But he also said that the government gave medals to other justices who had decided to restore the HoR, besides him.

CJ Rana claimed that if the decision to reinstate the dissolved HoR was wrong, all five justices who issued the verdict were wrong and that leadership is not everything and if they are punished, it is only right that all should be punished. Deepak Kumar Karki, Meera Khadka, Ananda Mohan Bhattarai and Ishwar Khatiwada were in the bench that delivered the verdict. Rana claimed that he was impeached to make Karki the Chief Justice.

He alleged that the officials of Nepal Bar Association and Supreme Court Bar Association are also seeking a stake in the judiciary. He said that they had bargained over the appointment of justices but after he did not accept their demand, the justices even went on a strike against him. Rana has also claimed that the impeachment motion filed against him in parliament had already become inactive. Rana claimed that parliament had failed to abide by the constitution and parliamentary regulations in the impeachment motion filed against him. “This motion has already become inactive,” he claimed.

He was asked two personal and two functional questions. In the functional question, "the charge of impeachment against you is that the present Chief Justice is incapable of building democracy and human rights, people's justice, rule of law, constitutional supremacy and an independent, competent, fair and responsible judiciary. What is your opinion?"

Another question was- "There is an allegation that within the judiciary, including the Supreme Court, there is a lot of distortion and inconsistency during your tenure, corruption, and middlemen gained access and are increasing their influence. What is your opinion on this?" 


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