KATHMANDU, Nov 28: Beginning the process to appoint the next chief justice, the Judicial Council (JC) secretariat has recommended seniormost justice Deepak Raj Joshee and justice Cholendra SJB Rana for the top post.
On the instruction of Chief Justice Om Prakash Mishra, who is the head of the JC, the JC secretariat forwarded the names to the Constitutional Council stating that the two justices have prerequisite three years of experiences as SC justice for appointment as chief justice.
"We forwarded two names, Joshee and Rana, and one of them will become the next chief justice," Nripa Dhwaj Niraula, secretary at the JC told Republica. According to him, the JC forwarded the names as the post of chief justice will fall vacant from December 31 when the current chief justice, Mishra, will retire on the ground of age, which is 65 years.
A source said the names were forwarded by the JC secretariat as per the instruction of Chief Justice Mishra as the JC could not hold a formal meeting in the absence of Minister for Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanubhakta Dhakal. Minister Dhakal had earlier announced that he would not participate in any meeting attended by Justice Joshee for the latter was rejected for chief justice by the parliamentary hearings committee on August 3. Joshee as the seniormost justice is a member of the JC.
A source said the JC could not meet due to the absence of law minister Bhanubhakta Dhakal, who had publicly announced that he would not not participate in any meeting attended by Justice Joshee as the latter was rejected by parliamentary hearings committee in August.
The constitution requires that the Constitutional Council (CC) take its decision to pick successor of the chief justice one month prior to the retirement of the incumbent chief justice. "The meeting of the Constitutional Council is expected to be held within a week and Rana's chances are high," the source claimed.
Article 284 (3) of the constitution states: "The Constitutional Council must make a recommendation for appointment under the Constitution before one month of the vacation of the office of the Chief Justice or a chief or official of a Constitutional body."
Joshee, who was rejected for chief justice in August, had resumed office after a month-long leave.
Chief Justice Mishra had not assigned any cases to Joshee for a few days after the latter resumed office, but later started assigning him cases arguing that the rejection was for the post of chief justice only and not for justice.
Joshee had resumed the office ignoring impeachment threats from the ruling NCP lawmakers, who had demanded his resignation on moral grounds.
The JC has not met since Joshee's return to work following his rejection by the parliamentary committee.