Was not eligible for CIAA chief: Petitioner's lawyers
KATHMANDU, Dec 23: The Supreme Court on Thursday began final hearings in the writ petitions challenging the appointment of Lokman Singh Karki as chief of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) and six other cases cncerning him.
During the hearings, lawyers for the plaintiff argued that Karki's appointment as CIAA chief was unconstitutional as he lacked the qualifications mentioned in the Interim Constitution, which was then in force. |
"Karki is ineligible for CIAA chief. Karki, who was in the Royal Palace Service in the initial days of his career, didn't have 20 years of experience in the field of accounting, revenue, engineering, law, development or research. Under Article 119 (5) of the Interim
Constitution, he was unqualified to be CIAA chief," argued Advocate Ramesh Badal.
Article 119 (5) of the Interim Constitution has a provision for appointing as chief commissioner of the CIAA a person who has at least 20 years of experience in accounting, revenue, engineering, law, development or research and is also a distinguished individual.
Advocate Om Aryal, the writ petitioner, said that he had filed a review petition at the apex court as an earlier ruling of the court on his petition against Karki ignored the constitutional aspect and didn't enter into the issues raised.
Senior Advocate Sambhu Thapa argued that Karki was termed guilty by a commission formed by the government to probe misuse of power during Jana Andolan II (Mass Movement of 2006) and that his very background shows that he lacks the high ethical standing for holding the CIAA post.
"The provisions in the then constitution clearly demand high ethical standards for becoming CIAA chief. How could a person involved in various scandals and in suppressing the Mass Movement be called a person of high ethical standards?" argued Thapa.
Advocates Surendra Bhandari, Tikaram Pradhan, Gobinda Sharma Bandi, Chandra Kanta Gyawali, Rabi Narayan Khanal, Sunil Pokharel, Bijaya Mishra and Gyanendra Aran also advanced similar arguments and raised serious questions about Karki's eligibility for becoming CIAA chief.
However, Joint Attorney General Kiran Paudel, who was at the hearings to defend the appointment made by the president, argued that Karki's appointment was effected through the removal of constitutional hurdles in the special situation obtaining in the country and the writ petition should not have been entertained by the court.
The Supreme Court on September 17 decided to revisit its previous ruling on the writ petition challenging Karki's appointment as CIAA chief.
Advocate Om Prakash Aryal had filed two writ petitions in May, 2014 -- one demanding a court order to stop the government from appointing Karki as CIAA chief, and a subsequent one demanding annulment of the appointment decision.
The division bench of Justices Gopal Parajuli and Om Prakash Mishra had quashed both the writ petitions on September 24, 2014. Advocate Aryal then filed a review petition, to which the apex court gave its nod.
An impeachment motion against Karki has been registered in Parliament by lawmakers of the CPN-UML and some lawmakers of CPN (Maoist Center). However, Parliament is yet to discuss the impeachment motion. Following the registration of the impeachment motion on October 29, Karki has been suspended from his position.