KATHMANDU, March 15: Taking strong exception to the letter from the Judicial Council (JC) secretary relieving Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli of his post, the main opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) has termed the decision “unauthorized” and “politically motivated”.
NC senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel argued that the decision taken by the JC secretary is not authorized in the first place. “This is a foolhardy decision. If the JC is supposed to take that important decision, it is not just the secretary of the body who should have done so,” he said.
Citing particulars from Parajuli's citizenship certificate and academic credentials and the details received from the Office of the Controller of Examinations at Sanothimi, JC Secretary Nripa Dhwaj Niraula had carbon copied a letter to various offices and to Parajuli himself, claiming that Chief Justice Parajuli was already 65 years of age on August 5, 2017. The chief justice and other justices take mandatory retirement when they reach the age of 65, as per the constitution.
NC has also called into question the intentions of Secretary Niraula in writing such a letter at a time when the chief justice was set to retire shortly in any case. “Of course, there are disputes about which date of birth for Parajuli is genuine. But this is something to be decided by judicial bodies [i.e. the courts]. Why did the JC not decide last year itself when he needed to retire ?” Paudel asked. “On this ground also the date cited by the JC secretary does not have validity .”
NC has also termed the move of the JC as purely politically motivated and an attempt to put the judiciary under the shadow of the executive branch. An informal meeting of NC senior leaders present in the capital on Wednesday had termed the decision "unauthorized” and “politically motivated” and decided to robustly oppose the move.
The meeting, according to party leaders, concluded that the decision of Justice Cholendra SJB Rana to boycott a full bench the other day and several others justices joining in the following day could not be mere coincidence, but was a “conspiracy” of the executive to control the judiciary. “The decision has been taken after looking at the current political climate. The JC secretary should be held responsible for this unauthorized and “politically motivated decision,” said another senior NC leader, asking not to be named.