PHSC may endorse Joshee for CJ today

Published On: July 27, 2018 07:23 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 27: Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee (PHSC) is likely to endorse acting chief justice Deepak Raj Joshee as chief justice of the Supreme Court on Friday.

The PHSC that conducted Joshee’s hearings on Thursday decided to hold further discussions on the same matter on Friday. On Thursday nominee for chief justice Joshee presented his plans to run the apex court during his tenure. 

Following his presentation, lawmakers asked him several questions.

“The committee will take final decision tomorrow (Friday) as we were short of time for further discussions today,” Laxman Lal Karna, who is heading the committee as senior-most member on the basis of age, told Republica.

According to lawmakers from the ruling party, Joshee is likely to be endorsed even though they weren’t much impressed with his presentation.

Ruling members of the PHSC have decided to consult their party brass prior to taking a decision from the committee, said a Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker. “His endorsement is highly likely but his response to our queries was not impressive.  The committee may summon him one more time for further clarifications,” said the leader requesting not to be named.

The Constitutional Council recommended Joshee for chief justice earlier this month. 

The hearings committee can reject any candidate recommended by the council with two-thirds majority of the committee. The ruling parties -- NCP and Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) -- have two-thirds lawmakers in the 15-member committee. 

Joshee had avoided answering  some queries about his alleged collusion with a middle-man and his involvement in some controversial decisions. Lawmakers had grilled him about his academic certificate, his commitment against corruption in the judiciary, and ‘extravagant’ weddings of his children among other issues.

In response Joshee said he was committed to ending corruption in the judiciary and would form an internal surveillance mechanism to this effect.  Responding to concerns about his educational certificate, Joshee showed and submitted the copy of his SLC certificate to the committee. “Media reports about my educational certificate were wrong. There were three SLC board at that time that can create confusions,” he said. 

Responding to NCP lawmaker Surendra Pandey’s concerns over court’s orders against road expansions, Joshee defended that the judiciary’s orders were aimed at ensuring compensations to the people instead of posing obstacle to development work.

Lawmakers had questioned him some controversial decisions made by his bench in the past including endorsing transfer of public lands to private individuals, and allowing Ncell to evade taxes among others. But Joshee declined to comment saying the issues are sub judice. 

Presenting his action plan and strategy for bringing reforms in the judiciary at the start of the hearings, Joshee claimed that he would work to enhance people’s faith and trust in the judiciary. Joshee said his plans include prioritizing hearings of cases on the basis of urgency, importance and nature and emphasizing reconciliation. He also complained about lack of budget and human resources to the judiciary.

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