KATHMANDU, July 26: Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana and six other justices of the Supreme Court (SC) are excluded from the list of justices who will hear the review petition filed by the government against SC’s decision to release murder-convict former Armed Police Force (APF) DIG Ranjan Koirala by waiving his jail term.
The names of the seven justices are figured in the negative list of those justices who could not hear the review petition filed by the government on Friday. Koirala was released from the Dillibazar prison on Thursday.
The apex court published the names while publishing the supplementary cause list for Sunday. Chief Justice Rana, justices Tej Bahadur KC, Purusottam Bhandari, Dr Ananda Mohan Bhattarai, Sapana Pradhan Malla, Sushmalata Mathema and Dr Manoj Sharma could not hear the review petition because they had already shared benches while deciding the case in the Supreme Court and High Court and other proceedings as well.
According to sources at the apex court, it is yet to confirm who will hear the case on Sunday because the cause list will be published only a few hours before the hearing on Sunday.
"Even though the publication of a negative list of judges ensures the hearing of the case on Sunday indicating that the apex court is serious about reviewing the case," a source claimed. A division bench of Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana and Justice Tej Bahadur KC on June 29 had waived 12.5 years jail sentence imposed by the Kathmandu District Court that was later upheld by the Patan High Court.
Citing Section 188 of previous Muluki Ain and Section 17(1) of present Sentence Determination and Execution Act, 2017, the apex court stated that the objective to punish him was already met and there was no need to keep him in jail further because he needs to give guardianship to his sons following the death of their mother Geeta.
The government had filed the review petition on Friday citing some five erroneous interpretations of evidence as well as the fact and violation of already set precedents set by the Supreme Court in similar cases.
Those legal experts who know the proceedings of the apex court claimed that the apex court has shown seriousness toward reviewing the case by scheduling the case for hearing and making public the negative list of the judges. "This may not delay the hearing of the review petition," a legal expert claimed.
Those justices who can share the bench for reviewing the case are Deepak Kumar Karki, Meera Khadka, Hari Krishna Karki, Bishwambhar Prasadh Shrestha, Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada, Anil Kumar Sinha, Prakash Man Singh Raut, Bam Kumar Shrestha, Tanka Moktan, Prakash Kumar Dhungana, Kumar Regmi and Hari Prasad Phuyal.
Legal experts have also called upon the judicial leadership to show fairness while scheduling the case and selecting justices for the hearing because the judgment handed down by Chief Justice himself was dragged into a serious controversy, calling for an urgent need to maintain the integrity of the judiciary. "This would ensure the public faith in the judiciary," he added.