Says previous verdict against principle of constitutional construction
KATHMANDU, Sept 17: The Supreme Court has decided to review its previous verdict on a writ petition challenging Lokman Singh Karki's appointment as the chief of Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).
A bench of Chief Justice Sushila Karki and Justices Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha and Sapana Pradhan Malla ordered to reopen the case stating that the previous verdict seemed to be against the principle of constitutional construction.
The bench said that Article 119 (5) of the then Interim Constitution had a provision of appointing as chief commissioner of the CIAA a person with at least 20 years of experience in the field of either accounting, revenue, engineering, law, development or research and is a distinguished person, but the previous verdict ignored the article. The bench has also said that SC's previous verdict instead included Karki's tenure at the Royal Palace Service also as his experience in the specialized fields mentioned in the article of the Interim Constitution. The court also said that Karki was in the Royal Palace Service for more than six years and he had joined the service through a royal command, and was later transferred to civil service.
The bench also stated that the recommendations made by the Rayamajhi Commission regarding Karki appear significant as the Ministry of General Administration had already started action against him. The commission was formed to investigate the abuse of power during the April 2006 movement.
Meanwhile, the apex court warned concerned government official of taking legal action as per the Judicial Administration Act for not providing the file and documents sought by the court.
The government had replied to the apex court that it could not find the file concerning Karki in its records. The apex court on August 26 had sought original documents regarding the then government decision of March 25, 2007 to seek clarification from Karki.
Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Mahendra Man Gurung, had replied to the court that the file could not be found since the devastating earthquake on April 25, 2015 caused damage to the office and the office was shifted to another building. Gurung had informed the court that the file will be furnished before the court as soon as it is found.
Likewise, the Ministry of General Administration has said that it could not find the decade-old file since there is no systematic records systems. A letter from under secretary Bhagawat Prasad Khanal of the ministry stated that the ministry will furnish the file as soon as it is found.
The division bench on Friday termed the government's reply to the court as irresponsible and warned of legal action. As per the law, the court can slap a fine between Rs 1000 and 10,000 on the government official concerned each time he/she shows reluctance to furnish documents sought by the court.
Advocate Om Prakash Aryal had filed two writ petitions on May 16, 2014 -- one demanding court order to stop the then government from appointing Karki and another after Karki's appointment demanding annulment of the appointment decision.
Aryal had claimed that Karki was not eligible candidate for the position arguing he lacked the expertise set out in the Interim constitution and he also lacked high moral character as the government had taken action against him for his role to suppress the Jana-Andolan II.
A division bench of Justices Gopal Parajuli and Om Prakash Mishra had quashed both the writ petitions on September 24, 2014.