Suspended Chief Justice Rana retires as impeachment against him remains to be concluded

Published On: December 14, 2022 07:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 14: Suspended Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JBR retired from his post on Tuesday even as the impeachment motion filed against him in parliament remains yet to be concluded.

On February 13, 2022, Rana faced an impeachment motion on charge of his failure to discharge his official responsibilities properly. But the parliament could not conclude the impeachment motion in almost ten months before its term came to an end after the November 20 election.

On December 6, Rana pleaded by filing an application at the Parliament Secretariat demanding it to declare the impeachment motion invalid. As per his demand, General Secretary of the federal parliament secretariat Dr Bharat Raj Gautam on December 7 sent a letter to the apex court, arguing that the impeachment motion against him had already become ineffective.

The letter sent by the General Secretary Gautam to the key state offices last Wednesday created ripples in the country’s judicial and political circles. Chief Justice Rana, who was automatically suspended from his post after an impeachment motion was registered against him in the previous HoR on February 13, was preparing to resume his duties at the apex court following the letter. But he changed his mind after a writ petition was filed at the apex court against the parliament secretariat’s letter and the court asked the latter a slew of questions.

The letter sent by the Federal Parliament Secretariat also triggered immediate protests by the office-bearers of Nepal Bar Association (NBA) and the Supreme Court chapter of the NBA who formed a human barrier at the main gate of the Supreme Court to prevent Rana from entering his office.

Rana, who was appointed as the chief justice on January 2, 2019, is the first chief justice to retire from the post while still under suspension following the impeachment motion. Interestingly, it was the same parliament reinstated by a constitutional bench headed by Rana himself that filed an impeachment motion against him. It was also the Rana-led Constitutional Bench that passed a mandamus order to appoint Sher Bahadur Deuba as the prime minister on July 12, 2021.

Rana courted a serious controversy on various occasions while in office as chief justice. His decision to shorten the prison sentence handed to Ranjan Koirala, a former Deputy Inspector General of the Armed Police Police Force (APF) was widely criticized. Koirala was behind the bars for murdering his wife.

Rana was also accused of seeking share in the cabinet formation after the parliament was reinstated. Gajendra Hamal, who was allegedly appointed as a minister in the cabinet by Prime Minister Deuba on October 9, 2021 upon the recommendation of Rana, tendered resignation from the post a day later after serious controversy.

The controversy also triggered protests of justices and Nepal Bar Association (NBA) beginning October 25, 2021. They started a series of protests accusing Rana of his involvement in various unethical behavior including corruption. Rana was automatically suspended from the post after 98 lawmakers of the ruling parties filed impeachment motion against him on February 13, 2022. They alleged that CJ Rana was acting at the behest of CPN-UML Chairman K P Sharma Oli.

Appointment process of new CJ begins

Senior most Justice at the SC Hari Krishna Karki is currently working as the acting CJ. 

For the appointment of the new CJ, the Judicial Council will need to send the name of an eligible justice to the Constitutional Council, which will then recommend the name to the Parliamentary Hearings Committee for the hearings. 

After the approval of the name by the Parliamentary Hearings Committee, the president will appoint a new CJ as per the legal provisions. Ruling party leaders said internal preparations have already begun to appoint a new CJ. 


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