This is why the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Rana is gathering dust in parliament

Published On: August 2, 2022 12:08 PM NPT By: Bhasa Sharma

KATHMANDU, AUGUST 2: Five and a half months have passed since an impeachment motion was filed against Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana. But parliament has not yet put it on the agenda for discussion. From this, it is clear that parliament has neglected the judiciary. The meeting of the House of Representatives has been going on continuously since the impeachment motion was registered against the head of the judiciary. But since the political parties in parliament are not interested in proceeding with the impeachment process, it is being analyzed that the impeachment motion was registered only to humiliate the head of the judiciary.

Even though there is a constitutional obligation to pass the motion or acquit the person concerned after an indictment is made, Nepal Bar Association (NBA), the umbrella organization of legal professionals, met with Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota on Monday and drew his attention to the issues regarding the judiciary. NBA President Gopal Krishna Ghimire and other officials met Sapkota on Monday and brought the CJ’s impeachment motion to the agenda for discussion. As many as 15 office-bearers of NBA including the president, general secretary, vice president, secretary, and treasurer reached the Parliament Secretariat and drew the attention of the Speaker.

“The impeachment motion is not on the agenda when Parliament is in session. We have drawn the attention of parliament to keep it on the agenda," said NBA President Ghimire, “This is a matter of concern for the bar as well. We have investigated the reason for the delay as it was not included in the agenda of parliament. This is no joke. The impeachment motion against the head of the judiciary should be concluded immediately.”

Speaker Sapkota replied to the bar officials that he had a topic to discuss with the parties. From the speaker's statement, it is clear that the political parties are not serious about the issue of impeachment. Speaker Sapkota said that he would take a decision on the agenda only after discussing it with the political parties. Although he has the responsibility to keep the impeachment motion on the agenda, he replied that he has agreed to discuss the matter with the parties.

Till date, no process has been initiated to investigate the allegations leveled against CJ Rana in the impeachment motion registered on February 13, 2022. After the proposal was tabled in parliament, nothing except for the formation of the impeachment proposal recommendation committee has been done.

Chief Justice Rana was automatically suspended immediately after the impeachment motion was registered against him in parliament. The suspended CJ Rana is staying in Baluwatar, the residence provided to him by the government. His tenure is till the 14th of December. MPs of the ruling party seem to be in high spirits after filing an impeachment motion against the head of the judiciary.

It is a principle of justice that a person should be given an opportunity to defend himself after being accused. Delayed justice is considered as no justice at all. It is important to investigate the charges against CJ Rana and make it clear whether he will be impeached or not. It has been estimated that the proposal was brought only for the purpose of suspension for not proceeding with the process even after such a long time has passed since the impeachment motion was registered. The MPs of the ruling parties - Nepali Congress, CPN (Maoist Center) and CPN (United Socialist) Party filed the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Rana in the House of Representatives. MPs of these parties have said that the impeachment motion could not move ahead because the proposal was not submitted to the impeachment recommendation committee. Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, a member of the impeachment recommendation committee formed by the House of Representatives, has already said that the process could not proceed because the House did not send the proposal to the recommendation committee.

Min Bahadur Bishwakarma, a member of the House of Representatives and member of the impeachment recommendation committee, said that the process of the impeachment motion tabled in parliament will be started as soon as the budget session is over. After the motion tabled in parliament is sent to the impeachment recommendation committee, the investigation process will move ahead. There is a provision that the committee should investigate the reasons for the impeachment proposal and submit a report to the House of Representatives based on that.

The impeachment motion was filed against Chief Justice Rana with 21 allegations including acting contrary to official responsibilities, serious violation of the constitution and laws, lack of efficiency, bad conduct, not faithfully fulfilling his official duties and serious violation of the code of conduct. The impeachment motion was filed with the support of 95 MPs from three parties, including the Maoist Center Chief Whip Dev Prasad Gurung, Congress Whip Pushpa Bhusal, and CPN (US) Chief Whip Jeevan Ram Shrestha.

There is a provision that within seven days of the impeachment recommendation committee taking action, CJ Rana should be given a reasonable opportunity to present his defense against the charges leveled against him and the necessary investigation should be started. If the justification submitted by him is not satisfactory or if he does not present himself and submit any justification within the specified period, the impeachment recommendation committee should submit its report to the House with its opinion. The chairman of the recommendation committee is also yet to be appointed. The main opposition UML has alleged that the Speaker has not been able to come up with a proposal and has not been able to move it forward.

After the impeachment motion against CJ Rana was registered, the House of Representatives formed an impeachment recommendation committee on March 6 to investigate it. The main opposition UML has been raising demands from time to time to send the impeachment motion against the CJ to the impeachment recommendation committee.

Registration of impeachment while seeking participation in the executive

On July 6, 2021, the Prime Minister of the five-party coalition government, Sher Bahadur Deuba, made Gajendra Hamal, a relative of the Chief Justice, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Supplies. Hamal was made a minister on the recommendation of Chief Justice Rana, it has been accused. A movement against CJ Rana was started saying that it was wrong for the judiciary to seek his ‘share’ in the executive.

On October 24, Chief Justice Rana was in trouble after his own colleagues announced that they would not cooperate with him. As many as 14 of the justices present in the Supreme Court agreed not to participate in the full court meeting called by the Chief Justice who had courted a controversy. Then 19 justices of the Supreme Court decided to stand against Jabara who insisted that he would not resign under any circumstances and would face impeachment. From October 31, 2021, the bar started a protest demanding Jabara's resignation.


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