Regmi steps down as CJChairman of the Interim Election Government Khil Raj Regmi resigned on Tuesday as chief justice (CJ) of the Supreme Court.
Chairman of the Interim Election Government Khil Raj Regmi resigned on Tuesday as chief justice (CJ) of the Supreme Court.
Regmi announced his resignation in an address to the nation, arguing that he had reached the conclusion as per his conscience.
Regmi maintained that his government was an exception formed with the specific purpose of holding Constituent Assembly (CA) elections. Clarifying his decision to resign as CJ, Regmi maintained that even though he could have returned as head of the judiciary, he made the decision as a result of accomplishing the assigned task of holding CA elections.
“I don’t have any penchant for number games and don’t want to return to the judiciary,” said Regmi, who is scheduled to retire on June 5.
The decision of Regmi comes amid speculation that he could return to the judiciary to assume his role as CJ, with the Nepal Bar Association (NBA) threatening protests if he did so. The umbrella organisation of lawyers maintains that Regmi’s CJ-led government compromised the principle of the separation of powers. Seven petitions challenging the presidential decree that paved the way for Regmi’s appointment remain subjudice in the Apex Court. There are also petitions before the court challenging the decisions of the Regmi-led government.
Regmi, who was earlier said to be in favour of returning to the judiciary, changed his mind after consulting peers who advised him against the move. Even Judicial Council (JC) members have advised Regmi not to return, reasoning it would affect the existing structure of the council as Acting CJ Damodar Sharma would become the senior most justice while Justice Ram Kumar Shah, another member in the constitutional body, would also be demoted, thereby affecting the appointment of judges.
Acting CJ Sharma had reportedly said that he would resign if Regmi returns. Sources say Regmi has been lobbying hard to make it to the CA through a Cabinet appointed quota.
In this regard he is said to have reached out to Nepali Congress Vice President Ram Chandra Poudel, CPN-UML Parliamentary Party leader KP Oli and UML Secretary Bishnu Poudel.
Sources also added that Regmi may vie for the post of chairman of the National Human Rights Commission. Regmi, as executive head,
had recommended the former CJ Dilip Poudel and an ex-Supreme Court Justice Tahir Ali Ansari for the post.
To receive ex-PM facilities
Outgoing Chairman of the Interim Election Government Khil Raj Regmi is set to receive the facilities and status ascribed to a former executive head.
Regmi will have his name placed alongside former prime ministers and will be accorded a security escort. The presidential decree that paved the way for the formation of an election government under Regmi, who was also chief justice of the Supreme Court, mentions that the CJ would chair the election Cabinet and would be equivalent in status to the prime minister.
“There can be no discontinuity in the institution of prime minister. Therefore, Khil Raj Regmi will be accorded all state facilities accordingly,” said a senior official at the Office of the Prime Minister. The Ministry of Home Affairs has already made provisions to provide security facilities to Regmi in his capacity as former head of the executive.
Both the status of Regmi and the facilities to be accorded to him have now been made clear after some confusion.
There was speculation that he could also opt for facilities in his capacity as former head of the judiciary, which would have meant Regmi receiving his pension along with a security detail.