JC member at UML door seeking supportJudicial Council (JC) member Khem Narayan Dhungana reached UML headquarters on Wednesday to seek the support for endorsing the eight nominees for the post of Supreme Court permanent justices
Dhungana’s activism comes at a time when the UML is consulting law professionals over the JC recommendations that have courted controversy from all quarters due to the “tainted” image of some of the nominees.
On Tuesday, the Parliamen-tary Hearing Special Com-mittee (PHSC) decided to summon JC members for a discussion on the matter. UML lawmakers had insisted that JC members should appear before the House panel to clarify their position on the names amid calls for the decision to be returned for review.
According to sources privy to the Wednesday morning meeting, UML Standing Committee members Yuvraj Gyawali, Bharat Mohan Adhikari and Amrit Kumar Bohara were surprised to see Dhungana at the party office seeking support for parliamentary endorsement of the recommendations.
“He did not say who had invited him to the meeting, but insisted that leaders listen to his case,” said a source.
“We do not entertain even members of the National Human Rights Commission. Why did you come here?” an attendant quoted Bharat Mohan Adhikari as asking Dhungana.
As a JC member is ranked the same as an apex court justice, s/he is legally barred from meeting political party leaders. After being tipped off that Dhungana was at the UML office, The Kathmandu Post reporters reached Balkhu at 9: 27am. Dhungana, in a cream-coloured checked shirt and carrying a brief case, left the UML premises in his government sanctioned Scorpio SUV (Ba 1 Jha 9601) five minutes later. Dhungana had an unhappy expression while leaving the premises.
Dhungana, who is considered close to UML Vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam, was appointed JC member on the recommendation of then-Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal.
Dhungana was a Central Committee member of the CPN-ML that had split from the UML in 1998 and was elected a member of the UML Central Disciplinary Commission by the 2009 Butwal General Convention.
Party insiders say the UML leadership is miffed at Dhungana for his failure to ensure that UML candidates are recommended for the apex court positions. UML Vice-chairman Gautam, who is a Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, had insisted that former Attorney General Yubraj Sangraula be nominated as a justice. However, the JC in its April 23 decision did not pick any lawyer to serve as a judge. Moreover, Dhungana has been accused of favouring controversial nominee Cholendra Shumsher Rana, who had been issued a judicial notice by the apex court for acquitting former Minister Jaya Prakash Gupta of corruption charges in 2007. The JC, however, gave a clean chit to Rana on technical grounds.
When asked about his presence at the UML headquarters, Dhungana denied entering the party premises altogether. “I only went to my daughter’s house this morning in Balkhu,” Dhungana told the Post.
UML consults with lawyers
As the party leadership is sharply divided over the recommendations, the UML on Wednesday invited legal experts to the party headquarters to discuss the matter.
Former Attorney General Sangraula, Nepal Bar Association Vice-chairman Tikaram Bhattarai, Advocates Agni Kharel, Rudra
Nepal, Bam Dev Gyawali and Hari Phuyal were among the invitees.
Sangraula asked UML leaders to be clear where the problem lies. He said the PHSC must know whether the names are the problem or the process.
“If the process is faulty, the Judicial Council should be questioned by the Ministry of Law—the concerned ministry, instead of the committee intervening in the process directly,” said Sangraula. He advised UML leaders that if the problem exists in the names, particular candidates should be replaced.