UCPN (M) says ball in prime minister’s courtWith politics in play for appointment of judges at the Supreme Court, the UCPN (Maoist) on Saturday said that the “ball is in the prime minister’s court”.
With politics in play for appointment of judges at the Supreme Court, the UCPN (Maoist) on Saturday said that the “ball is in the prime minister’s court”.
The controversy sparked by Speaker Onsari Gharti’s decision last week to return the recommendations made by the Judicial Council for the appointment of SC judges has reached its peak, putting the ruling CPN-UML and its key coalition partner the UCPN (M) at loggerheads.
The UCPN (M) has said the dispute over judges’ appointment will be resolved in a flash if Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli “shows seriousness about giving full shape to the JC”.
The political and judicial circles are sharply divided over Gharti’s decision to send back the names recommended by the JC, the body responsible for selecting justices.
Arguing that the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee (PHSC) was yet to be formed and that in the absence of it, hearing of persons recommended as SC judges was not possible, Gharti had returned the recommendations to the JC.
The UCPN (M), the party Gharti belonged to before she was elected the House Speaker, has argued that a full JC should have picked the names for SC justices.
In the five-member JC, two members are yet to be nominated. Headed by the chief justice, the JC comprises law minister, the seniormost SC justice, a law expert nominated by the President at the recommendation of the prime minister and a senior advocate or an advocate with more than 20 years of experience nominated by the Nepal Bar Association as members.
PM Oli and the NBA are yet to nominate members for the JC.
Maoist leaders admit that Speaker Gharti could have taken the decision in line with the advice from UCPN (M) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. As a key coalition partner, the UCPN (M) wants a JC member who is close to the party. UCPN (M) lawmaker Ram Narayan Bidari, however, said that Speaker Gharti’s decision to send recommendations back to the JC is “not a big deal”. “The JC can again make recommendations,” said Bidari, who is also the legal adviser to the party.
But according to Maoist leaders, party’s efforts to get individuals close to the party into the judiciary have failed to matearialise since they joined the peace process. Bidari also said that the Nepali Congress and the UML “want to ensure their dominance in the judiciary”.
Formation of the PHSC is yet another concern raised by the UCPN (M).
The PHSC formation has been delayed due to differences among major parties over its size. “The NC and the UML are not serious about forming the PHSC, but they are passing the buck,” said Bidari.
The JC on March 1 recommended Deepak Kumar Karki, Kedar Prasad Chalise, Sharada Prasad Ghimire, Mira Khadka, Hari Krishna Karki, Bishwambhar Shrestha, Ishwor Khatiwada, Ananda Mohan Bhattarai, Anil Sinha, Prakash Man Singh Raut and Sapana Pradhan Malla as SC judges.