Decks cleared to set up High Courts, finallyThe Legislation Committee of Parliament on Friday finalised three bills related formation of High Courts after parties agreed, in principle, to follow the spirit of “proportional inclusion” during the appointment of HC judges.
The Legislation Committee of Parliament on Friday finalised three bills related formation of High Courts after parties agreed, in principle, to follow the spirit of “proportional inclusion” during the appointment of HC judges.
Friday’s development has paved the way for the formation of a High Court (HC) in each state in line with the constitutional provision.
Article 139 of the constitution says “there shall be a High Court in each state” and Article 300 (3) says “High Courts set forth in Article 139 shall be established no later than one year after the date of commencement of this constitution, and the Appellate Courts existing at the time of commencement of this constitution shall be dissolved after the establishment of such courts”. With differences between the ruling alliance and the opposition over the appointment of judges earlier, there was uncertainty whether HCs could be formed before September 20.
While the ruling alliance was making a pitch for following the principle of “proportional inclusion” while appointing HS judges, the main opposition CPN-UML was saying appointments could be made “inclusive but not proportional”.
The UML on Friday, however, agreed to replace the provision of “inclusion” with “proportional inclusion”, making it possible for the House committee to finalise the bills.
The Bill on Judicial Council though contains the phrase “proportionally inclusive”, it is mentioned only in the title, not in the main body, as it would have been in contradiction with Article 283 of the constitution, which says: “Appointments to offices of constitutional organs and bodies shall be made in accordance with the inclusive principle”.
UML lawmaker Rewati Raman Bhandari said his party agreed to go with “proportional representation” as it did not want any hurdles in constitution implementation process. “Nonetheless, it’s practically not possible,” he said. “The onus to implement the laws lies with the government.” A meeting of the House committee called on Thursday to finalise the three bills on Judicial Administration, Judicial Council and Judicial Service had failed to arrive at conclusion following differences between the ruling alliance and the opposition.
“We have finally resolved the differences, moving a step ahead in the constitution implementation process,” said CPN (Maoist Centre) lawmaker Ram Narayan Bidari after Friday’s Legislation Committee meeting, adding that all the three bills will be tabled in Parliament on Monday. The bills are most likely to be endorsed on the same day.
Following the endorsement by the House, the bills will be forwarded to the Office of the President for authentication. After they are published in the gazette, the process to replace the Appellate Courts with HCs will start.
The existing judges from the 16 Appellate Courts will automatically become HC judges. There will be 160 judges in the seven High Courts and their extended benches. One High Court from each province will be named as the central office while others will function as its extended benches. The central office must be located in the headquarters of the respective province.