Signs of thaw in Parliament’s frosty relations with judiciaryThe judiciary and the Legislature-Parliament appear to be headed for reconciliation after an intense conflict of the past week culminated in the Supreme Court staying the motion in the House to impeach Chief Justice Sushila Karki.
The judiciary and the Legislature-Parliament appear to be headed for reconciliation after an intense conflict of the past week culminated in the Supreme Court staying the motion in the House to impeach Chief Justice Sushila Karki.
There were fears of an escalation in confrontation with CJ Karki returning to work on Sunday. The motion filed by the ruling parties Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre) last week was aimed at offsetting the apex court’s probable verdict in a case related to the appointment by Cabinet of the inspector general (IG) of Nepal Police.
Through interlocutors, leaders close to top politicians and the judiciary tried in the last two days to find a middle way for averting further conflict, according to knowledgeable sources.
Parties are learnt to have communicated to the court leadership that they will withdraw the impeachment motion “soon” and they will adopt a conciliatory approach to Karki and the top court.
In return, the leadership had some expectations from the court.
As per the understanding, the parties will not move the impeachment process forward in Parliament, but would rather withdraw it, while asking the court to annul its order delivered to Parliament to put the motion on hold.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, leader of the opposition party KP Sharma Oli and RPP Chairman Kamal Thapa held meetings at the PM’s residence for two days before deciding to explore ways for consensus.
Oli said at a function in Lalitpur on Sunday that he had three meetings with the PM in the couple of days. The CPN-UML chairman argued that there was no option but to withdraw the impeachment motion. The Supreme Court’s ruling does not curb the jurisdiction of Parliament, Oli said, while viewing the order as constitutional.
As per the preparations, the SC will not move the contempt case against NC President Deuba. It would also not proceed with the case on police chief appointment, the bone of contention between the court and the government.
A contempt of court case was filed against Deuba and the Congress Central Working Committee over their public statements against the court’s verdict on IG appointment.
The court had annulled the Cabinet’s decision to appoint Jaya Bahadur Chand as the police chief.
The NC, in its decision, interpreted the SC’s verdict as being against the spirit of separation of powers and an attack on the executive.
Some leaders said outcomes of the contempt case would hamper Deuba, who is waiting to be the prime minister after Pushpa Kamal Dahal makes way for him. Hence the quest for an understanding with the judiciary.
In the case of Deputy Inspector General Nawaraj Silwal claiming the IG’s post, the court will defer the hearing, it is learnt.
Party leaders had also suggested that CJ Karki take a leave as she is due to retire in a month. “But it seems she is not going on a leave for another couple of days when she will decide some symbolic cases of corruption in order to redeem her image as a bold chief justice,” the leader said.
Karki, who rejoined her office on Sunday, has not taken up any case herself but assigned cases to the judges.
Gopal Parajuli, who acted as the chief justice in Karki’s absence, is on leave and will return to work as her retirement nears, said sources. Karki retires on June 7 but could be on leave one or two weeks before the date.
“It’s a truce like situation,” said Maoist Centre Spokesperson Pampha Bhusal.