Joshee’s stay ‘unfavourable’In a rare practice in the history of the country’s judiciary, senior most Supreme Court Justice Deepak Raj Joshee has agreed to work under the leadership of a junior colleague after the Parliamentary Hearing Committee (PHC) rejected him for the post of chief justice.
In a rare practice in the history of the country’s judiciary, senior most Supreme Court Justice Deepak Raj Joshee has agreed to work under the leadership of a junior colleague after the Parliamentary Hearing Committee (PHC) rejected him for the post of chief justice.
However, legal experts have claimed that Joshee’s presence in the SC could affect smooth functioning of the apex court and most of them have wished for his ‘graceful’ exit. Even the SC justices had indirectly suggested him for a graceful exit during the informal meeting of the full court held on Tuesday citing that the existing cycle of hierarchy would be affected.
Sources also claimed that some lawmakers of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) had sent him a message to pave the way by resigning as a SC justice.
However, Joshee, who was rejected by the PHC for the top post on August 5, is not in a mood to put in papers anytime soon as he resumed office from Tuesday after taking a month-long leave to pave the way for Justice Mishra to take charge of the SC. On Thursday, a single bench of Joshee had been assigned three cases by CJ Mishra.
CJ Mishra retires on January 1, 2019, while Joshee has a whole year to serve but some justices find his presence in the SC ‘unfavourable’ and have started complaining and refusing to share a bench with him.
“Since he was rejected by the PHC, his verdicts could draw controversy and his judgements could be questioned,” said lawmaker Ram Narayan Bidari.
As a senior most justice, he would hold major position in the judiciary after the CJ and would take the lead as officiating CJ in the absence of Mishra.
As per Article 153 of the constitution, being a senior most justice of the SC, Joshee will serve as a member of the Judicial Council (JC) led by CJ Mishra, where he could influence the decisions on appointments, transfer, promotion and actions on judges.
The council has been taking unanimous decisions. Similarly, he could also affect the decisions of the Judicial Service Commission as one of its influential members.
Some lawyers also argue that Joshee could take charge of the SC as acting CJ soon after Mishra retires on January 1, but others believe that the CJ could name Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana, currently ranked third in seniority, for the role a month before he retires.
“To avoid this volatile situation in the SC, Chief Justice Mishra won’t let things go out of order and the council would recommend Justice Rana to succeed him as CJ,” said Bidari.
Meanwhile, the apex court’s constitutional bench which is led by the CJ has also been affected due to the absence of CJ for more than one and a half months.
The CJ has to appoint the senior most justice as a member of the bench while other justices have refused to remain in the bench together with Joshee, thus obstructing the functioning of the bench.