Supreme Court quashes writ petition challenging Sharma’s appointmentThe Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed a writ petition demanding that the appointment of Manoj Kumar Sharma as a justice of the top court be annulled.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed a writ petition demanding that the appointment of Manoj Kumar Sharma as a justice of the top court be annulled.
A single bench Justice Tej Bahadur KC quashed the petition filed on Monday by senior advocate Shambhu Thapa and advocate Purna Rajbanshi, questioning Sharma’s competence to serve as a justice.
Sharma’s nomination had been contested ever since the Judicial Council, led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana, picked him as one of the four Supreme Court justice nominees on April 2. Sharma is a nephew of former chief justice Damodar Sharma.
The petitioners had claimed that he was nominated to appease Damodar Sharma because he had played a crucial role to bring Chief Justice Rana to the Supreme Court from Appellate Court in May 2014.
Sharma’s appointment had created a lot of hue and cry among the members of the legal fraternity.
Issuing a press statement on April 23 Nepal Bar Association had stated that the nominations and appointments of justices were made on the bases of quid pro quo and personal connection.
The Supreme Court Bar Association had also questioned the justice appointments.
On April 8, it had decided to seek from a member of the Judicial Council an explanation on what ground the justices were appointed.
Many senior advocates including Thapa, who registered the writ petition, had also made an appeal to the lawyers to boycott Sharma’s bench in order to exert pressure.
“I have been boycotting Justice Sharma’s bench and will continue to do so,” Thapa told the post. “I urge other lawyers to boycott his bench as well.”
On April 18, the Parliamentary Hearing Committee had unanimously endorsed Sharma as well as other four justice nominees.
The petitioners had claimed that Sharma did not fulfil the criteria to become a Supreme Court justice.
According to Article 129 (5), any citizen of Nepal with a bachelor’s degree in law and has served as the chief judge or a high court judge for at least five years, has practised law as a senior advocate or advocate for at least 15 years, is a distinguished jurist having constantly worked for at least 15 years in the judicial or legal field, or has served in the post of gazetted first class or a higher post of the judicial service for at least 12 years shall be deemed qualified for appointment as a Supreme Court justice.
According to the petitioners, Sharma had not served for five years as a high court judge.
“Sharma was appointed as the judge of the appellate court on June 10, 2013 and his term had ended on September 20, 2015. He did not serve for five years as a judge. He has not advocated for 15 years continuously as demanded by the constitutional provision,” the petitioners had reasoned in their writ.
Chairman of Nepal Bar Association Chandeswor Shrestha said the lawyers’ organisation has already drawn the attention of concerned authorities regarding Sharma’s appointment.
“With the annulment of the writ petition the only way to take action against the Supreme Court justice is impeachment,” Shrestha said.
Justice KC annulled the writ petition after 17 advocates-mostly senior advocates including Dinesh Tripathi, Yubaraj Sangroula, Borna Bahadur Karki, Yadunath Khanal, Mukti Pradhan, Raman Shrestha and Shambhu Thapa and advocate Purna Rajbanshi-presented their arguments.