Two lawyers come to blows over Supreme Court bench boycottNepal Bar Association announces sit-in protest demanding Chief Justice Rana’s resignation.
The ongoing crisis in the Supreme Court has caused a sharp division in the legal fraternity. This division became stark when two lawyers came to blows on the premises of Nepal Bar Association on Friday afternoon, a footage of which was widely shared on social media.
Lawyers Birat Neupane and Bhuminanda Chudal were caught kicking and shoving each other on TV. They were fighting on the issue of the Supreme Court justices boycotting the bench assigned by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana.
The fight broke out when Neupane interfered while Chudal was giving an interview to a news station.
Chudal is in support of Chief Justice Rana and he is of the view that the Supreme Court justices are hindering the justice delivery process by boycotting the bench.
Neupane, meanwhile, is in support of the bench boycott.
Police said the fight between Neupane and Chudal broke out over a minor issue and that neither of the lawyers was charged.
“They have agreed to settle the case among themselves and told us that police intervention was unnecessary,” Senior Superintendent Ashok Singh, chief of Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range, told the Post.
Singh also said police personnel were deployed on the premises of Nepal Bar Association following Friday afternoon’s brawl.
The Supreme Court justices have been boycotting the bench in protest against Chief Justice Rana, who has been accused of demanding a ministerial share in the Sher Bahadur Deuba government.
Days before Deuba expanded his Cabinet, reports surfaced that Gajendra Hamal was being appointed a minister at the behest of Rana. Deuba did appoint Hamal a minister, but the latter resigned within 40 hours.
The Deuba government was formed as per a July 12 order of the Constitutional Bench, led by Chief Justice Rana. In the landmark decision, the Rana-led bench had ousted KP Sharma Oli from office and ordered the appointment of Deuba as new prime minister.
It was largely believed that Rana sought his share in the Cabinet as part of the quid pro quo
Critics said by demanding a ministerial post, the head of the judiciary had undermined the principle of separation of powers. He, however, has denied the charges he wanted his people in the Cabinet.
The justices have banded together against the chief justice and demanded for his resignation. In order to pile pressure on Chief Justice Rana, the justices have also been boycotting their bench.
Rana has said that he won’t resign and that he is ready to face impeachment.
With the justices boycotting the bench since Sunday, daily hearings have been affected.
Meanwhile, the Nepal Bar Association has decided to hold a sit-in from Sunday demanding resignation of Chief Justice Rana.
Rakshya Basyal, vice-chairperson of the association, said that the meeting of the central working committee of the association has decided to hold a sit-in until Wednesday demanding resignation of Rana for the “purification” of the court.
The association has also urged Chief Justice Rana not to appoint a bench for himself.
The umbrella organisation of lawyers has also decided to have virtual interaction with 90 units across the country to formulate a strategy for the sit-in.
“If Rana doesn't resign by Wednesday, Nepal Bar Association will announce additional programmes,” Basyal said.