Lawyers seek support of Speaker and parties to oust chief justiceNepal Bar submits memorandums to Sapkota and leaders of some parties, including Nembang.
Lawyers who are in protest for around three weeks now demanding Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana’s resignation on Monday called on political parties represented in the federal parliament and Speaker Agni Sapkota to take initiatives to oust Rana from office.
Chief Justice Rana has refused to step down, saying he is rather ready to face the constitutional process, which means an impeachment motion. However, Nepali parties have not shown interest in impeaching Rana.
On Monday, lawyers handed over a memorandum to Speaker Sapkota.
“We have demanded that the Speaker take initiatives,” said Rakshya Basyal, vice-chair of the Nepal Bar Association, the umbrella organisation of lawyers across the country. “We have submitted similar memorandums to representatives of the parties represented in the federal parliament.”
During the meeting with the Speaker, Nepal Bar chairperson Chandeshwor Shrestha sought the Parliament’s support to oust Rana.
Initially, Supreme Court justices had demanded Rana’s resignation, saying the chief justice had failed to introduce reform measures and implement recommendations by a panel of Justice Hari Krishna Karki.
The Supreme Court Bar Association and Nepal Bar Association then joined hands. As lawyers stepped up their protest against Rana, justices decided to return to benches, saying their one of the demands–introduction of the raffly system for assigning cases–had been fulfilled.
Lawyers, however, have been staging sit-ins every day in front of the Supreme Court, saying Rana’s resignation is their bottom line.
If Rana continues to stick to his guns, the only way to remove him is an impeachment motion, which is purely political parties’ prerogative.
As per the constitution provisions, one fourth of Members of Parliament can file an impeachment motion against the chief justice. It, however, needs a two-thirds majority to endorse the motion.
No chief justice in Nepal has ever been impeached, but Sushila Karki had faced an impeachment motion. The motion, however, was quashed by the Supreme Court. It was Rana’s bench which scrapped the impeachment motion against Karki in March 2017.
On Monday, the Nepal Bar submitted their memorandums to Upendra Yadav and Baburam Bhattarai of Janata Samajbadi Party, Durga Poudel of Rastriya Janamorcha, Subhas Nembang, deputy leader of the Parliamentary Party of the CPN-UML and Dev Gurung, chief whip of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre). The Nepal Bar is scheduled to meet Nepali Congress leaders on Tuesday.
The Nepal Bar also submitted a memorandum to National Assembly chair Ganesh Timilsina.
“Nembang has said he would support our cause remaining within the limits of the law,” said Basyal.