UML leaders divided over apex court justice appointmentsSerious differences have emerged in the CPN-UML over whether or not to approve the Judicial Council (JC)’s recommendations on the appointment of eight permanent justices at the SC
While a group of leaders led by General Secretary Ishwor Pokharel has strongly opposed the idea of appointing the justices with ‘controversial background’, some party leaders appear to have adopted a flexible position on the matter. Party sources say some leaders, mainly senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and Vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam, are in favour of endorsing Judicial Council’s recommendations instead of politicising the SC justice appointment process.
During informal meetings with party leaders, Gautam, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, has been stressing on the need to play down the appointment row. “This row could lead to difficulties for the government and hence it is advisable not to create controversy over the matter,” sources quoted Gautam as saying. Nepal is also said be against the controversy over the appointment process and has advocated resolving the row at the earliest. Nepal’s brother Govinda Prasad Upadhyay is one of the eight candidates the JC has recommended.
Before leaving for China on May 7, UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal had instructed the party’s lawmakers to take up the issue of recommendation of ‘controversial justices’ at the parliamentary hearing session in a strong manner.
As the controversy over the justice appointments deepened, an informal meeting was called at the party headquarters to discuss the matter on Tuesday. The meeting presided over by party’s Legal Department chief Raghuji Panta, however, could not make any formal decision and concluded that it is necessary ‘to thoroughly study the basis of complaints filed against the candidates’.
“The Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee is looking into this matter now. So we are of the firm belief that the complaints filed against the nominees should be adjudged with the seriousness the issue deserves. If we just approve the recommendations of the Judicial Council, the parliamentary hearing will have no meaning,” Pokharel said.
Sources also talked about efforts from some quarters to block the nomination of former Attorney General Yuvraj Sangraula. They say Sangraula, who is backed by Gautam, could be dropped in favour of Senior Advocate Satish Krishna Kharel. “UML leaders close to CA Chairperson Subas Nembang have been flirting with this idea,” said a lawyer closely following the developments.
While UML leaders continue to bicker over the JC’s recommendation, the party has called another round of Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday. Lawyers close to the party-Agni Kharel, Hari Krishna Karki, Tikaram Bhattarai, Ram Prasad Shrestha and Bam Dev Gyawali-have also been in invited to participate in the meeting. Meanwhile, Panta is said to be holding discussions with legal experts to settle the controversy.
Oli will be next chairman, says Gautam
NEPALGUNJ: Home Minister and CPN-UML Vice Chairman Bam Dev Gautam has claimed that KP Sharma Oli would be elected the next party chairman.
Gautam said that the UML’s upcoming 9th General Convention would unanimously elect Oli to lead the party once senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal relinquished his desire to run for the post of chairman. “Policies and ideologies are a document of unity. The only hurdle for the unanimous selection of the party leadership is comrade Madhav and he should stay away from contesting for the post of chairman,” said Gautam, addressing a Bheri zonal meeting of the UML cadres in Nepalgunj on Tuesday. “Comrade Oli should be given a chance to strengthen and keep the party united,” he added. Gautam said that he could have been the contender for the UML chairman’s post, but many party leaders fear that he may split the party. “I stood for Jhala Nath Khanal last time and made him victorious. This General Convention, I will support Oli and make him victorious,” he said.