Justice Rana boycotts SC full benchIn an unprecedented case in the recent history of country’s judiciary, Supreme Court (SC) Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana on Monday boycotted a full bench that was hearing the contempt of court case against Kantipur daily, stating that Chief Justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli has already crossed his retirement age.
In an unprecedented case in the recent history of country’s judiciary, Supreme Court (SC) Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana on Monday boycotted a full bench that was hearing the contempt of court case against Kantipur daily, stating that Chief Justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli has already crossed his retirement age.
The seven-member bench began hearing the case against Kantipur daily on Sunday along with another contempt case against anti-corruption crusader Dr Govinda KC.
On Monday, just as the full bench was about to proceed with the hearing Justice Rana said, ‘as per the provisions in the Judicial Council Act, CJ Parajuli should have retired on August 5, 2017’. After Rana detached himself from the full bench, the hearing was adjourned. The court has not set the date for the next hearing. “In terms of legal and moral grounds it is not appropriate for me to take part in this hearing because as per the legal provisions Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli has already been retired,” Rana said in his written statement to the full bench. In the statement, Rana has clearly mentioned the discrepancies over CJ Parajuli’s date of birth in his citizenship certificate and character certificate of the School Leaving Certificate.
Legal experts say there has not been such case in the recent history of judiciary and this has both moral and legal questions over CJ Parajuli. This is not the first time that justices have raised questions about the authenticity of his date birth. On January 11, a two-judge bench of the apex court ordered an investigation into the authenticity of his citizenship and document and education certificates of CJ Parajuli. The bench had ordered to present all his documents but there has not been any progress on the case. On the basis of government documents, Kantipur daily had published news reports exposing the discrepancies in his date of birth.
CJ Parajuli reportedly encouraged filing a contempt of court case against Kantipur daily for publishing news about the authenticity of his documents. After recording statements from Kantipur members, a division bench of Justices Bam Kumar Shrestha and Damber Bahadur Shahi last Tuesday decided to refer the case to a full bench citing the gravity of matter. It has been already revealed that Parajuli asked previous chief justice Sushila Karki to resolve the controversy surrounding his citizenship certificate and academic records.
After Rana boycotted the hearing on Monday, there was an informal meeting of SC justices. In the meeting, justices reportedly requested CJ Parajuli to step down stating that ‘judiciary is heading towards uncomfortable situation’.
As justices were busy in the meeting, the hearing on other cases were halted after the lunch-time. “Now, it is very difficult to convene the full bench, if you fix cause-list for Tuesday, the bench cannot take place,” an informed source quoted justices as telling CJ Parajuli in the meeting. Justices drew the attention of CJ Parajuli that the longer he stays in the position, it will further affect the judiciary. They requested CJ Parajuli to consider about the public trust and provide a way out.
CJ Parajuli told justices that he would be staying in the court for a short period. “I am going to retire soon. I want a dignified exit so I need your help to create an appropriate environment for me,” a justice quoted CJ Parajuli as saying in the meeting. CJ Parajuli did not get support from his colleagues.
What Justice Cholendra SJB Rana said
Kathmandu: Just before the commencement of the full-bench on Sunday, we all justices were present in the office of Chief Justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli. He showed us all of his documents, requesting not to be confused about his date of birth.
CJ Parajuli said he was 21 when he received citizenship on August 5, 1973. In the character certificate of the Test Exam that he obtained from Saradha Higher Secondary School, his birth date is mentioned as April 29, 1953. Later, when he received a duplicate citizenship certificate, the date was mentioned as April 29, 1953. The same date (April 29, 1953) has been mentioned in all the certificates and documents.
In the identity card issued by Citizen Investment Trust, the date of birth is mentioned as April 26, 1953. He confessed that the date of birth in the character certificate of School Leaving Certificate (SLC) is mentioned as April 25, 1954.
This clearly shows that his date of birth differs in certificates and citizenships. In the original citizenship certificate and character certificates, there is a gap of more than a year about date of birth. Parajuli should have accepted the date of birth mentioned in the character certificate of the SLC but he remained in power based on the decision taken by the judicial council. Holding office on the basis of such decision is damaging to the sanctity of the Supreme Court. No one is above the law and there should be no compromise on judicial freedom. So we cannot be just mute spectators in such a situation.
As per the Judicial Act 2016, Chief Justice Parajuli should have retired on August 5, 2017 to protect the dignity and judicial freedom, and as per the Act I cannot see the case on moral and legal grounds. (PR)
Patan Bar seeks CJ’s resignation
Kathmandu: The Nepal Bar Association, Patan High Court Chapter has demanded the resignation of Chief Justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli.
In a statement released on Monday, Bar’s Secretary Tara Kumar Shrestha said that the Bar’s serious attention has been drawn towards the decision taken by Justice Cholendra Rana. “This is the first event in Nepal’s judicial history and it has already been clear that there are discrepancies in the date of birth of Chief Justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli. To maintain the prestige and dignity of judiciary, we ask Chief Justice Parajuli to step down,” the statement reads. (PR)