Chief Justice (CJ) Cholendra Shumsher Rana. (File photo)
KATHMANDU: The news that Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana asked for a quota to appoint his people as ministers and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba agreed to it has sparked a backlash since Saturday.
Reportedly, Chief Justice Rana had recommended the name of a non-MP to the Prime Minister for appointment as minister.
The public expressed surprise that the Chief Justice sought to participate in the Council of Ministers. Concern were raised that such a demand by the Chief Justice would deprive the judiciary of its independence.
Amid such public reactions, a team from the Supreme Court Bar Association met Chief Justice Rana Monday to inquire about the news.
Chief Justice Rana told the Supreme Court team that what was reported in the news was false and that he had never expressed such a desire.
According to Supreme Court Bar member Anantraj Luintel, Rana has never been interested in forming a government and appointing ministers as the prime minister has all the responsibility.
Chief Justice Rana also said that he was committed to the observance and protection of the constitution. Luintel said that Rana had denied the news and issued a statement on Monday.
The Bar team had told Rana that if the Chief Justice sought to participate in the appointment of a minister, it would be against the independence of the judiciary.
There was also talk of a defamation suit if the news was false.
According to Luintel, a member of the Bar who participated in the meeting, Chief Justice Rana had informed that he would not take up the issue of defamation as he was a supporter of personal freedom but would refute it and clarify his point.
The Supreme Court is set to respond further by looking at the Chief Justice’s statement.
The team of the Supreme Bar had nine participants, including Chairman Purnaman Shakya, Vice Chairman Mukunda Poudel, Secretary Rishi Ghimire and member Luintel.
Chandeshwar Shrestha, president of the Nepal Bar Association, said, “Previously there used to be an allegation that a corrupt person entered the government. Now the judiciary is said to be seeking a share in the government. Let’s hope this news is false.”
Many such reactions have appeared on Twitter and Facebook. Many have expressed surprise at the silence of the Chief Justice and accused him of trying to make his people ministers by taking advantage of the verdict against the previous government.
In the meantime, Chief Justice Rana has issued a press statement on Monday afternoon claiming that the news relating to his people’s participation in the government was fake and cabinet formation is solely the responsibility of the Prime Minister.