Court’s image has been tarnished; Chief Justice should step down: Former President Dr. Yadav


Court’s image has been tarnished; Chief Justice should step down: Former President Dr. Yadav

Nepal’s first President, Dr. Ram Baran Yadav unhesitantly says the current controversy in the Supreme Court has caused great damage. Chief Justice Cholendra Shamsher Rana has lost his integrity. Therefore, he believes that CJ Rana must step down. If not, the political parties should impeach him.

The political system that we have adopted is not wrong, the characters are not right. Former President Yadav is confident that democracy will gradually manage the situation.

In a conversation with Govinda Luitel and Tejendra Kafle of Khabarhub, Dr. Yadav talked about distortions in politics, increasing environmental destruction and COP-26. Excerpts:

Nepal judiciary has been entangled in a controversy of late. Judges and lawyers are agitated demanding the resignation of the Chief Justice. What is your observation?

The country’s judiciary never in its history witnessed such an unfortunate situation. This has made all of us unhappy. Even the habeas corpus hearings have been obstructed. This, as I said earlier, is unfortunate. This should not have happened. This has to be resolved immediately.

Who do you blame for this – the system or an individual?

We are exercising a democratic system. The present constitution is a document that has been promulgated through sacrifices. Moreover, this system is the outcome of the people’s movements against the Rana regime, the 2017 BS political change, the political change of 1990, the decade-long Maoist insurgency, the movement to establish a republican setup, and the two Constituent Assembly elections.

The country’s present political leaders have worked with great leaders such as BP Koirala, Subarna Shamsher, Ganeshman Singh, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, Girija Prasad Koirala, Manmohan Adhikari and Pushpalal, among others. I also worked with these leaders, who had a sense of dedication. Unfortunately, the leaders now have become power-centric. Focus on institutionalizing democracy has diminished; greed for power has increased.

Unfortunately, there is no ‘right man in the right place’ in the state organs. Judiciary is a holy institution. It demands high morals. There should be people of high moral character in all constitutional bodies.

The Constitutional Council consists of the Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Chairperson of the National Assembly and Leader of the Opposition party.

The appointments in the Constitutional bodies have not been carried out judiciously.

Appointments have been made on a power-sharing basis. Regrettably, even a judge has started seeking a share in the cabinet. The Chief Justice (Cholendra Shamsher Rana) has shown wrong intentions. The Chief Justice could have advised the Prime Minister, but he took the initiative to make the appointment through an ordinance.

The court’s image has tarnished because of the Chief Justice. This has to stop immediately. The Chief Justice should step down.

Is CJ’s resignation the only way out? Or, do you see any other option to retain the judiciary’s image?

I would say resignation is important. His colleagues (Supreme Court justices) and the Bar (Nepal Bar Association) are agitating against him.

The Chief Justice has lost his dignity and trust. If this continues, the court, too, would lose its trust.

The court has no army, no police, and no batons. It is run by public trust. The last place to go for justice is the court. That is why it is called the Temple of Justice. Therefore, the Chief Justice should resign to preserve the court’s faith and trust.

Political parties have been criticized for remaining silent on the issue. What is your take on this?

The parties have shown reluctance to speak loud and clear on the issue. However, political leaders have brought their views forward.

How do you look at the role of the current President?

It is not appropriate for me to comment on this issue, but the President seems to have supported the Executive Head (Prime Minister) without any consideration.

The Constitution did not have any clause of dissolution of the House of Representatives. She could have consulted with the experts after receiving the recommendation of the Prime Minister. She also could have advised the Prime Minister that dissolution was not appropriate. Or, she could have sought the opinion of the Supreme Court. She dissolved the HoR in haste.

Two state organs joined hands to attack another state organ (judiciary). The chief executive, with the help of the President, hit the Constitution. The representative body of 30 million people was dissolved twice.

The Supreme Court reinstated the House of Representatives both times. Democracy survived. We should all thank the Supreme Court.

But now the Chief Justice has done a disservice to the court because of which doubts have been raised over the current political system. I have heard voices saying that democracy will fail.

Is it that the current mess is an outcome of the corruption in the judiciary that started in 1990?

No. In fact, there have been some mistakes, especially during the republican period. Therefore, acceptance is the only way out to improve those errors. The first Constituent Assembly was dissolved. As the President, I wanted to make a Constitution from the Constituent Assembly by holding another election.


I was worried about giving a way out by ending the stalemate. In a way, I was a bit nervous. Political parties could not nominate a Prime Minister. We compulsorily brought the Chief Justice into the government.

In fact, I need to admit the fact that I could not do justice to the court then. Again, the Chief Justice had to be brought into the government with the good intention of making a Constitution by holding elections to the Constituent Assembly.

The election was successful. The Constitution was also promulgated. The country moved forward. However, some mistakes were committed. The Chief Justice should not have been brought into the government but it was a compelling situation then.

Our judiciary has a very good history. The Royal Commission was dismissed by the court itself. The court has also played an important role in safeguarding democracy.

The Chief Justice has said he would not resign. He has said he prefers a graceful exit. Will this affect the overall judiciary?

There has been irreparable damage to the court. It’s too much. The damage he (Chief Justice Rana) has done must be stopped now. The organization is important than him, the system is higher than the organization and the nation is higher and important than the system. The nation should not be harmed. He is not doing the nation any good.

He must leave. If not, we have to go for the constitutional process. Political parties have made a significant contribution to saving democracy. It is high time the political parties broke their silence.

The parties should go for impeachment if the CJ did not resign. The parties should go for it.

Are the political parties reluctant to file an impeachment motion since the Chief Justice reinstated the House of Representatives twice?

It is not the case of the Chief Justice. He was accompanied by other judges. It is the court that made the decision. Therefore, I want to reiterate that he (Chief Justice) should resign.

You expressed dissatisfaction over Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s visit to the United Kingdom to participate in COP-26. Do you think that he (PM Deuba) should not have left the country when the court was marred in disputes?

I did not say that the Prime Minister should not have gone there. Our Prime Minister should take part in such big world events. Even the then Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala had also participated in such international events.

The environment has been seriously affected. Forests are on fire. Animal habitats are destroyed, animals are charred to death. Global warming has increased. Snow has started to melt. There have been floods, landslides, cold waves and storms. We are affected by carbon emissions from two major neighboring countries.

In such a situation, it is important for our Prime Minister to participate in the World Forum. We must consider it an achievement.

I had only said the prime minister should have tried to solve the problem through the ‘Track Two’ effort. I never said he (PM) should not have gone there.

There has been a tripartite confrontation between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. Where do you think this confrontation would take the country?

This is all because of the characters, not the system. Such things happen in the nation-building process. In the United States, we have seen the President rejecting the election results. But the system has been quite strong there.

Wrong people emerge even in a democratic system. We cannot blame the system. The executive can sometimes violate the constitution, but other organs stop it from doing so. That is what the court is for.

Voices against the Constitution, republicanism, federalism and secularism have been heard of late. What is your observation?

These voices or protests are the results of extremism. There are some forces or elements that are against the current system. Fortunately, people are very conscious now.

We have to move forward with democracy in mind. Those who are upset for various reasons should not be ignored to make this system stronger.

What is your take on the continuous obstruction in the House of Representatives even after the reinstatement?

As I said earlier, Nepali people are very conscious. They are in favor of democracy. Therefore, the future of our democracy is bright. The people are honest. Honesty is also needed in political parties and leaders. Democracy does not fail.