Building of Supreme Court located at Ramshah Path in Kathmandu. (File photo/Khabarhub)
KATHMANDU: Amidst the mounting tension at the Supreme Court (SC) aroused by the allegations against Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana, an informal meeting of the majority of the Apex Court judges has concluded that CJ Rana should be subjected to investigation now.
The informal meeting of the Supreme Court’s majority judges, including Senior Justice Deepak Kumar Karki, reviewed the credibility of the Supreme Court and serious allegations against CJ Rana.
The judges participating in the meeting were of the view that most of the news relating to CJ Rana’s interest in power sharing were true and it is high time to seek some way out as the judicial leadership is regarded as incompetent. Chief Justice Rana did not assign any case to him on Sunday as well, the third day of the Supreme Court’s opening.
Earlier, Rana had not assigned any cases to his bench even on Thursday and Friday.
A judge, who did not want to be named, told Khabarhub that the meeting discussed issues related to the role of the Chief Justice in power, opacity of the judicial leadership, corruption and the measures to be taken to make the process of assigning case to the bench more transparent.
Stating that the activities of Chief Justice Rana have tarnished the image of the entire judiciary, the judge said that the meeting discussed about the role of the judge in maintaining the credibility of justice.
“The judiciary has never been so infamous in history,” he said, adding, “Many questions have been raised, the controversies of the court have reached the streets. In such a scenario, if the Chief Justice is not investigated, public confidence in the court will be lost for good.”
Majority judges at the Apex Court opined that Chief Justice Rana should be liberal enough to allow investigation into the allegations against him even if they might be wrong and biased.
“Why is the Chief Justice wasting time in meetings with the political leadership rather than forming a committee to investigate?” a judge asked under anonymity.
Speaking to Khabarhub on condition of anonymity, another judge said that Chief Justice Rana was involved in controversies one after another.
“The credibility of Nepal’s Supreme Court has been ruined today because the Chief Justice has been involved in serious deviations, unethical coordination and non-judicial activities,” he said. He regretted that people think they can predict verdicts that might come from the Bench of Chief Justice Rana.
“The Constitutional Court has been made the center for the fulfilment of self-interest,” the judge said disappointedly, adding, “There is a lot of controversy in the court. In view of this situation, we also discussed the issue of going against the Chief Justice in order to save the dignity of Nepal’s judiciary.”
He shared that the meeting viewed that Chief Justice Rana should immediately choose between proving himself with evidence and answering the questions raised against him by making room for an impartial inquiry.
Justices Anil Kumar Sinha and Sapana Malla Pradhan have been on leave since Sunday while a majority of Supreme Court judges are debating against the Chief Justice. Judge Ishwar Khatiwada had left for the United States for Dashain and was absent in the Sunday’s meeting.
Rana summoned meeting of full court before Dashain was merely a formality as it failed to address critical issues despite the looming threats against the judiciary. In the meeting, Justices Ishwar Khatiwada and Prakash Man Singh Raut were of the view that the court should start assigning cases through automation system as the court had become infamous one after another due to Chief Justice Rana.
Of the 20 judges in the Supreme Court, at least 13 are said to be in favor of investigating the questions raised against Chief Justice Rana. They opined that they should seek resignation of CJ Rana just even to retain the dignity and credibility of judiciary provided that the Chief Justice does not cooperate with the investigation.
According to highly placed sources, Chief Justice Rana is backed only by Justices Tej Bahadur KC, Bam Kumar Shrestha, Manoj Kumar Sharma and Kumar Chudal.
Judges including Senior Judges Deepak Kumar Karki, Meera Khadka, Harikrishna Karki, Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha, Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada, Ananda Mohan Bhattarai, Anil Kumar Sinha, Prakash Man Singh Raut, Sapana Pradhan Malla, Tanka Bahadur Moktan, Prakash Kumar Dhungana and Sushmalata Mathema are in favor of investigating the Chief Justice.
Judges Kumar Regmi, Hari Prasad Phunyal and Nahkul Subedi said all judges should be responsible for enhancing the credibility of the judiciary.
The next day looks thorny for Chief Justice Rana as he has lost with the majority of the Supreme Court judges.
Meanwhile, as voices are being raised that Chief Justice Rana should pave the way, the former judges’ forums and former chief justices have also started discussions to make their views public and demand the resignation of Chief Justice Rana for the credibility of the court.