FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Next Door Nepal: The creaking citadel
Posted:Sep 17, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Yubaraj Ghimire
 
A promising police officer who aspired to head the organisation resigned from service last week after the Supreme Court dismissed his petition challenging the appointment of his colleague as the police chief. A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Gopal Pasad Parajuli did not respond to Nabaraj Silwal’s contention that he had a better claim to the post than Prakash Aryal, the man the government chose for the job.
 
 
The preference of the apex court on the matter was clear from the beginning. The previous CJ, Sushila Karki, had left no one in doubt that Silwal was her favourite. She retired in May and Parajuli, the man she hated and even tried to stop from heading the court, succeeded her. Thereafter, Silwal had no chance of winning the case. While the appointment of the police chief is deemed the prerogative of the cabinet, the current legal tussle has brought to the fore how the judiciary is getting embroiled in party politics. The breach of lines has cost the institution its credibility. The judiciary’s fall, of course, should not be seen in isolation. But the brazen display of partisan behaviour and open proximity to political parties is a recent phenomenon.
 
 
Soon after the radical political changes in 2006, the key political parties including the Maoists, Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist and the Madhes-based parties, announced they would henceforth rule together and conduct the business of the state on a consensual basis. All of them were fearful of the independence and fair conduct of the judiciary, which on several occasions had reversed decisions not only made by the executive and legislature, but also the king. The new regime wanted to be absolutely sure that the apex court would not come in the way of the political course it intended to pursue.
 
 
The coalition government led by G.P. Koirala decided that all the judges would need to take a “fresh oath” since they had served under the monarchy. No party contested the decision. As the monarchy was put under suspension, Koirala himself assumed charge as the acting head of the state in addition to holding the office of the prime minister. He was at the same time the chief of Nepali Congress Party. He administered the oath of office to the new CJ, Kedar Prasad Giri. The sitting judges were also asked to prove their eligibility through parliamentary hearing that visibly works under the control and diktat of the party leaders. The practice is now incorporated in the constitution. It is normal now for the CJ and other judges to be identified as nominees of one or the other political party. The public also believes that the political “affiliation” of judges influences their ruling. The compromised judiciary is also linked to corruption at the highest political levels.
 
 
The constitution provides for a judicial commission headed by the CJ and including the next senior judge, the law minister, nominees of the prime minister and the Nepal Bar Association to recommend judges to the Supreme Court and the seven provincial high courts. However, with the CJ and judges turning pliant, the ruling party gets to influence the nominations. Of late, many international donors who work in partnership with the apex court are also perceived to be exercising some say in the appointment of judges. International donors inviting a particular judge or a set of judges to participate in an international seminar or workshop is no longer uncommon. The conflict of interest is rarely mentioned.
 
 
CJs in the recent past have “mysteriously” taken up cases already disposed off, and according them unprecedented priority. CJ Sushila Karki accorded top priority to an appeal filed as a PIL and ruled that Lokman Singh Karki, head of the anti-graft Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Authority (CIAA), did not have the prescribed qualification to hold the post. Interestingly, her successor, Parajuli, was one of the judges in the three-member bench headed by CJ Karki’s predecessor that had held that the CIAA chief was qualified to hold the office. Judges may interpret facts differently and rule accordingly. But in the case of Parajuli and Karki, their political affiliations seem to cast a shadow over the functioning of the judiciary and judicial fairness.
 
 
CJ Karki had ruled on the age of Parajuli that shortened the latter’s tenure in office to a mere 54 days. However, CJ Parajuli undid the order citing “previous rulings” and precedents. He is now set for a tenure of 10 months. His ruling in the Silwal case is an endorsement of a decision made by the political parties he is perceived to be close to.
 
 
This is just the tip of the iceberg of corruption and irregularities in the judiciary. When public anger over corruption boils over, the judiciary, and its partner in crime, the political establishment, are likely to face the heat.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office again in Bangladesh in 2009, bilateral relations between New Delhi and Dhaka have been on a steady upward trajectory.
 
read-more
Desperate living conditions and waterborne diseases are threatening more than 320,000 Rohingya refugee children who have fled to southern Bangladesh since late August, including some 10,000 who crossed from Myanmar over the past few days, UNICEF said.
 
read-more
A unique and passionate gathering of acrophiles, or mountain lovers, took place in neat and picturesque Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram state in north-eastern India in September.
 
read-more
India’s foreign policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attained a level of maturity which allows it to assert itself in an effective manner. This is aimed at protecting the country’s national interests in a sustained way.
 
read-more
With over 100 incidents of braid chopping reported in different parts of Kashmir, there is widespread fear and anger among the people.
 
read-more
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China's GDP expanded 6.9 percent year on year in the first three quarters of 2017, an increase of 0.2 percent above that of the corresponding period of last year.
 
read-more
As political roller coasters go, there is none as steep and unpredictable as the one shared by the United States and Iran.
 
read-more
In West Asia, the end of one war paves the way for the next. Raqqa, the Syrian capital of the self-styled Islamic State (IS), has fallen to a coalition of rebels, the Syrian Democratic Forces that is backed by the United States.
 
read-more
On “Defining Our Relationship with India for the Next Century”
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...

 
Column-image

Title: A Bonsai Tree; Author: Narendra Luther; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 227 Many books have been written on India's partition but here is a firsthand account of the horror by a migrant from what is now Pakistan, who ...

 
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive