The impeachment motion registered by 249 lawmakers of Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Centre in Parliament Secretariat against Chief Justice Sushila Karki on Sunday has sharply polarized the political spectrum.
For the general public, the move was totally unexpected, given the public image of Karki as a clean, honest, and fearless justice who has taken something of a no-tolerance approach to corruption, the way she had given priority to corruption cases which have been settled without any fear. Coincidentally, she settled the Sudan corruption scandal the same day as an impeachment motion against her was being registered, sentencing three former police chiefs to jail along with fines.
More such cases were waiting in the line for disposal soon. And the IGP appointment case was to be heard today. And not long ago, she had ordered the government and the police to arrest Balkrishna Dhungel, former Maoist lawmaker, convicted by the apex court, within seven days.
And she had recently ordered for the submission of all the educational certificates of all judges from the SLC level upwards when controversy arose over the SLC certificate of a sitting SC judge. These and other orders or verdicts by her have built a certain reputation for her as a justice, which generally goes to her credit.
And these very strengths seem to have triggered the impeachment motion, at the latest over the IGP appointment case, which has been taken by the ruling parties as the judiciary’s encroachment on the executive’s territory. On Karki’s weaker side as a judge, she has been portrayed by some, including lawyers, having some problems with her leadership style – maybe a bit pushy, somewhat arrogant, or to some extent pursuing some cases with somewhat of a zeal, more than what is fitting for a judge whose impartiality should be seen to be impartial too.
In the IGP case, the ruling parties seem to have considered her sympathy for DIG Nawaraj Silwal a bit excessive, particularly after the appointment of a new IGP following the court order.
After all, Karki does not seem to have done anything fit to attract as serious action as an impeachment motion, which is the severest type of action against the holder of a constitutional post such as that of the apex court chief.
Such a motion should first have been discussed by experts and in public for a pretty long time before registering it, because the secretive and sudden and hurried manner in which it was carried out tends to give strength to the charge that the ruling parties were not completely in the right. An impeachment motion against the then CIAA chief, Lokman Singh Karki, had been registered in a similar manner but huge public opinion had long been formed against him for impeachment.
Moreover, it is a mystery why the impeachment motion has been brought against her despite knowing that she retires in five weeks and to take the motion to a logical conclusion takes at least one and a half months. Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi has resigned citing the impeachment as reason.
The motion has set a bad precedent of bringing it even for lesser offences or because of one’s disagreement with the verdict(s) of a judge. Its repercussions will be felt long afterward.
Criminal groups use firearms and ammunition to influence the election results in favour of the political parties that they support. This is the reason why the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an order to submit the licensed firearms until the elections are over.
According to the ministry, there are around 34,000 licensed firearms distributed to as many as 10,000 persons across the country. But only 826 firearms have so far been received by the district administration offices and police units across the country.
In Kathmandu Valley alone there are 13,322 licensed firearms issued to people to protect their lives and property.
The negligence to surrender the licensed firearms upon demand by the government is sheer disobedience to the state order. The licenses of firearms issued to those persons who have defied the order must not be renewed in the future as those weapons can be misused during the election to influence the election results in their favour.
EC has also asked the concerned ministry to collect those arms and ammunition until the elections are over.
The Himalayan Times, May 2, 2017