Nepal's Chief Justice faces impeachment motion

Kathmandu: Nepal’s ruling coalition lawmakers on Sunday filed an impeachment motion against Chief Justice Cholendra Shamsher JB Rana over allegations of corruption.

Spokesperson of the Parliament Secretariat Rajnath Pandey said that the impeachment was registered at 11 a.m.

Rana, who had assumed the post of Chief Justice on January 2, 2019, has been suspended from his post following the registration of impeachment motion against him at the House of Representatives.

A total of 98 lawmakers from ruling alliance including Law and Justice Minister Dilendra Prasad Badu, Nepali Congress Whip Pushpa Bhushal, CPN-Maoist Centre Whip Dev Gurung and CPN-Unified Socialist lawmaker Jeevan Ram Bhandari have signed the proposal to impeach the chief justice.

There is a provision for automatic suspension of the chief justice with the registration of the impeachment motion.

Speaking to the media, Gurung said that the impeachment was registered against the top judge because the court was not functioning properly and there were charges of corruption against the chief justice.

There are 21 charges labelled against the chief justice in the motion. The charges include being unable to safeguard democracy, human rights, rule of law, judicial independence and impartiality. He has also been charged with exposure to excessive distortion, inconsistencies and corruption.

The impeachment motion comes in the wake of more than three months long agitation by Nepal Bar Association against the chief justice after one of his relatives was appointed as minister in the Deuba cabinet, who had later resigned after it sparked controversy.

If the motion is passed by at least two-thirds majority of the total number of the members of the House of Representatives, the chief justice shall be relieved of his office.

Meanwhile, senior Justice Deep Kumar Karki has been appointed as the acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

In 2017, a motion of impeachment was filed against the then Chief Justice Sushila Karki.

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