Impeachment motion against Nepal's Chief Justice, Home Minister resigns

Anil Giri

Kathmandu, April 30 (IANS) The Nepal government on Sunday registered an impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sushila Karki, leading to the automatic suspension of the first woman to hold the top legal post.

A total 249 lawmakers from the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Centre have accused Karki of interfering in the jurisdiction of the executive and failing to issue verdicts without being prejudiced. The recent dispute between the government and the Supreme Court over the appointment of the police chief is believed to have been the tipping point.

However, apparently protesting the decision which came a fortnight before the crucial local body elections, Deputy Prime Minister Bimalendra Nidhi announced his resignation. Nidhi, who holds the key Home portfolio, leads the Nepali Congress (NC), the largest constituent of the current ruling coalition.

Attorney General Raman Shrestha said it was necessary to impeach CJ Karki for she tampered with the work performance evaluation of the Inspectors General of Police candidates during the recent controversy over the promotion of Nepal Police chief.

Karki, who is slated to retire next month, has also been accused of breaching the sanctity of the court and separation of power, propping up groups and nepotism in the court, failed to execute fair justice and putting unnecessary pressure in the court and his fellow colleagues, among others.

As soon as the Prachanda-led government appointed Jay Bahadur Chand as the new police chief, his competitor Nawaraj Silwal had knocked the door of the Supreme Court claiming he was senior. Later, the court ruled that Silwal be appointed as per merit and seniority. After the dispute, the government had appointed Prakash Aryal as the new IGP of Nepal Police.

Silwal again moved the court last week and fearing that the court, which is due to deliver its verdict on Monday, may rule in favour of Silwal, the two ruling parties decided to register the impeachment motion.

Meanwhile, with Nidhi's quitting, questions have risen over the fate of Nepal's local elections on May 14 and June 14.

Nidhi, who was leading the party in the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government, was dissatisfied since long due to protocol-related issues with his party boss, Sher Bahadur Deuba, and PM Prachanda.

"The appointment of the police chief comes under my ministry. I was not aware about the impeachment motion registered in Parliament," he said, adding that the impeachment motion is related to the IGP's appointment and "I am not consulted".

Nidhi said he has serious reservations over the move to register the impeachment motion against CJ Karki without his knowledge.

--IANS

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