Kathmandu, Aug 31 (PTI) Nepal’s suspended Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana on Wednesday appeared before an impeachment committee of Parliament to present his clarification on several allegations levelled against him.
A total of 98 lawmakers belonging to the ruling coalition Nepali Congress, CPN-Maoist Centre and CPN-Unified Socialist had registered the motion of impeachment against Rana in February with 21 different charges.
Rana, 64, appeared before the Impeachment Recommendation Committee on Wednesday to present his clarification as per the impeachment procedure, officials said.
The recommendation committee on August 24 had decided to summon him for Wednesday to defend himself.
The House panel started recording Rana’s statement in the meeting room of the Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee at Singhadurbar, according to officials.
Journalists were not allowed inside the room except for taking photos and videos of the suspended chief justice.
The Impeachment Recommendation Committee is prepared to ask 43 questions to Rana, according to the committee.
The charges by lawmakers claimed that Rana had promoted corruption in the judiciary, given access to middlemen for bench shopping, which is a term used for the unscrupulous practice of selecting benches through middlemen to ensure a favourable order, bargained with executives and failed to discharge his duties effectively among others.
Rana, who had assumed the post of Chief Justice on January 2, 2019, was suspended from his post following the registration of an impeachment motion against him at the House of Representatives.
There is a provision for automatic suspension of the chief justice with the registration of the impeachment motion.
The impeachment motion was filed following 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 cabinet of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who later resigned after it sparked controversy.
If the motion is passed by at least a two-thirds majority of the total number of the members of the House of Representatives, the chief justice shall be relieved of his office.
In 2017, a motion of impeachment was filed against the then Chief Justice Sushila Karki – the first woman Chief Justice of Nepal. She was automatically suspended from the post after the registration of the motion.
However, Karki was reinstated to her position through a Supreme Court’s stay order. She retired after a few months. PTI SBP AMS AKJ AMS
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