World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


NEPAL: Controversial Judges set to get vindictive

NEPAL: Controversial supreme Court Judges set to get vindictive

The Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee (PHSC) has endorsed the eight nominees for judges to the Supreme Court on 27 May 2014. Six judges, namely Gopal Parajuli, Deepak Raj Joshi, Govinda Upadhyay, Devendra Gopal Shrestha, Cholendra Shumsher Rana, and Jagdish Sharma Poudel, have been elected through voting. Two others, Om Prakash Mishra and Baidya Nath Upadhyay, recommended by the Judicial Council, have also been approved unanimously by the PHSC.

The PHSC was formed to conduct an inquiry into the 22 complaints filed against the eight nominees. Old allegations of corruption, sexual harassment, polygamy, and deviation from justice involving the nominees resurfaced, creating controversy. Kantipur daily and Setopati digital paper ran detailed stories about the dubious track records of these newly appointed judges.

During the course of hearing, tension increased between the PHSC and the Judicial Council after the latter refused to appear before the committee to explain the nomination process. This posturing raised the specter of a turf war between the legislature and the judiciary. But, the issue was closed following a Supreme Court order. The order stated that the Judicial Council did not need to appear before the committee; the constitution does not require it.

No matter what the managed resolution of the turf battle, the fact remains that the nominated judges and the Chief Justice have controversial images. How can justice be delivered when the public believes the judiciary to be in neck deep corruption and controversy? Nepalese institutions and the Supreme Court have been affected by a lack of resources, a fact the AHRC has been frequently raising. It is the responsibility of the state to provide adequate resources so that institutions and officials do not have to resort to corruption. The judiciary should follow the prescribed code of conduct. Having a code of conduct is not enough. If there is no accountability, then it should be ensured that there is a forum to raise such issues. A mechanism is required to check whether state resources are properly used. Even a single person misusing the Supreme Court’s resources is a serious breach.

For instance, the Supreme Court Chief Justice Damodar Prasad Sharma is found to have been using 6 government vehicles for his personal use, which is against the existing provision of the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice is entitled to one vehicle and 250 litres of petrol a month. This is a blatant misuse of government resources, a corrupt mentality.

Chief Justice Sharma referred to as ‘Baba’ has been building a 24-room mansion in Devghat (a sacred place for Hindus) and has appointed 3 people on government salaries in order to manage it. Interestingly, these individuals have been receiving their salaries from the District Court Chitwan and the District Court Hetauda, one of them for the past 14 months and counting.

The judiciary in Nepal is not only corrupt. It has also become highly politicized. The Judicial Council has sparked controversy, and in a sense, exposed the judiciary by recommending judges with tainted images. The council has been criticized inside and outside Nepal. It is clear that these appointments were done to accommodate political favoritism and nepotism. A continuation of such practice will jeopardize the justice system in Nepal and prevent the establishment of the rule of law. In order for the judiciary to be independent, it requires independent judges. But the judges appear to want to take the blessings of politicians after their appointments. This is another clear indication that the system is corrupt and flawed. How can impartial justice be expected from these political appointees at the Supreme Court?

Nepal should clean up this mess.

Judicial independence is essential for establishing the rule of law and for the effective protection of fundamental human rights and securing the freedoms of the people. The Judicial Council should recommend and make appointments - qualified and non-political appointments - only on the basis of intellectual capacity, analytical skills, and ability to make fair decisions.

The AHRC is concerned that the Supreme Court has initiated steps to take action against Kantipur daily and Setopati digital paper for raising questions about the honesty and integrity of recently appointed Supreme Court judges, including Chief Justice Damodar Prasad Sharma. In the Supreme Court’s first meeting after the appointments, a decision was made to take action against the journalists and media houses that have, according to them, attacked the judiciary. As per a report, the newly appointed justice Gopal Parajuli made the proposal, which quickly received a vote of support from the Chief Justice.

The AHRC calls upon the Supreme Court to respect the freedom of speech and the right to information of the general public. The court should refrain from taking any vindictive action against Setopati digital paper and Kantipur daily. Freedom of the press is essential to bring light to otherwise non-transparent institutions, especially in matters related to corruption. In bringing the truth to the public, such media houses are in fact creating possibilities for a stronger judiciary that can serve the need of the people, not just work for selected politicians and moneybags.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

As Health Needs Rise In Somalia, Funding Hits New Low

As health needs rise in Somalia, funding hits new low, cutting off 1.5 million from care – UN More>>

Need To End Violence Against Children In Conflict

‘We should be outraged’ more not being done to end violence against children in conflict – UNICEF chief More>>

On Mandela Day, UN Joins Call To Promote Community Service

Nelson Mandela, then Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran More>>

Some $3.2 Billion Needed For Ebola Recovery Efforts

Some $3.2 billion needed for Ebola recovery efforts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – UN More>>

World Day: UN Spotlights Plight Of Vulnerable Populalations

Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting near the Syrian city of Kobani wait in a holding area before boarding buses in Turkey (September 2014). Photo: UNHCR /I. Prickett More>>

Afghanisatan: Direct Talks Between Government And Taliban

The United Nations Security Council has welcomed the recently held direct talks between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives as a step towards “peace and reconciliation” in the region. More>>

Eradicating World Hunger By 2030

Agriculture workers collect carrots on a farm in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann More>>

Bangladesh: Flood Leads To UN Agency Providing Food Relief

Anwar Hossain unloads cartons of High Energy Biscuits from a pickup truck and transfers them to a distribution center in Kawar Khop union, Ramu upazila, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: WFP/Kamrul Mithon More>>

Ban Says World Must Act Now To Curb Climate Change

Alarmed by melting glacier in Norway, Ban says world must 'act now' to curb climate change More>>

UN Spotlights Data And Technology As Key To Sustainability

The importance of quality data and cutting edge information communication technologies (ICTs) is increasingly critical to the shaping of the future sustainable development agenda, the head of the United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP ) confirmed today. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news