Chief Justice (CJ) Cholendra Shamsher JB Rana has stated that he will not resign. In an interview with BBC Nepali, he said that he would not resign “under pressure from anyone”.
Stating that he had become the Chief Justice as per the country’s constitutional provision, CJ Rana reiterated that he would not step down just because of the “ongoing street protests and demands for resignation”.
Rana has taken such a stand at a time when the Nepal Bar Association as well as former justices have opposed to his recent working style and are demanding his resignation.
Issuing a 16-point statement on Friday last week, the Society of Former Justices have called upon the House of Representatives (HoR) to fulfill its constitutional responsibility of impeaching the CJ if he doesn’t step down on his own.
Similarly, the Nepal Bar Association has set a 15-day deadline for a commitment to implement an automated case allocation system. Rana had earlier agreed to implement a lottery system until the automated case allocation system is put in place.
‘WILL GO THROUGH DUE PROCESS’
Chief Justice Rana said that his way out was enshrined in the constitution and he was ready to go through due process. “My appointment was constitutional and I will follow the rules enshrined in the statute.”
He said he would not resign under “pressure or influence”.
Former CJs have raised questions over his professional integrity and commitment to uphold the judiciary’s independence.
While a number of decisions made by the Supreme Court have drawn flak, Chief Justice Rana courted a serious controversy most recently for his alleged bargain to make his brother-in-law a minister in the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led Cabinet. Following public outcry, Rana’s brother-in-law Gajendra Hamal resigned soon after being appointed as minister.
A fresh controversy surfaced in the legal fraternity after Rana expressed his reluctance to implement a lottery system to allocate cases for hearing at the Supreme Court though he had agreed for the same in the past.
Former justices have called on the House of Representatives to conduct an impartial inquiry into all controversies surrounding the Chief Justice if he does not resolve the issue by himself.
Prior to this, Chief Justice Rana had courted controversy as a section of the media reported that he had sought his share in the appointments to various constitutional bodies as well as ministries during the KP Sharma Oli-led government.
Writ petitioners have alleged that Chief Justice Rana has been deferring the case related to the appointments to various constitutional bodies.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had issued a statement denying the allegations against the Chief Justice.
CJ Rana first courted controversy nearly two decades ago after he ruled in a case registered at the Biratnagar Appellate Court that playing the game of cards ‘marriage’ was not gambling.