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Appointment of high court judges dragged into controversy

By Our Reporter
Appointment of 80 judges in the vacant posts of the seven high courts on Thursday night has been dragged into controversy as 27 of the judges were selected on the basis of their political leanings and even junior lawyers were made to the post of judges.
A meeting of the Judicial Council held Thursday night had picked up the judges. However, two of the five members of the Judicial Council did not attend the meeting as they were against the idea of appointing political activists of the ruling parties to the post of the judges.
nyay-parisadSenior Justices Vaidhyanath Upadhyaya and Ram Prasad Sitaula were not present in the meeting chaired by Chief Justice Sushila Karki. Other present in the meeting were Justice Padam Prasad Baidik and Law Minister Ajay Shankar Nayak.
Despite the boycotting of the meeting by two members, Chief Justice Karki was compelled to appoint the judges probably at political pressure.
Of the 80 appointed judges 37 are judges of district courts, 16 are employees serving as district attorney and joint secretaries while 27 are the members of Nepal Bar Association.
The appointment was dragged into controversy due to the 27 judges who were the activists of three big parties. Six of the new judges are reported to have associated with the Maoist Centre while 17 judges have been the members or supporters of the Nepali Congress.
A few of the Maoist cadres were appointed judges at the direct intervention of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal though Basrhaman Pun was designated to select judges from the Maoist Centre. Presence of Pun in the JC meeting has also been questioned.
Influential NC leaders including Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi also succeeded to make their men ‘High Court’ judges.
However, the Nepal Bar Association, the Madhes-based parties and even the District Attorneys objected to the appointment. The appointment did not look inclusive as well. Only four Madhesis, one Tharu and one Moslem were among the appointed judges. Similarly, only six women were picked for the post of judges violating the constitutional provision.
Above all, the high courts that should be kept free from politics have turned into recruitment filed for the political parties. This will not help in making the court verdicts free and fair. Judiciary, one of major branches of government should be kept away from politics, but Chief Justice Karki failed to tolerate the pressure from the ruling parties and appointed party activists in the new high courts created as per the new constitution. It was a blunder committed by Chief Justice Karki during her term in the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) has expressed its solidarity to the protest programmes to be staged from the Nepal Bar Association and all other stakeholders saying that the recent recommendation of judges in the High Court was not inclusive but unconstitutional.

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