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Interference in judiciary?

By Our Reporter
Acting Chief Justice Deepak Raj Joshee’s recommendation to the post of Chief Justice was rejected by a two-thirds majority in the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee (PHSC) on Friday.
It was the first recommendation made by the Constitutional Council rejected by the PHSC in Nepal’s history. Generally, the PHSC used to endorse the recommendation even if the recommended persons were dragged into controversy as the rejection should be made by a two-thirds majority.
However, this time the PHSC shattered the dream of Joshee to become Chief Justice of Nepal by rejecting his recommendation. His poor performance at the PHSC meeting, suspicious SLC certificates and a few controversial verdicts given by him in the past prevented him from becoming the CJ.
Right from the day his hearing was conducted, there were media reports that the PHSC members were not satisfied with his answers. He had avoided answering many of the questions asked by the PHSC members while he had failed to articulate measures to prevent the court from corruption. After completing the hearing, many of the PHSC members started commenting that Joshee was not fit for the top post.
Meanwhile, the media dug out his other weaknesses, especially his SLC certificate whose symbol number matches with another examinee. Similarly, his controversial verdicts also created uproar, which ultimately resulted in rejecting his recommendation.
Rejection of Joshee recommendation has sent two messages. First, it established that the PHSC can also reject recommendations. In the past, PHSC used to endorse every recommendation as if it had no right to reject them. This will ultimately discourage the appointment of controversial persons in the constitutional bodies.
Second, the rejection is interpreted as an interference of ruling parties in the judiciary. Nepali congress whose four members in the PHSC opposed the rejection has been terming the rejection as interference in the independent judiciary. However, it is only blame. The PHSC should act like a tiger with teeth.
However, the rejection has raised question regarding the competency of the judicial councils and the Constitutional Council. A question can be raised why the Judicial Council recommended Joshee’s name for the post of judge in the Appellate court in 1991 and justice in the Supreme Court in 2014. Likewise, the Constitutional Council headed by Prime Minister K P Oli had recommended him for the post of Chief Justice. But his rejection proved the Constitutional Council had recommended a wrong person to the key post.
Likewise, the rejection of Joshee could be taken as a beginning point to free the judiciary from corrupt because his corrupt attitude reflected in the controversial verdicts has compelled the PHSC to reject him. This shows that now any Justice with controversial past cannot become Chief Justice.
Two former Chief Justices Kalyan Shrestha and Ram Kumar Sah had years ago questioned capacity of Joshee, which had turned true now. Although NC seems to be backing Joshee, the public are happy with his rejection.

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