The Nepal Bar Association (NBA) has decided to seek resignation of Chief Justice (CJ) Cholendra Shumsher Rana.
The NBA has decided to seek CJ Rana's decision during its meeting on Monday but will make its position public only on Tuesday, according to an NBA office-bearer.
"CJ has been mired in controversy due to issues including seeking a share in the federal Cabinet, lack of transparency in picking benches for cases, and refusal to reform the judiciary," the office-bearer stated. "He has already lost moral grounds to lead the judiciary. There is, therefore, intense pressure to make him resign. The NBA meeting today has also formed a position to seek his resignation. We will make our position clear after holding discussion with NBA advisors tomorrow."
NBA representatives met CJ Rana on Sunday to discuss about assigning cases to justices through draw and other contemporary issues. CJ Rana said that he is ready to implement the system of assigning cases to the judges through draw during the discussion.
"I have no problem in implementing the draw system. I am ready to even start from tomorrow. But it will not happen by you telling me alone," an NBA member who attended the meeting quoted CJ Rana as saying.
Rana also claimed that he had nothing to do with appointment of his brother-in-law Gajendra Hamal as minister.
CJ Rana contended that he had no role in making Hamal minister and added that he does not even exchange visits with Hamal. "He is elder brother of my wife who died in 1984. We don't even exchange meetings now. But I was linked to the issue after he was made minister. I am not even involved in making him minister. I am a CJ and can't even respond to the sundry allegations by everyone," the member quoted Rana as saying.
Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Gajendra Hamal had resigned on October 10 following widespread criticism over appointment of the brother of CJ Rana's wife despite not being a federal lawmaker.
Prime Minister (PM) Sher Bahadur Deuba's secretariat claimed that he advised Hamal to resign but Hamal claimed he resigned of his own volition listening to his conscience to avoid controversy pointing that he is not someone who will do anything for post. "PM Deuba will also be under pressure to approve my resignation after the media reports about my impending resignation," Hamal had told Setopati confirming his decision to resign well before the Deuba's secretariat claimed that Deuba advised him to resign.
Deuba appointed Hamal, who is not even a federal lawmaker, as minister during the Cabinet expansion on October 8 ahead of many aspiring lawmakers from Deuba's party Nepali Congress (NC).
Hamal was made minister as per the provision in the Constitution that allows any person who is not federal lawmaker to become minister for six months.
CJ Rana had also reportedly recommended Deepak Timalsina, who is well-connected to the Supreme Court (SC), as a minister along with Hamal but Deuba did not induct Timalsina in the Cabinet following widespread criticism.
Setopati had first reported that Deuba had proposed coalition partners that two ministries should be given to the judiciary.
Hamal has good connection with both Deuba and Rana. Hamal is elder brother of the first wife of Rana, according to a family source of Hamal. Rana married again after his first wife died.
Hamal, who was Nepali Congress (NC) president of Banke over two decades back, had used his relation with Deuba to get Rana promoted to the SC from the then Appellate Court. Rana apparently wanted to pay his brother-in-law back now.
Hamal is no longer active in politics but his younger brother Surendra Hamal is provincial assembly member in Lumbini from NC
Deuba had a very close friendship with Bhairaja Hamal, elder brother of Gajendra and Surendra, according to a senior NC leader from Banke. "Bhairaja died at the age of 42. His brothers joined politics only after that," added the leader.
Setopati on October 3 reported that CJ Rana had demanded two ministries or at least one during Cabinet expansion. Three leaders of separate parties in the ruling coalition corroborated that Rana demanded his confidant Deepak Timalsina be made minister as per the provision in the Constitution that allows any person who is not federal lawmaker to become minister for six months.
CJ Rana has also been accused of appointing his confidants in constitutional bodies in connivance with the then prime minister KP Sharma Oli last year after Oli brought an ordinance related to the Constitutional Council to make appointments at the vacant positions in constitutional bodies.
A CPN-UML leader claimed that Rana had sought share in the Cabinet even with Oli. "CJ had demanded a minister and two ambassadors then. Oli told him that he is ready to give any position in the judiciary but not in the executive organ. Rana was furious with Oli after that," the leader confided.
The leader added that Rana wanted to make Krishna Prasad Uprety, husband of his elder sister, ambassador then. He is taking initiative to make Uprety, who is promoter of KP cement in Dhading envoy, even now.
Another leader claimed that Deuba is almost ready to make Uprety envoy to South Korea.