The Nepal Bar Association (NBA) has written to 19 Supreme Court (SC) justices to boycott the benches constituted by Chief Justice (CJ) Cholendra Shumsher Rana.
The NBA that has been agitating against CJ Rana demanding his resignation has written to the justices, who have been boycotting hearing of all the cases apart from habeas corpus petitions for around three weeks, at a time when they are discussing whether to return to duty if CJ Rana starts implementation of the system of assigning cases through draw.
The letter signed by NBA General Secretary Lila Mani Paudel has urged the justices to not stay on the bench picked by the CJ who, they accuse, has finished the public trust on the whole judiciary.
The justices, who are unanimous about boycotting any bench including CJ Rana and are currently hearing only habeas corpus petitions, are not unanimous about what they should do if CJ Rana starts implementation of draw system.
Some are saying that the justices should return to duty if CJ Rana stops picking benches and implements draw system while a few insist that his resignation should be the first condition suspecting that he may have the strategy of continuing as CJ after implementing the system of draw.
A justice confirmed that they received the NBA's letter on Sunday and will discuss about it on Monday. The justice added that the NBA seems to want the justices to even boycott the full court called by CJ Rana despite officially only urging them to boycott the benches in the letter. "NBA office-bearers seem to feel that we must ultimately go for the system of draw but that should be implemented only after CJ Rana resigns. They, have, therefore, urged us to boycott the full court if he calls one to implement the system of draw."
Another justice confided that the justices have also been discussing about the need for them to tell the people about the reasons to boycott the bench in their daily discussions but no decision has been taken on that. The agitating justices have not publicly spoken or issued any statement about their boycott and have been speaking to the media requesting anonymity.
All the SC justices have been demanding CJ Rana's resignation following controversies including picking bench in different cases including those about HoR dissolution, accusations about CJ Rana getting a share of spoils in appointments at constitutional bodies, involvement of CJ Rana in the case about the Constitutional Council, delay in the hearing of case filed making CJ Rana a defendant, and allegations about him seeking share in the Cabinet.
The justices have been boycotting hearing for all the cases except habeas corpus petitions. CJ Rana, however, has been assigning other cases to his single bench and hearing them.