The Supreme Court (SC) will pick benches by draw from today.
The full court meeting on November 25 had taken a decision to implement draw system from December 1. The justices on November 24 had written to the chief registrar of the SC to convene full court to implement the draw system.
The full court meeting of 18 SC justices apart from Chief Justice (CJ) Cholendra Shumsher Rana on November 18 had endorsed the regulation and directive about system of draw to deny the CJ the discretionary powers to pick the benches and assign cases to them as the CJ pleased.
The regulation stated that the full court should decide about the date to start implementation of the draw system.
The cause-list management division will continue to prepare the list of cases to be heard one week in advance like earlier. But who those cases will be assigned to will be decided by draw. The justices will have to take part in the draw first for formation of benches, and then again for the cases after the benches have been formed.
All the 21 justices including the CJ will now be assigned numbers on the basis of their ranking with the higher ranked justices taking turns to pick the balls first starting with the CJ. The justices will be assigned single bench on the basis of the balls they draw.
The number of joint benches that has to be formed will be decided by the number of justices present that day after drawing the single benches. The number of joint benches will be half the number of justices remanining. Each of the joint benches will then be headed by the senior most justices who remain after picking the draw for single benches to ensure that each of the joint bench includes at least a senior justice. The remaining lower-ranked justices will then draw the balls on the basis of seniority to decide which of the joint benches they will join.
The process for the joint benches will be reversed the next day though with the junior most justices who remain after picking the draw for single benches included in each of the joint benches to be picked. The remaining senior justices will then pick balls to decide which of the joint benches they will head. Each of the joint bench will have one senior justice and one junior justice even in this manner.
Senior justices will again head the joint benches the next day and junior justices draw balls to decide which of the joint benches they will join and the process is revered the next day and so on.
Full bench or extended full bench will also be formed by picking draw on the days they have to be formed. Draw for the full bench and extended full bench will be made first. Single and joint benches will then be formed by draw with the justices remaining after forming the full or extended full bench.
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. They had been boycotting the benches picked by CJ Rana and not sharing joint bench with him.
They got the draw system implemented by holding full court meeting excluding CJ Rana. They have returned to duty with implementation of the system of draw but will not share joint bench with CJ Rana.
CJ Rana, meanwhile, is recovering at the APF Hospital in Balambu after suffering from COVID-19.
The Nepal Bar Association (NBA), that has been agitating demanding CJ Rana's resignation, has said it will continue demonstration at the SC premises demanding CJ Rana's resignation and implementation of draw system even at district and high courts.