Suspended Chief Justice (CJ) Cholendra Shumsher Rana has reached the Singha Durbar on Thursday to face questioning by the impeachment recommendation committee.
Lawmakers of the committee questioned CJ Rana based on the 21 charges slapped against him at the meeting hall of Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee of the House in the Singha Durbar on Wednesday.
The 11-strong committee has prepared 43 questions but could ask only four questions on Wednesday. The committee, therefore, summoned CJ Rana to continue questioning on Thursday.
CJ Rana accused machination of interest groups for registration of impeachment motion against him on Wednesday.
“The then Nepal Bar Association Chairman Chandeshwore Shrestha demanded (appointment) of a judge. General Secretary Leela Mani Paudel came to my chamber and demanded chief judge,” Rana claimed. “Similarly Chair of Supreme Court Bar Purna Man Shakya also had interest over case. But I didn’t comply and said I will honor rule of law. They, therefore, went against me.”
He also asked the impeachment recommendation committee why impeachment motion was registered against him.
“He has asked why the impeachment motion was brought against him and why it has come into discussion,” Nepali Congress (NC) Whip and member of the impeachment recommendation committee Min Bishwokarma told Setopati.
Rana commented that the impeachment motion has already become defunct and he reported for questioning only due to his respect for the House.
Lawmakers also put counter questions on Rana’s response to the questions, according to Bishwokarma. “His effort to lay the blame on others against the constitutional provision requiring the CJ to take responsibility for all activities and verdicts inside the judiciary is to go beyond the limit.”
CJ Rana also refuted allegations that he bargained before delivering court verdicts.
The committee’s meeting on August 24 had decided to summon him for questioning at 11 am on August 31. The meeting had also endorsed the committee’s working procedure and schedule including that for gathering of evidence.
The committee will have to complete its work within three months.
Lawmakers who had registered the impeachment motion have leveled 21 different charges against the CJ Rana.
A total of 98 ruling HoR members had registered the impeachment motion against CJ Rana on February 13. He has been suspended since then.
CPN (Maoist Center) lawmaker Dev Gurung, who had proposed the impeachment motion along with Pushpa Bhusal of Nepali Congress (NC) and Jeevan Ram Shrestha of CPN (Unified Socialist), had presented the impeachment proposal for discussion in the House on March 13.
Clause 161 of the HoR regulations has set a deadline for each step in a way that speaker cannot sit on the process once an impeachment proposal is registered. Speaker is obliged to set a date for discussion within seven days of registration. If the House session is not on, the House session should be called within 15 days and discussion on the proposal held within three days of the start of session as per the regulations.
But Speaker Sapkota had not held discussion in almost three months after start of the budget session of the federal parliament.