General Secretary of the Federal Parliament Secretariat Bharat Raj Gautam has furnished written response to the Supreme Court (SC) about the status of impeachment motion lodged against suspended Chief Justice (CJ) Cholendra Shumsher Rana.
The SC administration had raised questions about the letter sent by Gautam to CJ Rana which stated that the impeachment motion against him had become inactive and asked about the legal provisions the letter was based on.
The constitutional bench comprising Acting CJ Hari Krishna Karki and justices Bishwambhar Shrestha, Ishwar Khatiwada, Ananda Mohan Bhattarai and Anil Sinha had also issued an interim order on Friday to not implement the Parliament Secretariat's letter that had rendered the impeachment motion against suspended CJ Rana ineffective after the full court of SC had sent the letter to the Federal Parliament Secretariat.
The written response sent by the Federal Parliament Secretariat has stated that the questions asked by the full court will be answered while responding to the constitutional bench.
Rana caused ripples in political and judicial circles after he tried to resume his duties as CJ on Wednesday on the basis of Gautam’s letter.
SC Bar Association President Purna Man Shakya and others had then filed a writ petition at the Apex Court demanding an interim order to not implement the letter.
CJ Rana had sent an application to the general secretary of the Federal Parliament on Tuesday seeking information that the impeachment motion had become ineffective.
In his application, CJ Rana had stated that he should be allowed to perform his regular duties as chief justice as the impeachment motion had become ineffective with the end of the Parliament’s term.
Rana, who is set to retire on December 13, had also requested the Federal Parliament Secretariat to inform the bodies concerned so that he could carry out his regular duties.
Responding to his letter, General Secretary of the Federal Parliament Bharat Raj Gautam on Wednesday sent him a letter stating that the impeachment motion has become inactive.
A total of 98 ruling HoR members had registered the impeachment motion against CJ Rana on February 13, leveling 21 different charges against him. 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 the speaker cannot sit on the process once an impeachment proposal is registered. The 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 the then Speaker Agni Sapkota had not held discussion in almost three months after start of the budget session of the federal parliament. The HoR finally decided to send the impeachment motion to the impeachment recommendation committee for discussion on July 31.
It then started questioning of Rana at the end of August and sent a report to the then Speaker Sapkota in September recommending to impeach Rana and stating that his suspension would continue even after dissolution of the HoR for the elections and decision on the impeachment would be taken by the newly elected HoR.
Before the impeachment motion was registered, CJ Rana's resignation was being sought from inside the judiciary too. The majority of SC justices had demanded CJ Rana's resignation following accusations of seeking a share in Cabinet expansion, 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.