NBA united to protest against appointment of Justices
Kathmandu Jan 2-Nepal Bar Association (NBA) advisory committee comprising senior lawyers suggested the NBA to protest against the appointment of the supporters of the royal takeover to the posts of ad-hoc justices of the Supreme Court (SC).Angry lawyers strongly criticised appointment of former Attorney General Pawan Kumar Ojha as an ad hoc judge in the Supreme Court. A meeting of senior lawyers, former presidents of the Nepal Bar Association and advocates also urged the Nepal Bar Association to boycott benches of recently appointed judges on Sunday.
Monday's central committee meeting of the NBA will decide the nature of the protest.
The lawyers said that the appointment of Ojha showed that the government wants to interfere in the independent judiciary. Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel, with the consent of King Gyanendra, appointed Ojha, Tahir Ali Ansari, Rajendra Prasad Koirala and Bipulendra Chakravarti as judges of the SC.
Senior advocate Basudev Dhungana said that this was a serious interference in the independence of the judiciary and that the legal community should prepare to stop this. He also voiced doubts about the judiciary's independence after these appointments.
Former speaker Daman Nath Dhungana, urged lawyers to oppose the appointments. "This must be opposed so that the autocratic government does not try such things again," reports quoted Dhungana as saying.
Former president of the NBA, Sindhu Nath Pyakurel, said the King wanted to make the judiciary support his moves, and hence he had appointed persons like Ojha. "We cannot accept such people as judges in the apex court," he said. He addedthat it was nothing more than undermining lawyers' bodies by neglecting recommendations of the NBA.
Another former president of the NBA, Harihar Dahal, said people could not be assured of such judges protecting their rights. Former general secretary of NBA, Prakash Wasti, urged for evaluating their commitment to the independence of the judiciary, rule of law and protection of human rights.
Another former general secretary of the NBA, Agni Kharel, warned that if NBA failed to strongly oppose the appointments, the autocratic regime would try and use the SC to cover up the royal takeover of February 1.
"If NBA cannot force them to resign, the existence of the NBA will be in danger in the days to come," another former general secretary of the NBA, Hari Krishna Karki said.
Senior advocates Ratan Lal Kanaudiya, Shyam Kharel, Khem Narayan Dhungana and advocates Kamal Narayan Das and Ram Nath Mainali, Babu Raja Joshi also opposed the appointments, saying it was autocracy's backdoor entry into the judiciary for curbing the latter's independence.
Chief of the Nepal Law Campus, Guna Nidhi Neupane, said it was the question of interference by autocracy into the judiciary rather than appointment of any particular person. Hence, everyone should oppose such appointments.
Senior advocates Ratan Lal Kanaudiya, Shyam Kharel, Khem Narayan Dhungana and advocates Kamal Narayan Das, Ram Nath Mainali and Babu Raja Joshi also opposed the appointments, saying it was autocracy's backdoor entry into the judiciary for curbing the latter's independence.
Unit office-bearers Indra Lohani and Ishowari Bhattarai urged the NBA to launch strong protest programmes against recent appointments.
However, senior advocate Sarbagya Ratna Tuladhar and Supreme Court Bar Association President Dhurba Lal Pant had defended the appointments during the meeting