For the first time in Nepal’s judicial history since 1990, Supreme Court Judge Paramananda Jha has been demoted to the post of chief judge of appellate court two years after serving in the Supreme Court.
The Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel-headed Judicial Council (JC) took the decision on Friday not to extend his tenure citing a drug pedlar acquittal judgement passed by Jha one-and-a-half-years ago. “He has been demoted as he had decided the case in a wrong manner and without proper examination of the evidence,” a member of the JC told .
“We did not extend his tenure as his two-year tenure as SC’s ad hoc judge will end tomorrow,” the member added. Jha had acquitted a drug pedlar Dil Bahadur Gurung overturning the Kathmandu District Court and Patan Appellate Court orders to jail him.
Though the CJ had proposed that Jha be given an extension, other ex-officio members of the JC Kedar Prasad Giri and Min Bahadur Rayamajhi rejected the idea. Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bikram Nembang and royal nominee Bhairav Prasad Lamsal also participated in the JC meeting on Friday which decided not to extend Jha’s tenure but to allow him to work as the chief judge of an appellate court.Immediately after Jha’s decision to acquit Gurung, the JC had formed a three-member panel to investigate the issue. The panel had suggested the CJ to seek Jha’s resignation.
When contacted, Jha said nobody has informed him about the decision. “The JC must inform me, but if they do not extend my tenure I will decide whether or not to go to the Appellate Court again.”In the history ,1973, SC Justice Surendra Prasad Singh was demoted to the post of SC Registrar. According to advocate Prakash Wosti, he was again promoted a few months later. Singh retired a few years ago as Chief Justice.Same aeJudges Prithivi Bahadur Singh and Jaya Dev Bhatta were also demoted from the post of High Court Judges to Zonal Court judges after the High Court was abolished.