Thursday, January 18, 2007

Prime Minister to swear in Chief Justice

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala will swear in Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel at a special swearing-in ceremony on thrusday. The decision to this effect was taken at the end of a special cabinet council meeting on wednesday.
The decision to have Chief Justice and other justices take fresh oath of office was taken today in accordance with Article 162 (2) of the interim constitution that explicitly states that the judges will have to take fresh oath and anyone refusing to do so would stand dismissed.
“The cabinet decided on wednesday that Chief Justice should be sworn in by Prime Minister tomorrow. Other judges will be sworn in by the Chief Justice,” said Minister of Land Reforms and Management Prabhu Narayan Chaudhari .
The decision puts an end to the speculation over who will swear in Chief Justice Paudel since the constitutional clause merely states, “Oath will be imparted by anyone who is stipulated to do so by the government.”
mainwhile A full court meeting of the Supreme Court judges decided to continue work in SC and subordinate courts even without taking fresh oath of office as required by the Interim Constitution.
“We have decided to continue our regular business, as a majority of judges are against halting justice dispensation process,” a SC judge who attended the meeting . Justice Anup Raj Sharma, however, opposed the idea.
“The full court has decided to take fresh oath later after the government prepares procedures as per Article 162 (2) of the Interim Constitution,” Supreme Court spokesperson Durga Prasad Dawadi said in a press release issued after the meeting. “According to the full court, judges’ continuation of jobs without taking oath of office is not against the spirit of the Interim Constitution,” it stated.
Most of the judges expressed their views in favour of continuing work saying that it would be impractical to halt regular court business. Some judges opined to stick to the provision of the interim statute that requires them (judges) to take fresh oath of office before hearing a case.
Most of the judges, barring Justice Anup Raj Sharma, heard cases after the full court meeting, while Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha was not present in the office .
As soon as the Full Court meeting concluded, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula went to the Supreme Court and presented a draft of procedures for administering oath of office to the judges. “Sitaula said the government would finalise the procedures soon,” a judge said. Talking to journalists, Sitaula said he took up the draft (of oath taking procedures) prepared by the government with the judges.
Meanwhile, newly elected president of the Nepal Bar Association, Bishwa Kanta Mainali, expressed concern over judges’ decision to hear cases before taking fresh oath of office.
“It was wrong on the part of judges to hear cases before taking fresh oath, as the Interim Constitution has made the same mandatory,” Mainali said.
Former Attorney General Sarvagya Ratna Tuladhar also opposed the full court decision saying that it was not an appropriate interpretation of the Interim Constitution.
“Fresh oath is a must for a judge before hearing a case, as the Interim Constitution has already come into force,” Tuladhar added.

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