Sunday, July 01, 2007

CJ slams allegations as “attempt to defame judiciary”
Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel on Sunday dismissed allegations that he met the parties to sub judice cases at his official Baluwatar residence - a violation of national and international codes of conduct for judges.
The CJ further defended himself stating that the allegation was an attempt to defame judiciary.
Breaking his long silence on the allegations, the CJ denied that he had met any parties to sub judice cases while talking to media persons at Tribhuwan International Airport before leaving on an invitation by his Chinese counterpart to China today.
However, evidence obtained by the media show that the CJ met President of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), Rabindra Nath Sharma, twice at his official quarters ahead of Special Court hearings in two cases concerning Sharma.
When asked that there was sufficient proof that he met the parties to sub judice cases, the CJ Paudel tried to defend himself unsuccessfully and later chose to walk out of the conference room.
"Such allegations and news reports are an attempt to defame judiciary. In my four-decade long career, I've contributed much to the judiciary of the country. I have not violated any code of conducts. Even the thought of violating them has never occurred to me," the CJ tried to convince the media persons in the room.
Claiming that he would have to meet many people in several parties and functions as the CJ of the country, he dismissed allegations that he met any party to sub judice cases at his official residence.
When media persons asked him that RPP President Sharma had also accepted that he met the CJ and that there were enough proofs that he met other parties to sub judice cases under his jurisdiction, Paudel chose not to reply and instead walked out of the room.
Sharma, who was given clean chit by the Supreme court on Wednesday, met the CJ at his official residence first on March 6, three weeks ahead of a hearing in Sharma's case at the Special Court. Besides Sharma, the CJ also met former minister Khum Bahadur Khadka and former Deputy Inspector General of Police Kumar Koirala at his official residence. Both Khadka and Koirala are facing cases at the Supreme Court.
The National Code of Conduct for Judges,1998 and the internationally accepted Bangalore Principles on Judicial Conduct 2002, guidelines intended to establish standards for the ethical conduct of judges, say that a judge should not meet parties to cases being considered in court.
The 19-point national code of conduct, endorsed by a national conference of judges in 1998, states under point number 14 that judges should not have any "dealing" with the parties to cases. "Dealing" also means meeting, says former Supreme Court justice Laxman Prasad Aryal, one of the architects of the code.
The Bangalore Principle is even more explicit on the issue. It says, "A judge shall not allow the use of the judge's residence by a member of the legal profession to receive clients or other members of the legal profession."
However, the existing laws in the country don't say anything about the punishment of judges who breach the code of conduct.

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