Thursday, November 08, 2007

Nepal Army hosts dinner for Chief Justice

The Legal Department of the Nepali Army (NA) on wednesday organised a dinner at the Army headquarters in honour of newly-appointed Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri.All justices of the apex court, Attorney-General Yagya Murti Banjade, high-ranking officials of the SC, lawmakers, including Speaker Subas Chandra Nembang, and high-profile lawyersattended the dinner.This is the first time that the NA has hosted such a dinner in honour of a newly-appointed CJ.“We do not see any ulterior motive behind this party,” justice Bala Ram KC told after attending the dinner.“We have been attending parties organised by various embassies and we do not feel that attending such parties is against the judges’ code of conduct.”“Since the apex court is to hear appeal of the military court, the legal department of the NAfelt the need to organise the party,” another high-ranking official of the SC said.Former general secretary of the Nepal Bar Association and legal adviser to the CPN UML, Agni Kharel, objected to the CJ’s presence at the welcome party.“What factors made the army to welcome the CJ?”He said, “Several cases, in which the army is the defendant, have been pending in the SC, and the Chief of Army Staff General Rookmangud Katawal has been facing a case relating to his alleged fake birth date in certificates.”A former justice of the Supreme Court Krishna Jung Rayamajhi expressed surprise over the CJ’s presence in a welcome party organised by the NA.Rayamajhi, who probed into the loss of life and properties during the Jana-Andolan-II, said,“The CJ must maintain the highest level of impartiality. He should not be present at welcome parties organised by any executive wing of the state.”Rayamajhi, however, said the CJ can attend public functions organised by the civil society and lawyers’ organisations.However, a high-ranking official of the SC said that the NA may have felt the need to organise the party because, following the promulgation of the Military Act, the military court has come under the purview of the Supreme Court.
Ananta Raj Luitel @ himalayatimes

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