Here, the justice itself is sieged by the Unjust

Few weeks ago, a letter issued by the Parliament Secretariat created a nationwide hue and cry. Parliament’s Secretary general issued a letter dated December 7, 2022 stating that the impeachment motion against Chief Justice (Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana) was no more valid as the parliament that began the procedure of impeachment motion had ceased to exist.

Rana has since retired on age ground with impeachment issue unsettled. The supreme court in a way, undermined the right of the secretary general to speak on behalf of parliament where as Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, minister spokesperson of the cabinet then, propounded his own verdict that the succeeding parliament, would pick up the process of impeachment from where it was left last time.

More significantly, the question that alive is: will Prachanda and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist centre– who were party to the impeachment motion,  carry it forward in the changed circumstances? He is currently in the patronage of K P Sharma Oli who was opposed to the motion. A change in political equation deciding the fate of the judiciary and its head really speaks volume about the autonomy and independence of judiciary in the country.

For how long we keep on sparking an issue based on any events as per convenience and interest rather than with due worry on taking a plunge for the future. Isn’t it high time to shift ourselves from propaganda bearer to the centered and grounded agenda holder?

Another pertinent question is : is Oli really in favour of independence of judiciary, or he just opposed the impeachment motion because it was initiated by his rivalry groups in politics and power? The real test begins now with Prachanda as PM and Oli as his saviour. Or should the votaries of the judicial independence campaign to save judiciary from Oli, given his control freak nature and authoritarian mind set?

As of now, with non-Congress faction of the then ruling alliance aligning under the leadership of K P Sharma Oli, it becomes apparent that the louder voice of urgency to save the constitution from Oli’s unconstitutional move was nothing more than a solely power gamble.

What the country has witnessed over a period of time is an alliance between the legislature and executive on one side, and the judiciary on the other, both together promoting partisan interest, and parliamentarians using power of impeachment arbitrarily whenever that alliance has broken.

The recent bugle call is the breach of the Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) to the then ruling alliance led by Sher Bahadur Deuba.

Such practices across the nation since long amplifies that we take an issue and spark it as propaganda but not embody the seriousness to scrutinize cause-effect relationship between the constitutional organs of the state. Moreover, historical and contextual underway of the current occurrence are generally the most neglected part.

Consequently, every issue remains an intense agenda until we get another propaganda at hand. How long does propaganda drive our socio-cultural, legal, economic to governance undercurrents? Isn’t it a high time to concern on agenda and divulge its details until it sets future “precedence” ?

We are accustomed to the day to day news that cases from districts to the Supreme Court have to go through long queues even to get registered for the date of hearing. The regular postponement of hearing date is in immense practice, let alone the hassle till decisions. It’s nothing new that pile of cases pending at court is shadowing hope of justice for the general public. Though alarming, it seems as if it is widely accepted that justice is farfetched, not the inevitable right of the general public.

But, it was not vivid in such a way at ground that justice is even beyond the reach of chief justice.  The hue and cry on the right exercised by the administrative body-letter by secretary general of the parliament informing the annulment of impeachment motion- remained so intense that the Supreme Court, an apex body of justice, witnessed rallies, dharna and protests at its premises.

The issue remained in media headlines and hot cake for TV shows for weeks as if it would hold concerned office bearers responsible to pave the way for the future. But with the undecided impeachment motion, the urgency to settle whether impeachment motion is transferable from one parliament to another also diminished- at least from the public gaze. It is noted that the highly acclaimed legal and constitutional experts were voicing in opposite ways-some argued that the impeachment motion may continue even after the demise of parliament while voices of the experts that it must not transfer is equally widespread.

Although similar acts by the administrative body of the supreme court—its registrar—terminating services of CJ Gopal Parajuli earlier had been accepted by the court. But by its action, supreme court sent across a message that while the registrar of the supreme court has the right to issue letter on behalf of the apex judiciary, the secretary general of parliament just does not have that right.

It is not rare that constitutional experts interpret articles of the constitution differently, but it is expected that they are together on the fundamentals of the principle of separation of power, and system of checks and balances.

But if the contradictory and partisan or biased approach of the experts throw credibility and fairness of the justice system, perhaps it’s high time to blow the whistle into the embodiment of justice nationwide. If justice is to abide by the rules, regulation and constitution, what is the force halting actions against innumerable breach of legal and to some extent constitutional provisions?

Among many, Madhav Kumar Nepal in 2009 was appointed Prime Minister of Nepal despite losing election in both of the constituencies he contested. Likewise, Khil Raj Regmi was sworn in as the Prime Minister in 2013 while he was also the Chief Justice at the Supreme Court.

Moreover, the national parties, despite the provision of 33 per cent women participation in the central committee, are without any discomfort violating the provision with this or that reason. Similarly, it is equally apparent that constitutional commissions are most of the time run without ensured numbers of office bearers.

In addition, the preference of ruling through Ordinance during Oli’s prime-ministerial tenure and followed by his immediate successor Deuba indicate scant respect of parties towards stablished and well established norms that rule by ordinance is not permitted in democracy.

Let’s come to the recent roar, from Prachanda’s breach to the then ruling alliance to Deuba should consider resigning on moral ground from both the posts- president and parliamentary party leader- are on the ground at equal footing. While, the issue of unsettled impeachment motion is completely distanced  from the current scenario, the issue should not be allowed to die.

Aforementioned analogies of short term outcry magnify the need to be asked what drives the furore? Favourism or fault in process? Where breaching the legal provisions are turned as the significance of power, the search of morality on failure to maintain the alliance solely formed to gain power itself seems immoral.

For how long we keep on sparking an issue based on any events as per convenience and interest rather than with due worry on taking a plunge for the future. Isn’t it high time to shift ourselves from propaganda bearer to the centered and grounded agenda holder?