Rana’s wish to join office before retirement fails

Kathmandu: Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana’s bid to join office before his retirement failed following lack of cooperation from the government, and supreme court playing a spoiler.

Rana turned 65 on December 13 and retired on age ground, but his status –whether he was impeached, exonerated of charges or still under Parliamentary scrutiny–is mired in confusion, especially after the supreme court refused to accept the letter of House of Representatives Secretary General to the effect that with the demise of the House that had begun the impeachment proceedings, the motion had become ‘invalid’ (niskriya).

Rana had unsuccessfully approached the government for security support to go to the supreme court and join his office, but while the Nepal Bar sat on Dharna at the entry point of the apex court to block him, the court took up the petition that challenged right of the Par secretary General to issue such a letter.

In a controversial way, the SC acting CJ Hari Krishna Karki headed the constitutional bench—and issued a show cause notice to the Par secretary General.

Rana is the third constitutional authority to face the impeachment motion in the past seven years, beginning with that of Lokmn Singh Karki, Chief of Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Authority, Chief Justice Sushila Karki and then Rana now.

While Karki was declared not qualified to hold the post by the SC bench headed by Sushila Karki much before Parliament had disposed the impeachment motion that had been filed at the initiative of CPN-UML, suspension of Sushila Karki following the petition registered by Nepali Congress MPs got revoked following an order by Cholendra Shumsher as head of the bench.

However, Rana was not as lucky as Sushila Karki although there are many moral, constitutional and procedural issues being raised about whether an acting CJ can head a constitutional bench.

Similarly, the judges in the bench declined to accept the objection that there is no ‘carry forward’ practice and provision in the constitution for the succeeding house to take up impeachment notion taken up by the previous House.