This isn’t simply an inside subject of the courtroom

Lawyers sit in a sit-in on Friday to prevent Chief Justice Cholendra Shamsher Jabra from entering the Supreme Court.

The parties are trying to escape from the fast-moving issue of good governance in the country by trying to avoid the embarrassment of the Chief Justice.

Nepal’s judiciary is at a critical juncture in its history. The entire judiciary has never before been so agitated by questioning the conduct and capacity of a Chief Justice.

The beam of the blindfolded Goddess of Justice says that the court is standing on such a sensitive foundation.

Chief Justice Cholendra Shamsher Jabra has been seriously accused by his peers, the Nepal Bar and the Supreme Court Bar Association and its subordinate associations and ‘professionals’ including former judges.

These allegations can be divided into three parts. First, they lack efficiency, which is why independent and competent judiciary is not dynamic. Second, he bargains on issues that have killed justice for the inaccessible in Nepal. Third, he has abused his position as Chief Justice in the interests of himself and those close to him. They have amassed wealth through opaque sources in the name of family and relatives. This is the fault of corruption.

Since the establishment of the modern court, small and big comments have been made on the court. Even when Hari Prasad Pradhan took the reins of the modern court, he was criticized as a ‘foreign’ chief justice. But our court responded to such criticism of the individual by its actions. Therefore, there has never been such an obstacle of justice being affected by the addition of a judge or a chief justice in a case other than ‘power has some influence’.

The arithmetic of parliament can determine politics, but to remain in charge of the judiciary requires a high level of moral conduct and professionalism.

Even in the long period of the Panchayat, the courts were generally able to stand up for civil rights in disputes between the authorities and the citizens on issues related to civil liberties and rights. This would not have been possible without a ‘professional’ judge who could use relatively clean leadership and discretion.

Whenever there were complaints within the court, the then authorities and the judicial leadership formed a commission or committee. He brought the issue to the public debate or implemented it. And did not allow serious questions to be raised about the judicial leadership and the institution. This time too such a committee was formed and the report came. But it was not implemented, instead it was used strategically.

There are various debates about the origin of the problem in the court. Some people think that all the judges in the Supreme Court are ‘problems’. Ektheri has also made it a good spice in a politically divided society.

They are trying to make all the judges in the Supreme Court look incompetent and corrupt. This has helped Chief Justice Jabra, who is facing a question of incompetence and serious ethical conduct, to round up the case.

But the root cause of this controversy is Chief Justice Jabra. It may have a long history and may involve a number of other factors, but Jabbar’s efficiency, his moral standing, and his dealings with the executive are all part of the current court dispute.

As the controversy escalated, it was in our interest to remove all the judges, our people would come, and there is another interest in removing the judges of the Supreme Court who were yesterday from different parties or social organizations. So now various interest groups are trying to get their hands on the fire burning in the court. It is helping to round up the demand for the resignation of Chief Justice Rana.

In the past, the parties that have been protesting and swearing that the case has been decided against them have been surprisingly silent on the issue for some time. Leader of the Main Opposition in Parliament and Chairman of the CPN-UML KP Sharma Oli broke the silence and said that his party would not support the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice.

It was crucial for Chief Justice Jabra. This clearly means that an impeachment could have been registered against him in the House of Representatives but could not have been passed. Even the ruling party, which has been silent for some time after realizing this crux of politics, has now come to the conclusion that the problem of the judiciary should be solved from within. In other words, Cholendra’s resignation has only been a matter of his conscience for the time being.

The stigma attached to Chief Justice Jabra by the judiciary, and the climate of trust he has lost with his fellow Supreme Court judges, make it clear that no matter how much the political parties support or argue, it will not be easy for Rana to remain in office for long.

Yes, he can further tarnish the image of the judiciary by disregarding the dignity of the post, he may make the judiciary of Nepal more unreliable in the eyes of the people, but the arguments of the parties alone will not allow him to remain in office for long. The arithmetic of parliament can determine politics, but to remain in charge of the judiciary requires a high level of moral conduct and professionalism.

Despite this, the main question now is, as the political parties have said, is this dispute just an internal matter of the court? If this internal dispute of the judiciary is considered as internal only, then where and when will the issue of inefficiency, corruption and moral conduct become a national issue?

The parties are trying to escape from a rising issue of good governance in the country by trying to avoid the scandal over the Chief Justice. This may serve their immediate power interests, but will further jeopardize the civil right to justice and good governance through an independent and competent judiciary envisaged by the constitution.


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