Amidst Calls for Nepal's CJ to Resign, There's No Denying the Courts Have Been Politicised

Nepal’s Chief Justice Cholendra S.J.B. Rana has been under pressure from the legal fraternity, a large section of the media and some politicians to resign before his term expires this year, amidst cries that the sanctity of the court will not be maintained otherwise.

Chief Justice Rana’s own colleagues in the Supreme Court of Nepal are also defying him and have stalled hearings, bringing the country’s judicial system to a complete standstill in what is an unprecedented chain of events in Nepal’s recent judicial history.

Yet, to date, charges against Justice Rana are not specific.

Justice Rana has maintained that as he was elevated to the Chief Justice’s position through a constitutional process, there is no question of him resigning under pressure. He has challenged his opponents to use constitutional measures to remove him.

Notably, impeachment is the only way to remove the Chief Justice if he refuses to resign voluntarily.

A key charge levelled against Justice Rana is that he has forged understandings with political parties to appoint his relatives in the cabinet and other constitutional bodies. He is also accused of indefinitely postponing the hearings of cases related to appointments in constitutional bodies to suit his needs.

As yet, there are no concrete pieces of evidence to prove these charges. His colleagues in court have not spoken publicly but have been expressing their frustrations to reporters. Amidst a growing call for their participation, political parties, both in the government and in the opposition, have not taken a position on this matter and have stated that this is an internal matter of the Nepal Supreme Court.