KATHMANDU, April 30: In a dramatic development, lawmakers from the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN (Maoist Center) registered an impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sushila Karki at the parliament secretariat on Sunday.
The move has triggered a series of major political developments, including the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi and the decision of ruling coalition partner Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) to call an emergency meeting on Momday to officially decide ‘to quit’ the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government.
These developments come a day after the ruling and agitating Madhes-based parties agreed to register a supplementary constitution amendment bill in addition to the 11-point amendment bill registered earlier in parliament and to expedite its endorsement so as to bring the Madhesi parties on board the polls.
NC Chief Whip Chinkaji Shrestha, Maoist Center Chief Whip Tek Bahadur Basnet and Attorney General Raman Shrestha were among those reaching the Parliament Secretariat to register the impeachment motion. According to the Speaker’s press adviser, Basudev (Babin) Sharma, the impeachment motion proposed by NC lawmaker Meen Bishwakarma and seconded by Maoist Center lawmaker Tek Bahadur Basnet is signed by a total 249 lawmakers.
The impeachment motion has made nine various allegations against Karki, including failure to honor the independence of the judiciary, encroaching upon the jurisdiction of the executive branch and ignoring evidence while deciding verdicts on writ petitions related to the appointment of the police chief.
The ruling parties were miffed with CJ Karki, especially after the Supreme Court revoked the government’s decision to promote Jaya Bahadur Chand to inspector general of Nepal Police. The impeachment motion that leaves CJ Karki suspended effective from Sunday comes two days before crucial hearings on a writ petition filed by DIG Nawaraj Silwal demanding his own appointment as police chief.
Following the apex court ruling staying the government’s appointment of Chand as police chief, the government has already picked Prakash Aryal as the new police chief.
Officials at the Parliament Secretary had reached the President’s Office to inform the president about the impeachment motion shortly after it was registered in parliament. The Constitution of Nepal 2015 states that the chief justice is automatically suspended if one-fourth of the total number of lawmakers in the House brings an impeachment motion.
The lawmakers can bring a motion of impeachment “on the ground of his or her failure to fulfill his or her duties of office because of serious violation of this Constitution and the law, incompetence or misconduct or failure to discharge the duties of the office honestly, or serious violation of the code of conduct.”
If the motion is passed by at least a two-thirds majority of the members of parliament, Karki shall be relieved of her office. However, the impeachment motion is unlikely to be passed by parliament as serious rifts have surfaced within the NC and coalition partner RPP has threatened to quit the government over the issue.