Parliament secretariat's letter ignites controversy

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By Liladhar Upadhyaya, Kathmandu, Dec. 8The letter of the secretariat of the Federal Parliament, which had opened a way to suspended Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana to return to the Supreme Court, has been dragged into controversy. 

Suspended CJ Rana was facing an impeachment motion in the erstwhile House of Representatives and the impeachment motion is yet to be finalised by the House. 

The letter issued with the signature of general secretary of the Parliament Dr. Bharat Raj Gautam has drawn criticism, and called for legal and constitutional clarity from the Supreme Court administration, Nepal Bar Association, Supreme Court Bar Association and the broader legal fraternity.  

They raised questions against the legal and constitutional validity of the letter of the parliament secretariat on which constitutional and legal ground the general secretary did write the letter clearing the way for JBR to resume office. 

Terming the letter unconstitutional, NBA chair Gopal Krishna Ghimire said that there is no legal ground to issue such letter with the intention of making the impeachment against Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana meaningless and the Bar would not accept it. 

General Secretary Gautam issued the letter to the concerned authorities -- the Supreme Court, Office of the President, Office of the Council of the Ministers, the Constitutional Council, Judicial Council and CJ Rana. 

"I wrote the letter in response to the application filed by CJ and the HoR which had initiated the impeachment motion against JBR is not active. New parliamentary elections have been completed and there is no validity of the business of the previous parliament. It is a natural process and the decision was taken on the basis of natural justice," general secretary Gautam said, talking to journalists at his office in Singh Durbar.  

Suspended CJ on Tuesday had filed an application seeking information from the concerned authorities claiming that the impeachment motion filed in the House of Representatives had been deactivated with the expiry the HoR tenure. 

He cited the Articles 101(2), 89 (c), 91 (6) (a) and 111 (10) of the Constitution of Nepal while filing the application. 

There is no ground to bar CJ Rana under the Article 101 (6) as the term of the House has expired and new HoR is in the formation process with the completion of the elections on November 20, 2022, CJ Rana claimed in his application. 

CJ Rana was barred from discharging duties following the letter issued by the parliamentary secretariat on 13th February this year after the required number of parliamentarians of the HoR had filed impeachment motion against him alleging him of being involved in corruption and misconduct.  

CJ Rana had faced a series of interrogations by the parliamentary committee on allegations imposed on him. 

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court administration has also asked for legal and constitutional clarity of the letter of the general secretary of the Federal Parliament as the nation is still in transition to form a new House of Representatives following the general elections on November 20. 

Issuing a statement, joint registrar of the SC Narayan Prasad Regmi said that there was a question on whether the motion of the previous parliament would get continuity or not in the next parliament. "Which date shall prevail (commencing from the end of the HoR tenure or from the date of issuance of letter by the parliament secretariat) regarding the deactivation of the impeachment motion?" the statement said. 

Meanwhile, lawyers practicing in different courts staged a protest following the information that suspended CJ was returning to the SC to discharge his duties.

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