CJ commissions most senior justices to hear House dissolution debate

Cholendra Shamsher Rana
File: Cholendra Shamsher Rana

Kathmandu, June 6

The Supreme Court is likely to begin hearing of the cases filed against the government’s decision to dissolve the House of Representatives smoothly from Sunday with Chief Justice Cholendra Shamsher Rana commissioning most senior justices in a constitutional bench.

As per the announcement made today, the five-member bench will comprise CJ Rana and justices Deepak Kumar Karki, Mira Khadka, Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada and Ananda Mohan Bhattarai. Karki and Khadka are the most senior justices after Rana at the apex court.

In terms of seniority, Hari Krishna Karki and Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha should have followed them, but Rana did not choose them. Karki was accused of a conflict of interest during the hearing of a case against the House dissolution in December 2020, leading to him leaving the bench whereas Shrestha is in isolation due to the coronavirus infection currently. Therefore, Rana has picked Khatiwada and Bhattarai who follow Karki and Shrestha on the seniority list.

A five-member bench led by Rana had begun hearing the cases on May 28. However, the pleading did not enter the constitutionality of the move with the petitioners questioning the CJ’s selection of justices in the bench one after another. They argued two justices–Tej Bahadur KC and Bam Kumar Shrestha–should not hear the case due to their conflict of interest. The dispute led to two other justices announcing their refusal to be a part of the hearing. Therefore, CJ Rana had said he would reshuffle the bench to hear the case.

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