NEPAL MOVES TO IMPEACH CHIEF JUSTICE
Ruling coalition accuses her of ‘taking sides’ after she overturned choice for police chief
THE first female chief justice in Nepal has been suspended after the government filed a motion to impeach her, triggering protests within the fragile ruling coalition.
The two main parties in the coalition accused Sushila Karki of interference after the Supreme Court last month overturned the government’s choice for chief of police.
“We have decided to impeach Chief Justice Sushila Karki... after she visibly started taking sides in cases,” Min Biswakarma, a member of the ruling coalition who proposed the motion, said yesterday.
Hours later, Deputy Prime Minister Bimalendra Nidhi resigned in protest. A smaller coalition party had also threatened to quit the government.
Karki’s supporters said she had taken a strong stance against corruption during her year-long tenure as head of the Supreme Court.
A committee will be established to investigate the allegations of bias, after which Parliament will vote on whether to impeach her.
But, the process is unlikely to get that far as she is due to retire next month when she turns 65.
The government had appointed Jaya Bahadur Chand as police chief, but the court ruled that the highest-ranking officer Navaraj Silwal should take the top job.
Nepal has a history of political interference in key civil appointments, such as the head of police.
The impoverished country has had nine governments since the end of the civil war in 2006, with each administration seeking to fill key positions with loyalists.
Political analyst Lok Raj Baral said the coalition government was held together only by the desire of its constituent parties to stay in power.
“There is constant bargaining (within the parties) for them to strengthen their position.”
He described the impeachment of the chief justice as another attempt to remove any obstacles.
Local elections are due this month, followed by provincial and then national elections by the end of the year. AFP