July 5, 2017
The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Sushila Karki in Nepal.
Sushila Karki is the first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nepal. She is known for her zero-tolerance stance on corruption in the judiciary and has been instrumental in a number of high-profile and politically sensitive decisions. Recent rulings by the Supreme Court, with Sushila Karki as its Chief Justice, have been critical in advancing human rights in Nepal, assisting victims seeking justice for the crimes and serious human rights violations committed against them.
It has come to the Law Society’s attention that on April 30, 2017, the two main parties in the ruling coalition government brought an impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sushila Karki, resulting in her automatic suspension. The motion, which came on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Nepalese government’s choice for Chief of Police, accuses the Chief Justice of delivering biased verdicts, interfering in the executive’s jurisdiction, breaching the principle of separation of powers, influencing her fellow justices, and failing to fulfill her judicial duties.
On May 5, 2017, the Supreme Court issued an interim order directing Parliament to halt impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Sushila Karki and to allow her to return to her duties. In making the order, the Supreme Court opined that the allegations against the Chief Justice were baseless and that the commencement of impeachment proceedings against her would be at odds with the spirit of Nepal’s Constitution. Relatedly, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has stated that “the attempt to remove [Chief Justice Sushila Karki] gives rise to serious concerns about the Government [of Nepal]’s commitment to transitional justice and the rule of law”.