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”.
May 5, 2017
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has condemned moves to impeach the Chief Justice of Nepal, warning that such actions suggest a concerted attempt by the Government to undermine the independence of the judiciary.
“Chief Justice Sushila Karki has been instrumental in a number of high-profile and politically sensitive decisions, and therefore the attempt to remove her gives rise to serious concerns about the Government’s commitment to transitional justice and the rule of law,” Zeid said.
On 30 April, the two ruling parties, the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), filed an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice, alleging she had encroached on the prerogatives of the executive branch. This suggests a fundamental misunderstanding regarding the role of an independent judiciary, the High Commissioner noted.
The motion was filed days after the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Karki, revoked the Government’s appointment of a new Inspector General of Police, ruling that the Government had violated existing processes and regulations.
The Chief Justice has been suspended from her post until the impeachment proceedings are concluded. A committee will now be established to investigate the allegations, after which MPs will vote on whether to impeach her. However, this process is unlikely to be concluded before the Chief Justice reaches the mandatory retirement age on 7 June, meaning she will not be able to participate in a number of politically sensitive cases that she had announced the Supreme Court would consider in the near future.
UN slams Nepal’s ‘politically motivated’ move to impeach judge
**BREAKING: Chief Justice Karki reinstated**:
April 30, 2017
Nepal’s first female chief justice has been suspended after the two largest parties in the ruling coalition filed an impeachment motion against her.
They accuse Sushila Karki of delivering biased verdicts and interfering in the executive’s jurisdiction.
At least 249 MPs signed the motion, well over the quarter required to open an impeachment investigation.
It comes after the Supreme Court overturned the government’s choice of chief of police.
‘Favours rather than merit’
Last month the court ruled in favour of a claim by Navaraj Silwal, the most senior officer in the ranks, that he had been unfairly bypassed in favour of a less senior colleague, Jaya Bahadur Chand.
A hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday 2 May on the government’s second choice of candidate, Prakash Aryal, local media report.
Nepal: Impeachment motion moved against Chief Justice Sushila Karki