KATHMANDU, Dec 9: The Judicial Council has recommended four seniormost justices for appointment as members of the Constitutional Bench, as per a provision of the newly promulgated Constitution of Nepal.
According to council Joint Secretary Devendra Dhakal, a meeting of the council on Tuesday recommended Justices Girish Chandra Lal, Sushila Karki, Baidyanath Upadhyaya and Gopal Parujuli for members of the bench, which is headed by the chief justice.
Article 137 (1) of the new constitution envisages forming a constitutional bench at the Supreme Court, comprising the chief justice and other four justices appointed by the chief justice on the recommendation of the Judicial Council.
As per the constitutional provision, the bench shall hear and decide any petition to the Supreme Court to have any law or any part thereof declared void on the ground of inconsistency with the constitution, or any law formulated by a Provincial Assembly that is deemed inconsistent with law formulated by the Federal Parliament or any law formulated by a Municipal Assembly or Village Assembly deemed inconsistent with law formulated by the Federal Parliament or the Provincial Assembly concerned.
In addition, the bench shall hear and decide cases related to disputes over jurisdiction between the Federation and Provinces, among Provinces, between a Province and a local level of government and among local level governments. Likewise, cases related to disputes concerning the election of members of the Federal Parliament or Provincial Assembly and ineligibility of members of the Federal Parliament or Provincial Assembly fall under the jurisdiction of the bench. As per the constitution, the chief justice may allocate any case under consideration at the Supreme Court containing questions of serious constitutional issue to the bench.
The constitution has allowed powers to the Supreme Court to determine the arrangements related to procedures at the bench.
After years-long debate whether to establish a separate Constitutional Court or form a Constitutional Bench within the Supreme Court, the Constituent Assembly ultimately chose the option of forming the bench.
Though the major political parties in the Constituent Assembly had agreed to form a separate Constitutional Court, the Nepali Congress had proposed such a court only for 10 years while the UCPN (Maoist) and some other parties, including the Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, had insisted on making it a permanent court.
On the other hand, justices at the Supreme Court had frequently pressed the political leadership to drop the idea of establishing a separate Constitutional Court. They had formally suggested that the Constituent Assembly only envisage a provision for a Constitutional Bench in the new constitution.
Published on: My Republica (December 9, 2015)