On behalf of the Brihat Nagarik Andolan, a team comprising Prof. Dr. Govinda KC today lodged a complaint against Chief Justice (CJ) of the Supreme Court Cholendra Shamsher JB Rana at the Department of Money Laundering Investigation demanding investigation into the CJ’s assets.
In the complaint, the movement’s leaders have called on the Department to investigate the allegations of corruption levelled against Chief Justice Rana, his relatives, judges close to him, his staff, and professional mediators.
The complaint letter reads, “We urge the authority concerned to conduct an effective investigation into Rana based on the news and other information materials published against him so far, seizure of his property, and other necessary action against all persons involved in the alleged acts of corruption.”
The Nepal Bar Association has been agitating for the past two months demanding the removal of Chief Justice Rana after he was involved in a dispute over the distribution of cabinet members.
Lawyers affiliated with the Nepal Bar Association (NBA) continued their protest outside the Supreme Court on Sunday as well demanding Rana’s resignation.
Talking to media persons after staging the protest, NBA President Chandeshwor Shrestha said that distortions, inconsistencies and irregularities, corruption, and intermediaries had entered the judiciary and its independence was severely affected due to their increasing influence.
CJ Rana has been accused of seeking his share in the government through ‘give and take’ with the political parties for his personal ambitions. Lawyers affiliated to NBA have been staging protests outside the Supreme Court since October 24 by wearing black ribbons around their arms.
In September, reports surfaced that Rana demanded a share in the Sher Bahadur Deuba Cabinet, which was formed as per a July 12 order of the Constitutional Bench. In the landmark decision, the Rana-led bench not only ousted KP Sharma Oli from office but also ordered the appointment of Deuba as new prime minister.
Days before Deuba expanded his Cabinet, reports surfaced that Gajendra Hamal was being appointed a minister at Rana’s behest. Deuba did appoint Hamal a minister, only for the latter to resign within 40 hours. Hamal is a district level Nepali Congress leader and a relative of Rana.
Critics said by demanding a ministerial post, the head of the judiciary had undermined the principle of separation of powers. Rana, however, has denied the charges he wanted his people in the Cabinet.
Justices and bar associations say Rana failed to take initiatives as the chief justice failed to fix a host of problems in the judiciary, including corruption. A study panel led by Justice Hari Krishna Karki also had pointed out corruption in the Supreme Court.
Rana also faces the charge of not conducting a hearing on petitions against constitutional appointments. Erstwhile prime minister KP Sharma Oli in December last year had introduced an ordinance to amend the Constitutional Council Act. Provisions for holding Constitutional Council meetings and making recommendations were eased through the ordinance.
As per the changed provisions, the council had held meetings and appointed as many as 52 individuals to different constitutional bodies. The meetings were held in the absence of House Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota and Deuba, who was then the leader of the main opposition.