A debate over the separation of powers between the legislature and judiciary in Nepal came to an end on Friday when the Supreme Court issued an interim order directing Parliament to put on hold an impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sushila Karki and to allow her to return to work.
Karki is the country’s first woman chief justice. More than 249 lawmakers of the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist registered an impeachment motion against Karki on April 30 following a row over the chief justice blocking the appointment of a new police chief.
Responding to a writ petition against the impeachment motion, a single-judge bench of Justice Cholendra Shumsher issued an order that said impeachment was against the spirit of Nepal’s Constitution.
The bench said the accusations against Karki - including the charge that her verdict in the case related to the appointment of the new police chief went against standard legal practice - were baseless.
“Though it appears other charges have been levelled against Karki, based on the promotion of Nepal Police Inspector General, it is clear that the impeachment motion is void,” the verdict said.
However, political parties described the Supreme Court order as an attack on Parliament and the government’s executive decisions.
After the impeachment motion was registered, deputy prime minister Bimalendra Nidhi resigned, saying he had not been consulted on the issue. Appointing the police chief comes under the jurisdiction of the home ministry, which too is headed by Nidhi.
After a patch up with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, Nidhi had agreed to return to work from Sunday.
The two ruling parties have been facing national and external pressure after the impeachment motion was filed in Parliament.