An impeachment motion has been filed against Nepal’s Chief Justice Cholendra Shamsher Jabra in the Parliament Secretariat on 13 February 2022.
Chief Justice Jabra has been suspended after the impeachment motion was registered. Chief Whip of the UCPN (M) Dev Gurung has said that the impeachment has been registered in the parliament in accordance with Article 101, Clause 2 of the Constitution.
Article 101 (2) of Constitution stated that;
“(2) One fourth of the total number of the then members of the House of Representatives may move a motion of impeachment against the Chief Justice of Nepal or a Judge of the Supreme Court, member of the Judicial Council, chief or official of a Constitutional Body on the ground of his or her failure to fulfil his or her duties of office because of serious violation of this Constitution and law, incompetence or misconduct or failure to discharge the duties of office honestly or serious violation of the code of conduct. If the motion is passed by at least two thirds majority of the total number of the then members of the House of Representatives, the concerned person shall relieve of his or her office.”
There are 21 points charges against the Chief Justice in the impeachment motion. The resolution states that he is incapable of safeguarding democracy, constitutional supremacy, human rights, rule of law, justice and independent, impartial and competent judiciary.
It is also mentioned that during his tenure, excessive distortion, inconsistency, corruption and middlemen have increased the influence in the judiciary.
What happens now
Article 101 of the Constitution of Nepal provides for impeachment. There is a provision to suspend the Chief Justice as soon as the impeachment is registered. Article 101, Clause 6 of the Constitution of Nepal states that the Chief Justice shall not be allowed to perform his duties after the commencement of impeachment proceedings.
Pursuant to Article 101, Clause 3 of the Constitution of Nepal, there is an arrangement to have an impeachment recommendation committee in the House of Representatives. Such a committee has 11 members of the House of Representatives. The committee examines the grounds and reasons for submitting the motion of impeachment to the Parliament and decides for the purpose of making recommendations.
The indictment against Rana includes grounds and reasons for serious violation of the constitution, lack of efficiency, bad conduct, non-compliance with official duties and serious violation of the code of conduct.
If the impeachment recommendation committee considers the complaint and recommends it to the House of Representatives, then the impeachment motion may be tabled in the House of Representatives for discussion and decision.
Article 101, Clause 7 of the Constitution provides that the accused should be given a reasonable opportunity to present their case. If the impeachment motion is passed by a two-thirds majority of the House of Representatives, then Chief Justice Rana will be relieved of his post.
Also, if the motion of impeachment is passed under Article (8) and the Chief Justice of Nepal commits any offense while in office, there will be no impediment to take action in accordance with the federal law. That is, they will be prosecuted again for corruption or money laundering.
If he is thus removed from the impeachment process, Chief Justice Rana will be disqualified from being appointed or nominated to any public office in the future.