Tue, 19 Mar 2013 05:26:53 GMT

Nepal SC rules against Regmi continuing as Chief Justice



From Shirish B Pradhan
Kathmandu, Mar 18 (PTI) Chairman of Nepal''s Interim Election Council Khil Raj Regmi cannot continue as the Chief Justice of the apex court while heading the government, the Supreme Court ruled today.

Regmi, 63, was appointed head of the election government last week following an 11-point deal among the four major political forces in a bid to end months of political and constitutional crisis in the country.

A single bench of Justice Girish Chandra issued the verdict today after hearing a writ petition filed by advocate duo Chandra Kanta Gyawali and Om Prakash Aryal against the President''s order to remove difficulties for the appointment of Chief Justice Regmi as Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

Plaintiffs had filed the case against the chief justice''s leadership on March 14 demanding scrapping of the order of the head of the state saying it went against the spirit of the Interim Constitution and the principle of separation of powers as well as checks and balances.

On March 14, UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Joint Madhesi Front, had struck an eleven-point deal to form the interim government and agreed to conduct polls before June 21 and to defer the date till November in case an unfavourable situation emerges.

Nepal Bar Association has also asked Regmi to resign from the post of the Chief Justice as holding both the posts by him would be against the principle of separation of powers.

Following today''s Supreme Court verdict, Regmi will hold his position as only the head of the interim election government until the new polls to the Constituent Assembly are held.

Regmi is the first sitting Chief Justice in Nepalese political history to have been named as the Head of the Government.

The appointment of Regmi ended an impasse since the last parliament''s term expired almost a year ago. Elections set for November, 2012, were cancelled because of the political infighting.

Nepal had plunged into a serious political and constitutional crisis after the political parties failed to deliver a constitution before the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in May last year.

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