Never Ending Fight For Supremacy
The Supreme Court on Friday issued a ruling staying that the impeachment motion registered at the Parliament and thus the apex court paved way for Chief Justice Sushila Karki to resume her work. Unlike in many other and normal rulings, the ruling issued against the impeachment motion does not cite any articles of the constitution, or any other rules and regulations for that matter.
There is no doubt that the judges in the SC may be sad following the impeachment motion against the CJ but commonly it is understood that the verdict of a court is based on given set of laws and available evidence. It is believed no judge makes ruling on the basis of her/his personal emotion or sentiment, likes or dislikes but only on the basis of evidence. And as the evidence, articles of the constitution, laws, rules and regulations, previous verdict of the courts and other related facts are presented in the ruling. However, the SC ruling or the interim order against the impeachment motion does not refer to such evidence as such. In a way it reads like an emotional response.
Now, it has become clear that there is a nasty fight ongoing between the judiciary and the parliament. The registration of impeachment motion against chief justice Sushila Karki by lawmakers of the ruling parties at the parliament was just a part of long-running struggle for supremacy between the two vital organs of the state, the executive and the judiciary. The second constituent assembly (CA) election was held after the Supreme Court had prevented the parliament from amending the interim constitution and thus extending the term of the CA. Those who hailed the SC ruling then did not see that it was the right of the parliament to amend the constitution and that the SC could not make any such political verdict.
Most political parties, particularly the Maoist and the NC, felt that the SC deprived the parliament of its rights. The then chief justice Khilraj Regmi was later on made the executive chief to hold the second CA poll. The present case is about the rights of the executive or the government and that of the judiciary or the Supreme Court. The government smelt a rat in the way CJ Karki seemed to be bent on for making Nawaraj Silwal the IGP. And then the ruling parties decided to use the last and most cruel form of option or weapon so that they are not barred from what they wanted to do. They used the weapon of impeachment.
There is no doubt that the ruling and opposition parties are divided over the fight between the parliament and judiciary. The opposition party, CPN-UML, seem to be happy with the SC ruling while the ruling parties are certainly not. In a way, the fighting between the SC and the parliament gives expression to the fighting between the ruling and the opposition parties. This is not good. Today’s opposition can be ruling parties tomorrow and vice versa. But they have forgotten this. We should not forget that the judges at the SC are appointed by a body of representatives from the political parties themselves and the parties also make a share in who should be appointed. So it is the parties that appoint the judges in the SC. Now, in this sense a person can also doubt that the parties whom they had supported for making a judge may as well try to influence them in their favour. It is upto the judges how fairly they can perform duties.
For sure, it is a second blow against the supremacy of the parliament. First, the parliament was barred from exercising its rights to amend the constitution. Now it has been prevented from exercising its right to impeach any members in the constitutional or independent bodies. Of course, the court is independent. But, the kind of conflict we are witnessing is nothing new if we see the world. A few months back, an executive order made by the US president was made invalid by a court in that country. Then US president Donald Trump had become so furious with the court there that he had even termed the judges as his opponent.
Such a fighting between the judiciary and the parliament or the executive is doing much harm especially at this time of local election. There is no doubt that the political parties are behind the fighting. So they should find solution to it and stop is as soon as possible. But it is clear that the SC ruling has encroached upon the jurisdiction of the parliament simply because the parliament has the right to impeach anyone. And this cannot be done by a single party given the present power balance.
The present conflict between the parliament and the SC occurred when the SC overturned the decision of the government with regard to appointment of the chief in the Nepal Police. Things went wrong from that point. It was the right of the executive to appoint one among the many available and the court was to make judgement of the government move on basis of set of laws, process and procedures. But, even then the government had respected the SC ruling and appointed some third person to the post.
Now to not spoil the poll environment the parties should cooperate and ensure that this fight is stopped. Otherwise, the people will be talking about this fight instead of the election manifestoes of the parties. This will not be good for the parties themselves if they are ignored at this crucial time of election.