Appointment of the SC Chief Justice as the Prime Minister will be Supreme injustice to the people of Nepal.
Political parties in democracy can, of course, be good or bad but most certainly without a capable leadership of political parties, the democratic system will never be anything but bad. –tweaked version of Albert Camus’s quote on free press
By Siromani Dhungana
On January 30, before the Maoists proposed appointing incumbent Supreme Court Chief Justice as Prime Minister, I had written in in this blog: “Democracy in Nepal is on the verge of collapse. Most of the indicators of democracy are either dismantled or dead. The basic notion of democracy- ‘check and balance’- has been destroyed and now there is only the check of the communist-led government.”
Unfortunately, the Maoists have proved me right yet again with their flabbergasting proposal. You don’t have to be a political scientist to know what the Maoists are trying to do is completely against the basic notion of democracy, that is, the check and balance. And, incompetent and shortsighted opposition parties are once again going to be fooled by the UCPN Maoist. And that will cost Nepal’s fledgling democracy dearly.
The propose of appointing incumbent chief justice as the Prime Minister of the country has apparently showed that the largest political party of Nepal is trying to ruin the basis democratic concept ‘check and balance’ among major state organs — judiciary, executive and legislature.
If materialized, the Maoist proposal will not only ruin completely the independence of judiciary but also jeopardize the entire justice system of Nepal. On the other hand, it will also help undermine the importance of political parties in Nepal which will have repercussion in the long run.
It is for sure that the Maoists want to resume their war-time ‘kangaroo courts’ which they operated in villages in a direct challenge to the existing judicial system. Even after ending armed conflict in 2006, the party had floated the idea of reviving ‘kangaroo courts’ in 2007 in an effort to step up pressure against the then interim government headed by NC leader Girija Prasad Koirala.
The Maoists never believed in current judicial system in Nepal. They have constantly argued that this is the one State organ that still represents that feudal, old Nepal. They have constantly flouted Supreme Court decisions. Their senior leaders, including the PM, have every now and then spoken against the judicial system and courts in general. They think, after controlling executive and having had largest number of seats in legislature parliament (dissolved in May 2012), the judiciary is the last bastion that still remained out of their sphere of influence. The fact that the Maoists couldn’t win notable number of seats in the recently held elections of national committee of Nepal Bar Association despite fighting polls against democratic candidates in partnership with the UML-supported lawyers shows their poor presence in judicial sector.
And now, suddenly, they have this new-found trust in judiciary! Doesn’t sound plausible at all. Those who have been criticizing and flouting judicial decisions are now suddenly seeing ‘most independent and trustworthy’ person in the head of the same judiciary.
And at a time when the SC is already stretched- and is functioning with only around half of dozen judges and can’t fulfill vacant positions because there doesn’t exist a mechanism in the absence of parliament.
And at a time when the SC has issued quite a few orders staying or stopping several controversial decisions of the Maoist-led government including in the case of Dekendra Thapa.
The Maoist proposal does not come as a surprise to me. However, I am really surprised by acts of defenseless opposition parties. It seems our opposition parties do not have guts to protect democracy from a Maoist onslaught.
Opposition parties have once again failed to challenge the card played by ruling UCPN (Maoist) and its political ally Madhesh-based parties. However, their sheer failure to understand Maoist’s plan of appointing CJ as the PM will end their relevancy from the country. Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) as democratic parties (as they call themselves) should reject outright this astounding Maoist proposal. As of today, they have failed to do so because they did not have agenda to put in place first.
On the other hand, Maoists, Madhesh-based parties and opposition parties (NC and UML) discussed the possibility of appointing PM from civil society which shows that they are not politicians rather a flock of an average minded individuals.
Civil society is not meant to get the post of PM. And our politicians should know this better than anyone else. I rather prefer continuity of the incumbent incompetent, corrupt and brazen government then the appointment of so-called ‘neutral personality’ from civil society as a Prime Minister. Similarly, appointment of chief justice will be chief (in)justice to people.
I think consistency and credibility matters in politics. Leaders should show readiness to be adhered to the notion of morality and accountability in democratic system. But here is opposite. All our leaders are trying to ruin democracy pushing peoples’ lives into uncertainty.