Parajuli
Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli administers oath of office and secrecy to President Bidya Devi Bhandari at Sital Niwas on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. Photo: Mukunda Kalikote/Reporters’ Club Nepal

KATHMANDU, March 14: President Bidya Devi Bhandari took oath of office and secrecy from Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli on Wednesday.

But, moments earlier the oath taking ceremony took place at Sital Niwas, Secretary at the Judicial Council Secretariat, Nirupdhowj Niraula issued a notice, which said CJ Parajuli has been relieved of his responsibility, citing Parajuli had already crossed the retirement age based on his citizenship and academic credentials.

It triggered a wide controversy whether the oath taking of the re-elected President Bhandari from sacked CJ Parajuli is valid or invalid?

According to advocate Om Prakash Aryal, the oath taking could come into question given that the termination letter had already been issued.

The letter, signed by Niraula, stated “according to secretarial level decision of March 14, 2018 respectable Gopal Parajuli has been relieved of his duties as he as crossed the age bar of 65 years on August 5, 2017.”

However, the termination letter had yet not reached at Parajuli’s hand when the oath taking ceremony was held.

Aryal said that Parajuli’s jobs will have legal value until today.

But Parajuli claimed that the decision is illegitimate and Secretary of Judicial Council alone cannot take such decision since Chief Justice is the chief of the Council.

“Council’s Secretary cannot take such decision. It is illegal,” Parajuli told Reporters’ Club Nepal.

“This letter has no meaning. The decision cannot be implemented.”

Some advocates argue that secretariat level decision will be enough to sack Parajuli from his post.

Meanwhile, Judicial Council Secretariat has summoned an emergency meeting following the controversy, which is expected to come with a decision on that matter tomorrow.

On Tuesday, eight justices of the Supreme Court had boycotted case hearing the contempt of court case against Kantipur daily to pressure CJ Parajuli claiming that Parajuli assigned the judges their judicial tasks despite suggesting to stay away from preparing cause list.

The move came after Justice Cholendra Shumser JB Rana boycotted  CJ Parajuli-led seven member full bench stating that CJ Parajuli should have taken retirement on August 5, 2017.

CJ Parajuli last month had issued an order, putting the contempt of court case over the controversy surrounding his date of birth from his own bench, stating that the Kantipur had violated law and constitution by publishing misleading news that defamed court, justices and chief justice.

Parajuli’s moral character has already come into question due to his controversial citizenship certificate and date of birth.

Moreover, the Bar Association issuing a press release had stated that even though the matter of his date of birth and other certificates were settled by the Judicial Council and he was appointed with the recommendation Constitutional Council, he should leave off the judicial and administrative tasks on moral grounds.

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