Acting Chief Justice, Deepak Raj Joshi
The Parliamentary Hearings Committee (PHSC)rejected nomination of Acting Chief Justice Deepak Raj Joshi for the post of Chief Justice on Friday. The decision has led to an unprecedented development for the first time in the history of Nepal’s 13-year-old parliament. Members of the PHC representing the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) forwarded five reasons to back their decision:
They accused Joshiof failing to come up with a concrete concept and work plan for reforming the judiciary; inability to furnish genuine clarification of the complaints filed against him; no response to lawmakers’ query on his honesty and competence; suspicious educational certificates and dissatisfactory response on it and on the disputed cases he dealt in the past.
Reporters Club Nepal President Rishi Dhamala talked on this issue with Joshi on Friday morning in an interview for Prime Times Television. Here are the edited excerpts.
What would you say about five charges level against you by the PHC?
I was not questioned over the accusations leveled against me. So I don’t want to talk more on it.
But they have accused you of not being qualified for the post of Chief justice?
They have already decided that I am not qualified for the post. What is there for me to say now? I am not sad. Decisions taken by the parliament should be accepted.
How have you taken the decision made by the PHC?
The Constitutional Council had recommended me qualified. But I don’t know, how the committee members considered it? I have no comments on the decision that has already been taken.
It is alleged that your presentation was not good when you appeared before the committee?
In my presentation at the committee I had forwarded a 14-point action plan for the judiciary. I had shared it by reading all the points clearly to them. But they asked me questions about the rumors making rounds in the press. To which I requested them for not dragging me into rumors while stating that I have shared everything that I am aware of and know.
But it is also alleged that your work plan was not effective?
They did not discuss the 14 point, I had presented in the committee. Just ask them what were those points.
It is also alleged that your educational certificates not genuine and some of your verdicts were wrong?
If they think that my educational certificates are forged, then they should visit the authorities concerned and investigate it. They should figure out if the certificates provided by the Ministry of Education of the Government of Nepal are genuine or not. What can I say, if they disqualify the certificates that certify my qualification?
You are also accused of failure to exhibit honesty and good conduct?
I responded to those queries. It is not possible to comment on a case that is presently under discussion. When you cannot do so in the parliament, how can you do so in the mini parliament.
Were all the verdicts that you delivered were just?
We decide on the basis of evidences and none of the verdicts were unjust.
How do you consider PHC’s action of disqualifying a nominee approved by the Constitutional Council?
Justice has its own dignity. If it is not sustained, it won’t be beneficial for democracy.
You are also accused of being appointed as a judge on the basis political power play rather than your capacity?
You can be accused of many things. For being guilty, those accusations must be proved.
What are your plans ahead?
I have not decided yet.
Will you resign?
Why should I resign? Is it just to stay silent on unfounded accusations? A justice himself should not stay silent over unfounded accusations?
There are rumors that the government is looking forward to impeach you, if you don’t resign.
Well, I can comment on it only after seeing what they do?
You also met Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli. What did you talk?
Prime minister was positive towards me. He said, “You haven’t done anything that tarnishes your character.”