Deepening Political Chaos After Suspension of Nepal’s Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana


An impeachment motion has been registered against Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana at the federal parliament secretariat. As a breakdown threat was looming large over the coalition government of Nepal, formed in July 2021, as they are sharply divided over parliamentary ratification of the $500 million dollar Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact (MCC), in a sudden move, they were united to file an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice.

Lawmakers from Nepali Congress and its coalition partners registered the impeachment proposal against CJ Rana. A total of 98 lawmakers have signed the proposal to impeach Rana. Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Dilendra Prasad Badu, Nepali Congress (NC) Whip Pushpa Bhusal, and CPN (Maoist Center) Whip Dev Gurung are among those registering the motion.

The Nepal Bar Association has been protesting against Rana for over 100 days. There were multiple calls from various concerned units to impeach Rana. Rana has been accused of seeking his share in the government by bargaining with different political parties to meet his personal ambitions. He has been accused of violating the code of conduct, failing to maintain the judicial environment at the court, and losing his moral grounds.

Article 101 (2) of the Constitution of Nepal has provided the provision for the impeachment and it mentions that one-fourth of the members of the House can register an impeachment motion against any official holding a constitutional position on the ground of failing to perform duty effectively or of working against the constitution or seriously violating their code of conduct.

The support of the main opposition party UML is necessary to endorse this motion as it needs two-thirds votes to endorse it, while one-fourth of the member can register it. Looking at vote numbers, the ruling parties that have registered the motion have 133 votes in total, while it needs 181 votes to be a majority in the House of 271 members.  The registration of the impeachment motion leads to the suspension of the Chief Justice.

Many are wondering why the political parties suddenly decided to impeach the Chief Justice while they ignored it in the past although there were many calls to impeach him. CPN-UML, the main opposition party accused the move of ‘The Guerilla Style’ which is intended to deter the upcoming local elections and quash the corruption cases involving Madhav Kumar Nepal and Baburam Bhattarai, both leaders of the coalition partners and former Prime Minister of Nepal.

There is a high chance that the CPN UML, the main opposition party can file the impeachment motion against four other justices of the Supreme Court who were involved in removing KP Sharma Oli-led government and reinstating the dissolved House.

If the impeachment motion is brought to meet the party’s interest only, then there is a high chance that the judiciary will deteriorate badly but if it is brought with good intentions as claimed by the coalition parties, it will bring reforms in the judiciary in the coming days.


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