Senior advocate Surendra Bhandari has filed a complaint at the Kathmandu District Administration Office Wednesday accusing Chief Justice (CJ) of the Supreme Court (SC) Gopal Parajuli of threatening to kill him. He has appealed to the administration for security of his life.
One cannot even imagine a Supreme Court CJ in any civilized democratic country issuing such threats to the main advocate of a sub judice case against him/her. The issue must be investigated as a responsible senior advocate has made such accusations.
One thing is clear in this incident—one of Bhandari or Parajuli is guilty. The guilty, whoever out of the two that may be, would have committed not a minor offense, but an unpardonable crime.
There will be no difficulty in finding out who the guilty is considering the technological progress of the modern world. An investigation by any honest and capable police officer using polygraph test and other technological tools will easily show who is speaking the truth and who is lying.
A cursory look at the call details will reveal whether CJ Parajuli has repeatedly called Bhandari or not. An independent investigation of this incident to reach subsequent conclusion is necessary for the prestige of the SC and continuity of the public faith in the judiciary.
Bhandari has claimed that CJ Parajuli has been putting pressure for settlement of the sub judice case against Dr Govinda KC right from the beginning. He has accused CJ Parajuli of calling him to the CJ’s chamber to put pressure for settlement of the case, phoning him to issue death threats, and finally sending thugs to his law firm.
CJ Parajuli himself is a party in the sub judice case against Dr KC. The code of conduct prepared by SC itself prohibits any justice from contacting or meeting either party of a sub judice case. There can be no bigger attack on the integrity of the judiciary if CJ Parajuli has indeed done the things accused by Bhandari. Parajuli no longer has any moral authority to sit on that chair of CJ even for a minute if the accusation is true. It would be appropriate to protect the integrity and prestige of the judiciary by separating the CJ from the SC.
If senior advocate Bhandari has made false accusations, on the other hand, he will not just be unqualified for the title of senior advocate, he must be jailed for trying to mislead the people and contempt of court.
Nepal Police must investigate the incident with urgency to find the guilty in the case. Kathmandu Police has forwarded the letter sent for necessary action by the Kathmandu District Administration to Baneshwore Circle.
The accusation has not been made against any street thug but is a serious accusation against the country’s CJ. The police should not delegate the case lower to any circle. The Nepal Police Headquarters must expedite investigations under a honest and fearless police officer, and produce whoever is guilty before the court as soon as possible after completing the investigations.
Accountability of the political leadership is also equally important in this incident. We urge them to handle this incident with a sense of responsibility for destroying the main state institutions.
Prime Minister (PM) Sher Bahadur Deuba currently oversees even the Home Ministry. He must assure the people that the Nepal Police will investigate the case in a fair and urgent manner. We believe that the next government will fulfill that responsibility if Deuba displays incompetence in this.
Aware citizenry and the independent media also have a responsibility in this. It is the duty of the independent media and aware citizenry to prove that CJ was wrong if he really issued such threats thinking that nobody can investigate him and he will not be touched even if he issues death threats to Bhandari.
We have an opportunity and also responsibility to establish that nobody, not even the CJ, is above the law in a state governed by rule of law. The faith of general public on rule of law will be boosted if we succeed in utilizing this opportunity. Our chariot of democracy will move forward. We are fully confident that we are capable of fulfilling this responsibility.