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Nepal's Supreme Court lawyers demand review of interim constitution


dpa German Press Agency
Published: Sunday January 7, 2007

Kathmandu - Nepal's Supreme Court decided Sunday to formally ask the government to review several clauses of the interim constitution in relation to the judiciary. The full court meeting of the Supreme Court decided to forward the recommendation to government to review 12 clauses of the constitution saying they would interfere with the independent workings of the courts.

The meeting also said that the draft of the interim constitution, prepared and signed by the Seven-Party Alliance and the Maoist leaders on December 16, violated the concept of an independent judiciary.

Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa, "We have unanimously agreed to forward the recommendations. But it is up to the politicians whether to accept our suggestions or not."

The move came days after the umbrella organization of lawyers, the Nepal Bar Association, expressed similar dissatisfaction with the draft of the interim constitution.

The judges are seeking to amend the process of appointing the chief justice, who under the draft constitution would be appointed on the sole recommendation of the prime minister.

Instead they want the formation of a judicial council that includes the prime minister, the chief justice, the speaker, the minister for law and a Supreme Court judge to decide on the new Chief justice.

The interim constitution is necessary to pave the way for the formation of an interim national assembly and government comprising the Maoists. It has however, come under increasing criticism from several sectors including politicians who are now calling for a review by the current parliament before promulgation.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency