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Madam Chief Justice

Monday, July 11th, 2016
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Chief Justice Sushila Karki assumes office on Mnoday. Photo: RSS

Nepal’s first female Chief Justice Sushila Karki assumed office on Monday, after being administered the oath of office and secrecy by the first female President, Bidya Bhandari in the presence of the first female Speaker, Onsari Gharti Magar.

At a press conference later in the day, Karki said her priority would be to implement the newly-promulgated Constitution by working to amend all the laws that contradict the charter. She added that her biggest challenge would be to set up High Courts in all the seven provinces envisaged in the new Constitution.

Karki also said she would strive during her 11-month tenure to enable marginalised and backward communities to have access to justice. “Only 5 per cent of Nepalis who are wealthy have access to justice now,” she said. “If the judiciary gets all its resources from the state, why do all the citizens not have access to justice? This has to change.”

Karki had been recommended by the Judicial Council as the new Chief Justice in March but her appointment was delayed by the absence of the Parliamentary Hearing Committee. The Committee was formed only when the ruling UML and the main opposition NC agreed on the number of its members last month.

The Committed cleared Karki’s name as the new Chief Justice only on Sunday. After Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha retired four months ago, Karki had been serving as the acting Chief Justice.

Karki was appointed as a justice at the Supreme Court (SC) while serving as a senior advocate in Morang district in the eastern plains in January 2009. She has delivered many landmark verdicts in the last seven years as an SC justice.

She was a member of the bench that sentenced the then-minister JP Gupta to one year in prison on a corruption charge in 2012. She was also admired by many for her courage in convicting Maoist leader Balkrishna Dhungel of murdering Ujjain Shrestha in Okhaldhunga.

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