Nepal's first female chief justice takes oath| MENAFN.COM

Friday, 19 August 2022 02:51 GMT

Nepal's first female chief justice takes oath


(MENAFN- The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) > After making history with the appointment of the first female head of state and speaker in the country, Nepal has made another landmark achievement in gender equality by appointing the first female chief justice of the Supreme Court.

On Monday, Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari conducted the oath of office and secrecy ceremony to induct the first female head of judiciary Sushila Karki following the unanimous endorsement by the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee.

Sixty-four-year-old Sushila Karki's appointment as head of the judiciary is a milestone in the six-decade-long judicial history of Nepal, which over the years has comprised only male legacies. She also became the first female member of the Judicial Council last January.

After the rise of females to the top three leading roles of the state, the Himalayan nation has reintroduced itself as one of the most progressive nations in South Asia by bestowing power to more women.

At a time when women are still suffering from violence and gender discrimination at some parts of the globe, many believe that such an achievement gives cause to celebrate female power, women's rights and gender equality.

Sushila Karki is widely known for her "zero tolerance" stance against corruption, a highly-revered attribute for the post of chief justice, as well as having a track record clean of controversy or disputes.

Born in June, 1952, in the eastern development region, Karki, the wife of a political leader and mother of a son, earned her master's degree in political science from Benaras Hindu University and a Bachelor of Laws Degree prior to that from Nepal's Tribhuvan University.

Karki has experience of working as an advocate for more than three decades and as a Supreme Court justice for seven years. This professional proficiency, her qualifications and sincerity has led her to the leading post of judiciary, leaving many male colleagues and counterparts in her wake.

Local media reported that Karki has solved 8,765 cases in seven years and seven months and looked into 935 more after being appointed the acting chief justice.

Justice Karki has been praised for some of her landmark verdicts over the past few years. In 2012, Karki and Justice Tarkaraj Bhatta issued a verdict to convict the then Minister for Information JP Gupta. The joint bench of Karki and Bhatta had convicted Gupta on the charge of corruption, upon finding he had movable and immovable property worth 8.4 million Nepalese rupees (78,142 U.S. dollars) from unknown sources.

Justices Karki and Bhatta slapped a sentence of one and half years imprisonment and 8.4 million Nepalese rupees in fines to Gupta, overturning a verdict of the Special Court that had given him a clean sheet in the corruption charge filed by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).

"Karki and Bhatta issued the verdict against Gupta, a corrupt politician, even though they had received death threats. It proved that she has zero tolerance towards corruption," a lawyer close to Karki told Xinhua prior to her appointment, requesting anonymity.

Her capacity will undoubtedly be tested in the weeks, months and years to come, as there are numerous disputed issues to be resolved by the Supreme Court. However, Karki's professional career has given many confidence in her ability to face the toughest challenges, and continue with her impartial decision-making.

During the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee meeting on Sunday, Karki accepted that the Supreme Court is facing a tough time due to a shortage of judges and had appealed to conduct a hearing for appointments as early as possible.

Her remarks had signified her urgency to resolve the existing complexities in the Supreme Court, her first call of duty in the lead post. At present, the special house panel is yet to conduct a hearing of 11 nominees for their appointment as Supreme Court judges.

Legal experts, who are familiar with Karki, are of the view that she has set exemplary principles when it comes to good governance.

Women comprise more than half of Nepal's population of 28 million. As such, the appointment of three females to the posts of handling top national affairs has encouraged Nepalese women to disregard gender barriers to improve their situations and roles in the society.

by Shristi Kafle


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