AMN / KATHMANDU
Nepal’s powerful judicial council has removed the country’s Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli for holding office despite crossing the retirement age.
The judicial council said Chief Justice Parajuli’s date of birth mentioned in his identity papers and academic certificates did not match. The retirement cut-off for state officials in Nepal is 65. The council said, Chief Justice Parajuli should have retired seven months ago.
The decision came just moments before Parajuli administered the oath of office to Nepal’s President Bidya Bhandari, who was re-elected for a second term on Tuesday.
He administered the oath nonetheless. It is not clear if Bhandari will have to be sworn in again.
In late February Parajuli subpoenaed the Kantipur Daily — Nepal’s largest newspaper by circulation — on contempt of court charges for a series of articles that said he had given up to five different dates of birth on various official documents.
The charges were widely condemned as an attack on press freedom, and Parajuli attracted further outrage when he said he would preside over the case himself.
In January, Parajuli also ordered the arrest of anti-corruption activist Dr Govinda KC, an orthopedic surgeon well-loved in Nepal for his philanthropic work, for raising questions about his date of birth.
Parajuli became chief justice last June after his predecessor Sushila Karki — the first woman to hold the position — turned 65.