Kathmandu Post | Kiran Chapagain, Advocate.

 

Kathmandu, March 14 – Judges of the country are, for the first time, getting a code of conduct of international standard amidst realization that the existing code is obsolete.The nine-page code of conduct obtained by the Post has eight main heads detailing  what judges should and should not do to uphold judicial independence, impartiality and people’s faith in the judiciary.

It says that judges should not come into “inappropriate” contact with members of the executive and legislature.

A seven-member committee led by Justice Khil Raj Regmi finalized the code of conduct last Friday and handed it over to Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri. Giri is currently studying the code before presenting it to the Full Court, the apex policy making body of the judiciary, for its endorsement. The Full Court is expected to convene next week. The committee prepared the code of conduct upon realization that the existing code of 1998 did not meet international standards.

The code of conduct further says that judges should be impartial not only while passing verdicts but also in the whole judicial process prior to the verdict. It demands that judges  be committed to judicial work.

“A judge should not let lawyers run their offices at his residence or meet parties to subjudice cases at his residence,” the code of conduct states.

The existing Code of Conduct for Judges1998 is silent in this regard though the international code of conduct for judges clearly prohibits judges from meeting with parties to cases at their residences.

This issue became a matter of national debate last July when the Post ran a story of former Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel meeting parties to cases at his official residence at Baluwatar, Kathmandu.

The code of conduct has been prepared on the basis of The Bangalore Draft of Judicial Conduct 2001 and its amendment in 2006 by the Economic and Social Council.

Besides Judge Regmi, justices Ram Kumar Prasad Sha, Rana Bahadur Bam, Dr Ananda Mohan Bhattarai, Narayan Dahal and Judicial Council Secretary Prakash Kumar Dhungana were involved in preparing the code of conduct.