The Constitutional Council (CC) appointed Anup Raj Sharma to succeed Chief Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, who retires on 12 December.

The appointment was made during a CC meeting presided by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Monday. The opposition party was absent from the meeting but consented to Sharma’s appointment.

Sharma, a lawyer-turned-justice, famously ordered the release of political detainees and the lifting of a ban on radio news broadcasts during King Gyanendra’s direct rule.

Sharma will only serve as the chief justice for four months, but plans to reduce the backlog of cases in the Supreme Court during that time.

He will begin his tenure when he is ceremoniously appointed by the president following confirmation from the Parliamentary Special Hearing Committee within 15 days.