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Nepal’s first female chief justice faces impeachment

Sushila Karki, Nepal's first female chief justice
Image caption Ms Karki has been the country’s top judge since April 2016

Nepal’s first female chief justice has been suspended after the two largest parties in the ruling coalition filed an impeachment motion against her.

They accuse Sushila Karki of delivering biased verdicts and interfering in the executive’s jurisdiction.

At least 249 MPs signed the motion, well over the quarter required to open an impeachment investigation.

It comes after the Supreme Court overturned the government’s choice of chief of police.

‘Favours rather than merit’

Last month the court ruled in favour of a claim by Navaraj Silwal, the most senior officer in the ranks, that he had been unfairly bypassed in favour of a less senior colleague, Jaya Bahadur Chand.

A hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday 2 May on the government’s second choice of candidate, Prakash Aryal, local media report.

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Critics say there is a history of political parties determining police appointments on the basis of “undue favours rather than merit”.

Nepalese media reports say there had been disagreement within the coalition over the appointment.

Ms Karki, the head of the Supreme Court, is now automatically suspended from her duties while an impeachment committee is formed and carries out an investigation.

The conclusion will then be put to a parliamentary vote, with a two-thirds majority required.

The ruling coalition, made up of the UCPN (Maoist-Centre), the Nepali Congress and some smaller parties, would need outside support to pass it.

Ms Karki, 64, was appointed in April 2016, and is due to retire in June.

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