Nepal appoints woman chief justice, ending male dominance

Nepal appoints first female acting chief justice of Supreme Court, seen by activists as milestone in women's empowerment

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari arrives to take part during the "Ghodejatra" Horse Race festival, which is organised by the Nepal Army, in Kathmandu, Nepal, April 7, 2016.

Updated Apr 15, 2016

Nepal appointed Sushila Karki as the first female acting Chief Justice of Nepal’s Supreme Court on Wednesday.

After the retirement of Kalyan Shrestha on Tuesday the Constitutional Council headed by Prime Minister, K P Oli, recommended the appointment of Karki and brought an end to the male domination of top posts in the judiciary. Activists hailed the appointment as a milestone in women’s empowerment in Nepal.

The nomination of Karki, 63, who was the most senior judge in the Supreme Court is expected to be confirmed by a parliamentary committee.

Karki would work as acting Chief Justice until the parliamentary hearing, said Pramod Dahal, an aide of Oli.

As a patriarchal society with a tradition of male domination, Nepal is becoming increasingly inclusive after the end of 10 years of civil war in 2006 and the abolition of the 239-year-old feudal monarchy two years later.

A specially elected Constituent Assembly approved the post-monarchical constitution last September, which gave women the right to be included in all government organs.

Equal property rights to daughters is also guaranteed by the constitution and it also requires the president and vice-president to be from different genders and communities.

The change in society is also visible in parliament. The president who holds a ceremonial position, and the parliament speaker are women.

Karki has the reputation of being a fearless judge with zero tolerance for corruption. She is also known for judgments allowing women to pass their citizenship to their children, previously something only men could do in Nepal.

Hari Phuyal, a senior lawyer and former student of Karki said that Karki “strongly believes that competent women should be in leadership positions for the emancipation of women.”

"Even as a child she treated everyone as equals and encouraged us to go to school," Junu Dahal, her younger sibling said.


TRTWorld and agencies