Nepal’s divisive Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli was sacked on Wednesday (March 14) for faking his date of birth in order to remain in office longer.
The controversy over Parajuli’s date of birth has been brewing for months after he charged a prominent activist and Nepal’s largest newspaper with contempt of court for raising concerns about his multiple birthdays.
A judicial council concluded that Parajuli should have retired seven months ago when he turned 65, the age of retirement for official positions in Nepal.
“He has been removed from the post after the age of retirement was found to have been crossed last August in our investigation,” the council’s secretary Nripdhoj Niraula told AFP.
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 orthopaedic 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.