Introduction to Pradhan Nyayalaya Act

Pradhan Nyayalaya Act 2008 was the first Judicial Act of Nepal that provisioned for Pradhan Nyayalaya to be the Apex Court of Nepal.

Its purpose was to establish the Judiciary as one of the three organs of Government within Nepal. The Act also directed to dispense Fair and Impartial Justice in Nepal.

Juddha Shumsher had established Pradhan Nyayalaya in 1997 B.S. but it had to legislative basis until the end of the Rana Regime and the promulgation of the Actual Act in 2008 B.S.

Hari Prasad Pradhan was the First Chief Justice of Pradhan Nyayalaya and integrated Indian Precedents are persuasive for the decisions of the Court.

Features of Pradhan Nyayalaya Act

Pradhan Nyayalaya Act vested the Judicial Powers of Nepal to Pradhan Nyayalaya. It was also considered the Apex Court of Nepal before the Supreme Court Act was passed in 2013 B.S. The Act complimented Interim Government of Nepal Act 2007 B.S.

Tiers of Court

The Act has proposed three tiers of Court in Nepal. Ilaka Court was the First Instance Court which was located in each Panchayat Body. The District Court soon followed which was the Court of Appeal in Nepal at the time.

Then, Pradhan Nyayalaya was the Third and Apex Tier of the Nepalese Court System. It was designated the Court of Record where the decision and all Judicial Proceedings could be stored.


Pradhan Nyayalaya Act has provisioned for One Chief Justice and Four Judges for Pradhan Nyayalaya. The tenure of the Judges lasted till they reached the age of 65 years.

The process of Appointment of Judges was led by His Majesty’s Government. Under the recommendation of His Majesty’s Government, the judges could be appointed by His Majesty.

The criteria for the appointment of the Judges were also provisioned in the act. In general, a lawyer or a Judge of the District Court with experience exceeding 10 years would be eligible to be a Judge in the Pradhan Nyayalaya.

In order to remove a judge from Pradhan Nyayalaya, a 2/3rd Majority was required from the Council of Ministers. If the 2/3rd petitioned His Majesty for the removal of a Judge, then, the King could warrant the petition.


A writ is a legal document or order issued by a competent Court that commands or decrees a Public Authority or Body to conduct or not to conduct a specific action which may be a direct violation of existing Laws.

Pradhan Nyayalaya Act 2008 Section 30 provisioned the issuance of Writ by the Pradhan Nyayalaya as a part of its Extra-Ordinary Jurisdiction. The Writs were of five major types:

  • Mandamus
  • Habeas Corpus
  • Certiorari
  • Prohibition
  • Quo Warranto

Jurisdiction of Pradhan Nyayalaya

The Pradhan Nyayalaya was handed extensive Jurisdiction by this act.

Make Rules and Regulations

First, the Nyayalaya could make any relevant rules and regulations for the Judicial Bodies of Nepal to be operated under the Nyayalaya.

Contempt of Court

It could also continue the proceedings of Contempt of Court of its own.

Ordinary Jurisdiction

Also, it could initiate and transfer cases when required. Moreover, it could also review, remand, and postpone cases if they fulfilled the required conditions as it was the Court of Final Instance.

Make Suggestions

Politically, Pradhan Nyayalaya could make relevant suggestions to the Government in matters concerning the State or its laws.

Case Law / Precedent

Furthermore, it had the privilege of Case Law or Precedent by virtue of which its decision was binding upon Lower Courts.


The proceedings of Pradhan Nyayalaya could be initiated in either of the following benches depending upon the seriousness and gravity of the contended matter:

  • Single Bench which consisted of One Judge
  • Division Bench which consisted of Two Judges
  • Special Bench which consisted of Three Judges
  • Full Bench which consisted of more than Three Judges


Pradhan Nyayalaya Act has had its positive and negative impacts throughout the Judicial History of Nepal.

On the one hand, it modernized the Nepalese Legal System to the Global Standard and adopted the Common Law System.

On the other, it removed the major elements of Nepal’s Unique Legal System and introduced an unfeasible collection of Judicial Doctrines to Nepal.


The Act was one of the earliest legislations of Nepal and the first legislative initiative for Judicial Purposes and therefore holds immense significance. However, it is often criticized for its resemblance with the British and Indian Judicial Doctrines.