Nepal’s apex court issues show-cause notice to Oli govt over Parliament dissolution

Shirish B Pradhan
·4-min read

Kathmandu, Dec 25 (PTI) Nepal’s Supreme Court on Friday issued a show-cause notice to Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli-led government, asking it to submit a written clarification over its decision to abruptly dissolve Parliament.

The five-member Constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana issued the notice after a hearing on the writ petitions filed against the government’s decision to dissolve the 275-member House of Representatives, according to court officials.

The bench sought the written clarification from the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Minister and Office of the President as they are made defendants in all the writ petitions, they said.

The court also asked the government to submit an original copy of the recommendations made by it to dissolve the House and the decision made by President Bidya Devi Bhandari to authenticate the government’s recommendations within 10 days.

Earlier, the apex court demanded an amicus curiae from Nepal Bar Association and Supreme Court Bar Association in connection with the hearing.

An amicus curiae is a legal professional or expert who assists the court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the case.

In another key development, Prime Minister Oli inducted five new ministers into his Cabinet.

All the new ministers are leaders of the erstwhile CPN (Maoist Center) which was led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, My Republica newspaper reported, quoting a member of the Standing Committee Mani Thapa.

The new ministers include Top Bahadur Rayamajhi as Minister for Energy, Prabhu Sah as Minister for Labour and Employment, Mani Thapa as Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Dawa Lama as Minister for Education and Gauri Shanker Chaudhary as Minister for Drinking Water.

According to the Constitution, the Cabinet cannot exceed 25 members.

Oli can still appoint three new ministers as a total of seven ministers close to Prachanda had resigned from their posts after the dissolution of Parliament. Prime Minister Oli also holds the defence portfolio.

Meanwhile, the ‘Prachanda’-led faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) staged a protest rally in Kathmandu against Oli’s decision to dissolve the House.

‘Prachanda’ and Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhala Nath Khanal, Narayan Kaji Shrestha along with the party’s Central Committee members and members of the dissolved House gathered near the Prime Minister’s Office for the protest.

“We are here,” “Reinstate the House of Representatives,” and “dissolution of the House is unconstitutional,” were the slogans raised by the protesters.

Around two-thirds Central Committee members of the party and nearly 100 members of the House were present in the protest rally.

After staging a sit-in, the crowd marched towards the Election Commission (EC) office.

The EC will decide which faction of the NCP is legitimate to carry the party name and election symbol.

“We have the support of the majority of the Central committee members. Therefore, we are going to the commission to prove and show that we are the legitimate faction,” protesting leader Sunil Manahdhar, who is also a Central Committee member of the NCP, told PTI.

He said that the party will launch an agitation against the Oli government in collaboration with other Opposition parties, including the Nepali Congress and Janata Samajwadi Party, for the reinstatement of the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, Chinese ambassador Hou Yanqi on Friday met Madhav Nepal, who has replaced Oli as chairman of the NCP’s Prachanda-led faction.

Hou, who was concerned about the split in the ruling party, inquired about the future political course of the ruling party among other things, The Kathmandu Post quoted party’s deputy chief of department of foreign affairs Bishnu Rijal as saying.

She had also met the Standing Committee member and former energy minister Barsha Man Pun on Thursday, the paper said.

Hou on Thursday met NCP’s executive chairman Prachanda, who claims control over the ruling party after removing Prime Minister Oli from the posts of the party’s parliamentary leader and chair.

In a meeting of the Central Committee members close to him on Thursday, Oli announced the removal of Prachanda from the post of the party’s Executive Chairman.

Earlier, the Prachanda-led faction of the ruling party elected him as the new parliamentary leader, replacing Prime Minister Oli.

Nepal plunged into a political crisis after President Bhandari dissolved the House of Representatives and announced dates for mid-term elections at the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli on Sunday, sparking protests from a section of the ruling party and various opposition parties, including Nepali Congress.

The ruling party has now been virtually divided more than two years after it was formed following the merger of CPN-UML led by 68-year-old Oli and CPN-Maoist Centre led by 66-year-old Prachanda in May 2018.

Both factions of the party have intensified efforts to retain official party recognition along with the election symbol. The two factions are now busy making strategies to wrest control of the party. PTI SBP CPS ZH CPS