Nepal SC to hear writ petitions against House dissolution on May 27 and 28

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Kathmandu, May 25 (PTI) Nepal's Supreme Court will hear on Thursday and Friday a bunch of writ petitions against the dissolution of the House of Representatives, according to media reports.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the 275-member House of Representatives on Saturday for the second time in five months and announced snap elections on November 12 and November 19 on the advice of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, heading a minority government.

She rejected the bids of both embattled Prime Minister Oli and the Opposition alliance's claims to form a government. Oli and Opposition leader Sher Bahadur Deuba had staked separate claims to the premiership.

Nepal's Opposition alliance on Monday filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court demanding restoration of the House of Representatives and appointment of veteran Nepali Congress leader Deuba as the Prime Minister.

Others had also filed petitions against the dissolution of the House of Representatives.

The Supreme court will hear the writ petitions on Thursday and Friday, The Himalayan Times newspaper reported.

Of the total writs filed, 19 demanding an interim order on the government's move of dissolving the House will be heard on Thursday, it said.

As many as 11 writs registered demanding hearing by the constitutional bench, including the one filed by 146 former lawmakers of the dissolved House challenging the government's move, will be heard on Friday, it said.

A five-member strong constitutional bench led by Chief Justice will hear the cases on Friday.

Leaders of the Opposition alliance moved the apex court two days after President Bhandari dissolved the 275-member House.

In the writ, the petitioners have demanded that Nepali Congress President Deuba should be lawfully appointed the Prime Minister of Nepal in accordance with Article 76 (5).

Their other demands include scrapping the announcement of elections in November, stopping election-related programmes amid the pandemic and issuing an order to summon the House for a meeting to facilitate the presentation of the budget within the time provisioned by the Constitution, it said.

The petitioners noted that the dissolution was “unconstitutional” as there was legal room for the appointment of a new government as per Article 76 (5) of the Constitution of Nepal.

As many as 146 members of the dissolved House of Representatives – 61 from the Nepali Congress, 49 from the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), 23 from the Madhav Nepal faction of the CPN-UML, 12 from the Upendra Yadav-Baburam Bhattarai of the Janata Samajbadi Party and one from the Rastriya Janamorcha Nepal – have signed the petition, challenging Prime Minister Oli and President Bhandari’s House dissolution move late on Friday night.

A court official confirmed that as many as 146 lawmakers have filed the petition.

Constitutional experts have criticised Oli and Bhandari for their complicity in trampling upon the Constitution.

Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 last year after President Bhandari dissolved the House and announced fresh elections on April 30 and May 10 at the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli, amidst a tussle for power within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP).

Oli's move to dissolve the House sparked protests from a large section of the NCP led by his rival Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda'.

In February, the apex court reinstated the dissolved House, in a setback to Oli who was preparing for snap polls. PTI NSA AKJ NSA