Nepal's Oli-led Cabinet suffers setback as SC annuls reappointment of 7 ministers

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Nepal's Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli (File Photo)
Nepal's Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli (File Photo)

Kathmandu [Nepal], May 20 (ANI): In a major blow to KP Sharma Oli-led administration, the Supreme Court on Thursday annulled the re-appointment of seven ministers in the Prime Minister's cabinet.

A single bench of Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana delivered the verdict, terming the move of PM Oli to continue seven ministers (former Maoist Center leaders) as ministers to be against the constitution.

CJ Rana maintained that the re-appointment of ministers who are no longer members of either of the house has failed to follow Article 78 of the constitution. The article in the Constitution states that "a person who is not a member of federal parliament can be minister for only six months."

Ram Bahadur Thapa, Lekhraj Bhatta, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Prabhu Shah, Mani Thapa, Gauri Shankar Chaudhary and Dawa Lama had taken a fresh oath of office and secrecy in Oli's cabinet after he was reappointed as Prime Minister for being the leader of the largest political party in parliament.

Thapa has been serving as Home Minister, Bhatta as Minister for Industry, Rayamajhi as Minister for Energy, Shah as Minister for Urban Development, Mani Thapa as Minister for Drinking Water, Chaudhary as Minister for Labor and Lama as Minister for Sports.

A writ petition was filed by advocate duo Kapil Dev Dhakal and Biraj Thapa, who claimed that all former Maoist Center leaders who lost their position as lawmakers should be automatically relieved from the post of ministers.

Meanwhile, Ram Bahadur Thapa also has lost Thursday's National assembly by-election held for a vacant post in Bagmati Province.

Dr Khim Lal Devkota, the candidate from the opposition alliance, won a seat with a total of 5,088 weightage of votes while Thapa, the official candidate of the ruling CPN-UML could only garner 4,014 votes.

While the Oli-led UML had fielded Home Minister Thapa, Madhav Kumar Nepal-led faction of the party extended its support to Dr Devkota, a UML leader close to Nepal. Dr Devkota had secured the support of the Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Center).

The by-election took place to fill the post that fell vacant after the CPN-Maoist Center sacked Home Minister Thapa from the party when he decided to quit the Maoist Center. This is the first by-election of a member of the National Assembly after the implementation of the current constitution.

Of the total 347 voters, 338 participated in the voting while nine chose to abstain from it. An electoral college of 347 voters - 109 Bagmati Province Assembly members and 347 chiefs and deputy chiefs of local units in the province - is supposed to elect the member for the upper house. Each vote of Provincial Assembly members carries a weightage of 48, while the vote of chiefs and deputy chiefs of the local governments each carry a weightage of 18 in the counting. (ANI)

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