Nepal's SC issues show-cause notice on petition filed by Speaker against appointments by President

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Kathmandu, Feb 7 (PTI) Nepal's Supreme Court on Sunday issued a show-cause notice in response to a writ petition filed by Speaker of the House of Representatives Agni Prasad Sapkota against the recent appointments made by President Bidya Devi Bhandari at various constitutional commissions.

A single bench of Justice Prakash Kumar Dhungana issued the notice in the name of defendants - President Bhandari, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana, the office of the Constitutional Council, and chairman of the National Assembly, the Kathmandu Post newspaper reported.

The court has asked the defendants to submit their written response within 15 days, said Devendra Dhakal, information officer at the Supreme Court.

Senior Advocates Krishna Prasad Bhandari and Raman Shrestha among others defended Speaker Sapkota and demanded that those appointed to constitutional commissions should not be allowed to work.

On Wednesday, Chief Justice Cholendra administered the oath of office to almost four dozen people in various constitutional bodies in the presence of President Bhandari.

On Thursday, the Nepal Communist Party's splinter faction-led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' called a nation-wide general strike to oppose the appointment of office bearers and members of various constitutional bodies by Prime Minister Oli-led caretaker government.

Speaker Sapkota on Friday filed the petition against President Bhandari’s move to appoint 32 office-bearers to 11 constitutional bodies on Wednesday.

Narayan Kaji Shrestha, spokesperson for the Prachanda-led faction of the party, has termed the appointment of the office bearers and members of various constitutional bodies by caretaker Oli government as unconstitutional and said that it shows autocratic tendency of the government.

The caretaker government has no right to make new appointments and also reshuffle the cabinet, he said, pointing to the latest cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Oli.

Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 after 68-year-old Oli, known for his pro-China leanings, in a surprise move dissolved Parliament, amidst a tussle for power with Prachanda.

His move to dissolve the 275-member House sparked protests from a large section of the NCP led by Prachanda, also a co-chair of the ruling party. The Prachanda-led faction had been holding protest rallies and pubic gatherings in various parts of the country, including Kathmandu.

Oli, who is the chairperson of a faction of the NCP, has said he was forced to dissolve the House after knowing that the Prachanda-led faction was planning to file a no-confidence motion against him and introduce an impeachment motion against President Bhandari.

Oli-led CPN-UML and Prachanda-led NCP (Maoist Centre) merged in May 2018 to form a unified Nepal Communist Party following victory of their alliance in the 2017 general elections. PTI ZH ZH