Nepal’s CJ forms Constitutional Bench to hear writ petitions against House dissolution


PTI, May 28, 2021, 12:23 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepal’s Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana has picked four justices of the Supreme Court (SC) for the Constitutional Bench to hear the 30 writ petitions filed against the dissolution of the House of Representatives by the President, according to a media report on Friday.

There is a provision of a five-member Constitutional Bench to settle the disputes over constitutional matters.

As many as 30 writ petitions have been registered at the apex court against President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s May 22 move to dissolve the lower house of Parliament on the advice of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who is heading a minority government.

The newly-formed bench includes justices Dipak Kumar Karki, Aanand Mohan Bhattarai, Tej Bahadur KC and Bam Kumar Shrestha, besides the chief justice, The Kathmandu Post reported.

“Chief Justice Rana has formed the bench comprising seniormost justices,” Kishor Poudel, a communication expert at the Supreme Court, told the Post.

Currently, there are 13 senior justices, besides chief justice, in the Supreme Court.

The initial hearing on 19 of such petitions was conducted by the CJ Rana-led bench on Thursday. The single bench, however, forwarded the writ petitions to the Constitutional Bench for further hearing.

Some of the petitioners had demanded an interim against the dissolution and calling of the House meeting to present the national budget. Rana, however, refused.

According to the constitutional provision, the government must present the federal budget at the federal Parliament by May 29.

Since there is no Parliament, the government is planning to bring the budget through an ordinance.

President 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 Oli.

She rejected the bids of both Prime Minister Oli and the Opposition alliance’s claims to form a government.

Oli and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba had staked separate claims to the premiership, saying the “claims were insufficient.”

Nepal’s opposition alliance on Monday filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court demanding restoration of the House of Representatives and appointment of Deuba as the Prime Minister.

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

Earlier on December 20, the President had dissolved the Parliament and called snap polls on April 30 and May 10. However, two months later, the Rana-led Constitutional Bench on February 23 overturned the decision and reinstated the House.

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.

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