In questioning the impartiality of President Bidya Devi Bhandari in the dissolution of the House of Representatives on May 22, lawyers representing the petitioners against the measure have argued that his actions make it clear that he did not want anyone other than KP Sharma Oli as Prime Minister.
A five-member constitutional court of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana began the hearing process on Wednesday, beginning with the brief jointly filed by 146 lawmakers supporting the claim of the Speaker of the Nepalese Congress, Sher Bahadur Deuba. , to the position of prime minister.
On the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli, President Bhandari dissolved the lower house for the second time in five months on May 22 and announced snap elections on November 12 and 19.
Prime Minister Oli is currently heading a minority government after losing a vote of confidence in the 275-member House.
“Bhandari’s rejection of Deuba’s claim makes it clear that she wanted no one except KP Sharma Oli as prime minister,” lawyer Govinda Bandi was quoted as saying by The Kathmandu Post, while arguing on behalf of the petitioners against the dissolution. of the camera.
Six of the attorneys who argued on behalf of the plaintiffs presented their arguments for four hours on Wednesday.
Up to 30 petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court against the measure.
The Constitutional Court has said that it will first resolve the petition filed by Deuba, which has the backing of 146 legislators, including 23 from Oli’s CPN-UML, from the dissolved Chamber.
“The president gave an extra-constitutional justification to invalidate the claim of the president of the Nepalese Congress, Deuba, which had the support of 149 legislators,” Bandi said.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers claim that the president supported the dissolution of the House after midnight despite knowing that Deuba’s claim was valid, the newspaper said.
“The dissolution was the result of malicious intent,” said top defender Khamba Bahadur Khati.
The lawyers argued that the signatures of 149 lawmakers were enough for Bhandari to appoint Deuba as prime minister and if he had doubts about the misuse of the signatures, he could have left the matter up to the House to decide, he said.
Before the final hearing began on Wednesday, the Office of the President and the Prime Minister in their written responses to the court had justified their decision to dissolve the Chamber.
Claiming that the House of Representatives was dissolved under constitutional provisions, Bhandari told the Supreme Court that it cannot reverse its decision on the matter or subject it to judicial review.
For his part, Oli told the court that it is not for the judiciary to appoint a prime minister, as he cannot assume the legislative and executive functions of the state.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs, however, said Wednesday that the president had invaded the jurisdiction of the legislature by rejecting Deuba’s claim to form a government.
The main defender Shambhu Thapa said that no one has the authority to prohibit representatives of the people from demanding the formation of a government.
“Who are you [to reject] “When did 149 legislators sign for Deuba?” He asked, referring to the president. “There is a floor test in Parliament to decide if someone has the majority.”
Top defender Mahadev Yadav said he argued that the article 76 (5) provision was introduced into the Constitution of Nepal to allow individual legislators to make efforts to form a government so that the House does not face premature dissolution.
However, when the Chief Justice Rana asked if there was any documentation of the discussions in the Constituent Assembly on the article, to know the legislative intention, Yadav said that he was not aware.
The two parties have been allocated 15 hours each to present their cases. The four members of the amicus curiae have 30 minutes each to give their expert opinion.
The hearing will continue on Thursday and will continue until all arguments are complete.
“The plaintiffs’ lawyers will conclude their arguments in the next two days,” Kishwor Poudel, a communication expert for the Supreme Court, told the Post.
“Then comes the defendants’ turn,” he said.
The petitioners say the president should have let the House prove whether Deuba had a majority or not. Had he failed to demonstrate a majority, he would have been removed, which would have led to the automatic dissolution of the House.
Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 last year after President Bhandari dissolved the House and announced new elections on April 30 and May 10 on the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli, amid a fight for the power within the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (PNC).
In February, the high court reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives, in a setback for embattled Prime Minister Oli, who was preparing for snap elections.
Oli repeatedly defended his decision to dissolve the House of Representatives, saying that some leaders of his party were trying to form a “parallel government.”