Nepal: Discussion over HoR dissolution expected to end today, SC verdict likely this week

Discussion over writ petitions filed against the dissolution of Nepal's lower house or House of Representatives is expected to end in the Supreme Court today. Three senior lawyers will be presenting their counter-arguments on Monday as pleading over the House of Representatives (HoR) from the government side ended on Sunday.
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Nepal: Discussion over HoR dissolution expected to end today, SC verdict likely this week

Kathmandu: Discussion over writ petitions filed against the dissolution of Nepal's lower house or House of Representatives is expected to end in the Supreme Court today. Three senior lawyers will be presenting their counter-arguments on Monday as pleading over the House of Representatives (HoR) from the government side ended on Sunday.

Senior advocates Shambhu Thapa, Badri Bahadur Karki and Harihar Dahal are presenting their counter-arguments on behalf of writ petitioners.

On Sunday, senior advocate and former Attorney General Raman Shrestha began pleading on behalf of writ petitioners and Constitutional Bench had posed six questions to the plaintiff's side.

Justice Ishwor Khatiwada asked five questions other than those raised by the government side; three of which were focused on procedures. Similarly, Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana put forward a question to the writ petitioners.

Justice Khatiwada asked about the documents presented to stake a claim for the Prime Minister's post by the writ petitioners in accordance with Article 76 (5) of the constitution that does not meet legal formalities. There is the use of tipex everywhere. It seems like a forgery as if the paper was prepared for a different purpose was submitted.

He also asked about the signatures on the petitions as there were 146 petitioners, but only five have signed on the document. "What law allows this? A hearing should not be conducted for such a petition as it does not meet legal formalities. Such petition should be dismissed," Justice Khatiwada said.

"Regarding the formation of the Constitutional Court, it is not a dispute of the situation as per Article 137 (2) of the constitution. The procedures for resolving disputes as per 137 (3) have not been met."

He also raised questions over if the petitioner's interpretation of Article 76 (5) of the constitution is brought to practice, only then it will mean implementing a party less system.

Justice Khatiwada also raised the question of whether the court is responsible to appoint the Prime Minister. "There's a constitutional provision to appoint a Prime Minister and one should not reach the court asking to appoint a Prime Minister.

Answers related to the above queries were sought from the writ petitioners' side before they began their arguments.

Similarly, CJ Rana questioned whether it would not hamper the multi-party system based on pluralism as envisaged in the Constitution if an order was issued as demanded by the writ petitioners' side.

Amicus curiae will lend advice to the Constitutional Bench once the lawyers finish their counter-arguments. The Supreme Court has put aside two hours for amicus curiae. With this, a total of four hours has remained for the writ petition filed against the HoR.

A total of 30 writ petitions have been filed against the HoR dissolution. As many as 146 lawmakers of the HoR including President Sher Bahadur Deuba of Nepali Congress (NC) have filed the writ petitions demanding the reinstatement of the HoR and appointing Deuba as the Prime Minister of Nepal.

Chief Justice Rana has formed a five-member Constitutional Bench under his leadership to hear the writ. Other justices on the bench include Deepak Kumar Karki, Meera Khadka, Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada and Dr Aananda Mohan Bhattarai.

The justices on the bench are the senior-most among those who feature in the roster of the Constitutional Bench. Earlier, the constitutional bench had issued an order ruling that the advocates should finish their arguments within 32 hours.

Fifteen hours were allocated for advocates on behalf of writ petitioners and 15 hours for legal practitioners of Prime Minister and Government Attorneys. Similarly, the remaining two hours have been set aside for amicus curiae.

In less than three months of its reinstatement, the House of Representatives of Nepal was again dissolved in May after a high running political drama over the nomination of a new Prime Minister.

Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on the recommendation of the Cabinet on May 21 dissolved the House of Representatives calling for fresh elections in November.

Office of President at that time had issued a release announcing the dissolution of the house for a second time as per Article 76 (7) of the Constitution of Nepal, on the recommendation of the cabinet.

The next election will be on November 12 and 19 as per the recommendation of the Cabinet. (ANI)