Nepal's Supreme Court restores House of Representatives

By Laxman Datt Pant

Nepal's Supreme Court restores House of Representatives

Putting an end to all the confusion and uncertainty created after the dissolution of the House of Representatives (HoR) on December 20 last year, the Supreme Court (SC) of Nepal today restored the HoR.

Announcing the SC’s decision to restore the HoR, Cholendra SJB Rana, Chief Justice of the SC of Nepal, said that the SC had ordered a session of the HoR to be convened within 13 days. The Prime Minister who received the majority vote did not have the right to dissolve the HoR as per Clause 7 of the Article 76 of the Constitution of Nepal, he added.

However, no decisions have been made so far whether to revoke all appointments made after December 20. The appointment of 38 office bearers in 11 constitutional bodies on December 15 was made after Prime Minister Oli had amended the law relating to the Constitutional Council through an ordinance. As a result of this, Prem Rai was appointed as the head of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIIA), Tap Bahadur Magar as the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Jaya Bahadur Chand and Kishore Kumar Silwal as members of the CIIA, Kamala Kumari Parajuli as the Chairperson of the National Women Commission, Devraj BK as the Chairperson of the Dalit Commission and Man Prasad Khatri as the Chairman of the National Inclusive Commission.

Agni Sapkota, Speaker of the HoR, had approached the SC seeking annulment of these appointments which had been made by the Constitutional Council without a parliamentary hearing.

The Constitutional Bench of the SC headed by Chief Justice Rana unanimously decided to overturn the government’s decision to dissolve the HoR. Judges on the Constitutional Bench included Sapna Pradhan Malla, Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha, Tej Bahadur KC, and Anil Kumar Sinha.

Bidya Devi Bhandai, the President of Nepal, had earlier dissolved the HoR on the recommendation of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. As a result, as many as 13 writ petitions were registered at the court against this move by the government with the hearing of those petitions beginning on January 17 and ending on February 19.

The majority of political parties, including a faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Madhav Kumar Nepal, had demonstrated their objections to the dissolution of the HoR by taking their protest the street.