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

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KATHMANDU: The debate on the auto petitions filed against the dissolution of the lower house or the House of Representatives of Nepal is expected to end today in the Supreme Court. Three high-level lawyers will present their counterarguments on Monday, as the allegations about the House of Representatives (HoR) from the government side ended on Sunday.
The main defenders Shambhu Thapa, Badri Bahadur Karki and Harihar Dahal are presenting their counterarguments on behalf of the petitioners in writing.
On Sunday, lead attorney and former attorney general Raman Shrestha began advocating on behalf of the petitioners in writing and the Constitutional Court had raised six questions alongside the plaintiff.
Judge Ishwor Khatiwada asked five different questions than those raised by the government side; three of which focused on procedures.
Similarly, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Cholendra Shumsher Rana, put a question to the petitioners. Judge Khatiwada asked about the documents presented to claim the position of prime minister by the petitioners according to article 76 (5) of the constitution that does not comply with the legal formalities.
There is the use of tipex everywhere. It looks like a forgery as if the document was prepared for a different purpose.
He also asked about the signatures of the petitions, since there were 146 petitioners, but only five have signed the document. “What law allows this? A hearing should not be held for such a petition as it does not comply with legal formalities. Such a petition should be dismissed,” Judge Khatiwada said.
“As for the formation of the Constitutional Court, it is not a dispute of the situation according to article 137 (2) of the Constitution. The procedures for the resolution of disputes according to 137 (3) have not been complied with.”
It also raised questions about whether the petitioner’s interpretation of Article 76 (5) of the Constitution is put into practice, only then will it mean implementing a partyless system.
Judge Khatiwada also raised the question of whether the court is responsible for appointing the prime minister. “There is a constitutional provision for appointing a prime minister and one should not go to court asking to appoint a prime minister.”
Responses related to the previous consultations were requested from the petitioners’ side before they began their arguments.
Similarly, CJ Rana questioned whether it would not hamper the multiparty system based on pluralism as contemplated by the Constitution if an order were issued as required by the petitioning writers.
Amicus curiae will advise the Constitutional Court once the attorneys complete their counterarguments. The Supreme Court has reserved two hours for amicus curiae. With this, there is a total of four hours left for the claim filed against the HoR.
A total of 30 writ petitions have been filed against the dissolution of HoR. Up to 146 HoR legislators, including the president
Sher Bahadur Deuba from the Congress of Nepal (NC) has filed auto petitions demanding reinstatement of the HoR and appointing Deuba as Prime Minister of Nepal.
Chief Justice Rana has formed a five-member constitutional bench under his leadership to hear the brief. Other judges on the bench include Deepak Kumar Karki, Meera Khadka, Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada, and Dr. Aananda Mohan Bhattarai.
The magistrates on the bench are the highest ranking among those on the Constitutional Bank’s list. Previously, the constitutional court had issued an order that defenders must finish their arguments within 32 hours.
Fifteen hours were allotted for attorneys on behalf of the petitioners in writing and 15 hours for attorneys for the Prime Minister and
Government attorneys. Likewise, the remaining two hours have been reserved for amicus curiae.
Less than three months after his reinstatement, the Nepalese House of Representatives dissolved again in May after a major political drama over the nomination of a new Prime Minister.
On May 21, the President of Nepal, Bidhya Devi Bhandari, on the recommendation of the Cabinet, dissolved the House of Representatives and called for new elections in November.
The Office of the President at that time had issued a statement announcing the dissolution of the house for the second time in accordance with article 76 (7) of the Constitution of Nepal, on the recommendation of the cabinet.
The next elections will be on November 12 and 19 as recommended by the Cabinet.
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