ANANTA RAJ LUITEL
KATHMANDU: Sensing that the President is in no mood to approve any more ordinances, the government is busy doing the groundwork to urge him to invoke presidential power as per Article 158 of the Interim Constitution to fill vacancies in the Supreme Court and other constitutional bodies.
“A proposal to this effect has been presented to Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai,” a highly placed source at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers told The Himalayan Times. “If everything goes as per the plan, the government will recommend the President to invoke Article 158 to pave the way for appointments to the vital posts.”
Officials close to the matter said the government is now focused to get Article 158 invoked by the President with its efforts to get ordinances approved failing to bear fruit.
Appointments to vital posts, as per Article 155 of the Interim Constitution, require parliamentary hearing, which is not possible in the absence of Parliament, hence the government is making a bid to get Article 158 invoked.
Article 158 states: If any difficulty arises in connection with the implementation of this Constitution, the President may on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers, issue any orders to remove such difficulty; and such orders shall have to be ratified by the Legislature Parliament within one month.
The government move may push the Head of State into moral dilemma in view of urgency to appoint justices in the Supreme Court and chiefs and commissioners at constitutional bodies.
According to Law Secretary Bhesh Raj Paudel, the government does not have any other option, so it is mulling over ways to resolve the crisis.
He added that the proposal has suggested amending the Constitutional Council (Work, Duty and Procedure Act), 2010 to facilitate the CC to take decisions in the absence of the Speaker and leader of the opposition party — who are the ex-officio members of the top appointing body. “This may allow the government to take decision in majority basis by setting a new trend. The tradition has it that CC decisions are taken unanimously,” he added.
The government at present has two options — issuing ordinance or invoking presidential power — but the top officials feel that the latter will be a better option at a time when environment for ordinances is not conducive.
Rajendra Dahal, Press Adviser to the President, said the Head of State will act after analyse the situation. “Though he (President) does not want the constitutional bodies to remain vacant for long, he of course will leave it to the government to create conducive environment by forging consensus among parties,” added Dahal.