HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Opposition can have its say, but the government must have its way. That’s the opinion of the legal experts on the government’s request to the President to invoke Article 158 of the Interim Constitution to remove hurdles to fill key posts in the constitutional bodies.
Advocate Bhimarjun Acharya said invoking Article 158 in extremely urgent situation is justifiable. “State cannot remain in vacuum. This is a serious issue so other parties need to support the government’s decision to fill vacancies by invoking Article 158. But the government should not use the article frequently,” Acharya added.
He argued that the provision of Article 158 that requires constitutional changes to be approved by the Parliament within a month too could be amended.
Another advocate Borna Bahadur Karki said though political consensus would be ideal, it could not be an excuse to oppose or scuttle government’s recommendation to invoke Article 158. “It is the government that runs the country and not the opposition. In the absence of the Parliament, it was okay for the government to invoke ‘remove difficulties clause.’ All constitutions have such provisions that can be used when other avenues are not available,” Karki added.
Advocate Surendra Mahato said, “Any changes in the constitution as per Article 158 require approval of the Parliament within a month, which is not possible at this stage. This recommendation, therefore, is a political recommendation rather than a constitutional one,” Mahato said.
The opposition, on the other hand, is opposed to the government’s move. CPN-UML Secretary Shankar Pokhrel said at an interaction here today that despite President’s reservations, the government was trying to bring one after other ordinances and was spoiling the atmosphere of consensus. He said if the ongoing talks did not yield any result by September 15, they would not settle the issues on the street itself.
“We have announced a stir from October 5,” Pokhrel added. He argued that the government could urge the President to invoke Article 158 only if the Parliament existed and the government had the consent of other political parties for the same.
Nepali Congress leader Prakash Sharan Mahat said the government was trying to tighten its grip on army, police, judiciary and constitutional bodies through ordinances. Mahat said the Unified CPN-Maoist’s disregard for provisions of the Interim Constitution was guided by its attempt to capture state power.
Minister of Peace and Reconstruction Top Bahadur Raymajhi countered this by saying, “Politics is all about gaining state power. We cannot quit power just because the opposition wants that,” Raymajhi added.