Likely to set a precedent for a similar case in Karnali

Kathmandu, June 14

The Supreme Court has rescinded the stay order it had issued against the expulsion of Gandaki Provincial Assembly member Krishna Thapa.

The order was passed by a division bench of Justice Bishwombhar Prasad Shrestha and Kumar Regmi in response to a writ petition filed by Thapa's mother party Rastriya Janamorcha, endorsing Rastriya Janamorcha's decision to expel Thapa from the party which consequently led to his removal from the PA.

The bench observed that after the SC issued the interim order, Thapa's party had sought clarification from him and taken further punitive action against him under Political Party Act. It said Thapa had already been removed from the Gandaki Provincial Assembly and a new government was formed in the province. As Thapa has already been removed from Gandaki Provincial Assembly and the situation changed with the formation of a new government, there was no relevance of continuing the stay order against Thapa's expulsion and barring him from working as a PA member, the SC observed.

On June 6, a single bench of Justice Kumar Chudal had issued an interim order against Thapa's expulsion.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Krishna Chandra Nepali Pokharel has formed a new government in Gandaki. With Thapa's expulsion Gandaki Provincial Assembly will have 59 members and Pokharel will need the support of 30 members when he seeks a vote of confidence.

Thapa's expulsion may set a precedent in similar cases.

On June 10, the Supreme Court had issued an interim order against the expulsion of four Karnali Provincial Assembly members - Prakash Jwala, Nanda Singh Budha, Amar Bahadur Thapa, and Kurmaraj Shahi - who were expelled from their mother party, the CPN- UML, for crossing the floor during Chief Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi's floor test. If today's precedent is applied, these four lawmakers could also lose their seats. They were from the Madhav Kumar Nepal-Jhalanath Khanal faction and went against the party whip to support Shahi.

Thapa was removed from his mother party after he defied the party's decision to topple the CPN-UML government led by Prithvi Subba Gurung. The Rastriya Janamorcha, which had supported the CPN-UML government in Kathmandu and Pokhara, decided not to back it after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli dissolved the House of Representatives. Rastriya Janamorcha's federal lawmaker Durga Paudel is one of the signatories of the five-party opposition alliance that has opposed Oli's move dissolving the HoR.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 15, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.