Six writ petitions were filed at the Supreme Court today challenging the ordinance that lowered the threshold for splitting political parties. Petitioners have urged the court to repeal the ordinance arguing that the government brought it bypassing the Parliament.

Advocate Shree Kanta Baral has stated in the writ that the Sher Bahadur Deuba government issued the ordinance with mala fide intention of splitting political parties against the spirit of the constitution that guarantees multi-party democratic system. He said the ordinance enabled dissidents to split their parties with just 20 per cent support in the central committee or the parliamentary party. It is against the intention of the legislature expressed in the Political Party Act (PPA), which requires that dissidents should have at least 40 per cent support in the parliamentary party, as well as the central committee, to split their mother party.

Baral told THT that in the case filed against the citizenship ordinance issued by the KP Sharma Oli government, the Supreme Court had said an ordinance could be issued only when there was urgent need for it. "The Deuba government brought the ordinance within 24 hours of proroguing the Parliament. That means the government had planned to bypass the Parliament," he said. He added that the government's intention of bringing the ordinance was not fair, as it facilitated the split of two parties - the CPN-UML and the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal.

Dissidents in the two parties filed for splitting their parties the same day the ordinance was issued.

Baral said if the ordinance was not rescinded it could split a political party into five parties. He said the intent of the Political Party Act was that parties should remain strong even after they split, but the ordinance undermined the spirit of the act. Baral said the Supreme Court had rebuked the Oli government in the House of Representatives dissolution case for issuing one ordinance after another, but the Deuba government had gone against the SC verdict by issuing the ordinance to lower the threshold for splitting political parties. He urged the court to stay the ordinance. The SC has assigned the six writ petitions to the constitutional bench. These writ petitions will be listed for hearing after one week, said Joint Registrar of the Supreme Court Baburam Dahal.

Yesterday, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari promulgated the ordinance on the recommendation of the Sher Bahadur Deuba government, amending key provisions of the Political Party Act.

Advocates Arjun Kumar Aryal and Shakuntala Bhusal, Nikesh Kumar Lamsal and Anupa Aryal, Saroj Budhathoki and Ashish Shrestha, Prabesh KC, Shreekanta Baral, and Dal Bahadur Dhami have filed separate writ petitions at the apex court.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 20 2021, of The Himalayan Times.