Former attorney general Agni Prasad Kharel told the constitutional bench today that since President Bidhya Devi Bhandari had immunity from court cases, the Supreme Court could not direct her to appoint Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba as new prime minister.

Appearing before the court on behalf of the government in the House of Representatives dissolution case, Kharel said the court could not direct the president also because plaintiffs had not named the president a defendant in the case.

He said the president used her discretionary power to reject the claims of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba. Moreover, since she took her decision without the recommendation of the Council of Ministers, the court cannot issue a directive to the president, he said He said the act related to remuneration and conditions of service facilities of the president and the vice-president had given the president and the vice-president immunity from court cases for duties they discharge while in office.

Senior Advocate Surendra Kumar Mahto said the president's decision to reject Deuba's claim was right because Deuba tried to become the PM with the support of other parties' lawmakers which was against the norms and values of multi-party system.

"Article 76 (2) and 76 (5) require the claimant to show support of majority members on the basis of parties' support. Article 76 (5) allows an independent member to become the PM with the support of other parties," he argued.

Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana asked the defendants' lawyer whether or not the responsibility of saving the HoR lay with the PM.

After the prime minister's lawyers complete their oral submission, Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota's lawyers will present their arguments.

Senior Advocates Shyam Prasad Kharel, Lav Kumar Mainali, and Upendra Keshari Neupane and advocates Megha Raj Pokharel and Shri Krishna Subedi will plead on the speaker's behalf.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 2 2021, of The Himalayan Times.