The constitutional bench of the apex court is likely to give its verdict in the House dissolution case in the next hearing slated for July 12, as all the lawyers representing petitioners and defendants have completed their oral submissions.

Lawyers representing the petitioners who have challenged the dissolution of the House of Representatives and four amici curiae recommended by the Nepal Bar Association and the Supreme Court Bar Association ended their oral submission before the five-member constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana today.

Arguing before the constitutional bench, former attorney general Badri Bahadur Karki said the PM's ultimatum to some petitioners to withdraw support to Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba by 5:00pm today amounted to contempt of court.

Senior Advocate Harihar Dahal said all the members who supported Deuba's bid for prime ministership had signed the petition as HoR members without mentioning their party affiliation, as that was enough to satisfy the provisions of Article 76 (5).

Lawyers representing the defendants had argued that CPN- UML and Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal lawmakers, who supported Deuba's bid for prime ministership, violated the law and could lose their seats if they were expelled by their parties for defying whips. Petitioners' lawyers, on the other hand, argued that Article 76 (5) of the constitution allowed HoR members to act independently without being constrained by their mother parties.

Senior Advocate Shambhu Thapa said if Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had the majority in the House of Representatives, he should not have asked the president to initiate the process of forming a new government under Article 76 (5). Instead, he should have sought a vote of confidence, said Thapa.

Oli, who was leading a minority government after the CPN-Maoist Centre withdrew support to the government, had asked the president to initiate the process of forming a new government under Article 76 (5) as he was not confident of winning the vote of confidence in the HoR.

As many as 146 lawmakers, including Deuba, had moved the apex court demanding that the Lower House be reinstated and Deuba be appointed new PM under Article 76 (5) of the constitution.

Four amici curiae -- senior advocates Komal Prasad Ghimire, Raghab Lal Vaidya, Usha Malla Pathak, and Prakash Bahadur KC -- also argued before the bench today.

Ghimire and Vaidya argued that the HoR dissolution was unconstitutional, whereas Pathak and KC said the PM's move dissolving the HoR was valid.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 6 2021, of The Himalayan Times.