Claims that his remarks were picked selectively, made to sound contemptuous
KATHMANDU, FEBRUARY 18
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today appeared before the Supreme Court and furnished his reply to the contempt of court charge filed against him by Senior Advocate Kumar Sharma Acharya and Advocate Kanchan Krishna Neupane.
The PM said he had neither disobeyed any court order nor interfered in the functioning of the court.
Responding to the case filed by Senior Advocate Acharya, the PM said since he had fought for democracy, the rule of law, and independence of the judiciary, he could not do anything to undermine the dignity of the judiciary.
The PM said that on January 22, while addressing a party meet, he defended the dissolution of the House of Representatives making arguments similar to the ones he had made in his written reply to the court, but the plaintiff picked his arguments selectively, and arbitrarily interpreted them to be contemptuous.
He claimed that he had never made any contemptuous remark against the court, nor would he ever do so.
He said he would never obstruct any lawyer from independently discharging his/her duty. He stated in writing that his claim that he would win the case as the law was on his side could not amount to contempt of court, as a party to the case was free to argue in his/her favour.
In response to Advocate Neupane's case, the PM said that the case was filed against him with the motive of obtaining cheap publicity and the court should discourage such pleas.
A single bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Sharma, on January 28, had issued an order seeking a written response from the prime minister within a week barring travel time.
Acharya and Neupane had filed cases against Oli, stating that he was expressing his views on the House of Representatives dissolution case, which was being heard by the Supreme Court, thereby interfering in functioning of the judiciary.
Thirteen writ petitions have been filed in the apex court challenging the PM's December 20 move dissolving the HoR.
Acharya and Neupane had also charged the PM with contempt of court for his remarks against Senior Advocate Krishna Prasad Bhandari.
The PM had mocked petitioners who had challenged the dissolution of the HoR for appointing a nonagenarian lawyer Bhandari to plead in their favour. The PM had said, "They have taken 'a grandfather lawyer' to plead in their favour. Why are they doing such theatrics?"
In his defence, the PM said he had great respect for lawyers and his remark was distorted.
A version of this article appears in the print on February 19, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.