KATHMANDU, DECEMBER 25

The five-member constitutional bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana today began hearing petitions filed against the dissolution of the House of Representatives on the prime minister’s recommendation and issued a show cause notice to the PM and the president’s office.

The apex court also ordered the government to submit written reply by January 3.

Chief Justice Rana named justices Hari Krishna Karki, Bishowambhar Prasad Shrestha, Anil Kumar Sinha, and Tej Bahadur KC as members of the constitutional bench from a roster of 13 justices for the bench. Asked why some senior justices were not included, a court official told THT that the chief justice had the prerogative to choose any justice for the bench.

While hearing 13 petitions filed against the dissolution of the HoR, the bench issued a show cause notice to the prime minister and the Office of the President for dissolving the Lower House of the Parliament.

The bench sought original copies of the decision to dissolve the HoR that was taken by the Prime Minister’s Office and Council of Ministers and the President’s Office. The bench also ordered the SC administration to seek original copies of the Parliament Secretariat record to determine the date and time of the registration of no-trust motion.

The apex court ordered the Nepal Bar Association and the Supreme Court Bar Association to send three and two amicus curiae, respectively, to assist the bench in the case.

It decided to hold continuous hearing in the case from January 6.

Pleading on behalf of the petitioners, Senior Advocate Harihar Dahal told the bench that the PM, who was elected under 76 (1) of the constitution had no power to dissolve the Lower House invoking Article 76 (7). Dahal argued that Article 76 (7) could be invoked only if the PM didn’t have the support of enough lawmakers in the HoR and a new government could not be formed.

Dahal urged the court to stay the dissolution of the HoR as a fresh session of the Parliament has to be called within six months of proroguing the House. The government had prorogued the budget session of the Parliament on July 2.

Senior Advocate Dinesh Tripathi, who himself is one of the petitioners in this case, drew the attention of the bench against the naming of Justice Hari Krishna Karki in the constitutional bench.

Tripathi said since Karki was appointed attorney general by the KP Sharma Oli-led government in October 2015 he should recuse himself from the case.

“Not only must justice be done, it must also be seen to be done,” he said. He added that it was a clear case of conflict of interest for Justice Karki. Stating that there must be fair play in court proceedings, Tripathi said some senior justices were not included in the bench.