HOUSE DISSOLUTION: CJ asks whether environment is conducive for mid-term polls


Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana, who is leading the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court, today asked defendants' lawyers to finish their arguments in the House of Representatives dissolution case by February 12.

Defendants' lawyers were today given 15 minutes to plead before the constitutional bench.

Government attorneys representing Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today ended their arguments before the bench. Private attorneys who have submitted their attorney appointment letters at the court will have a chance to plead on behalf of the government.

Lawyers representing Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota and five amici curiae will plead before the bench later.

Joint Attorney Shyam Kumar Bhattarai, who pleaded on behalf of the government, said the dissolution of the HoR was a political issue and the court should not entertain such issues.

He said the government decided to dissolve the HoR and seek a fresh mandate. "The government should be allowed to go to the people. The government may or may not get expected results in the polls, but it should be allowed to seek a fresh mandate.

This is one of the main characteristics of the parliamentary form of government," Bhattarai argued.

He said the court should interpret constitutional provisions keeping in mind the constitution, its context, legal doctrines, and the parliamentary form of government. He expected three things from the apex court's verdict: it should be theoretically acceptable, academically respectable, and practically applicable.

He said the ultimate solution was to go to the sovereign people. When he made this argument, Chief Justice JB Rana asked, "Is there such an environment?"

Bhattarai said the PM had no option but to dissolve the HoR as there was no possibility of forming an alternative government.

Advocate Ramesh Badal, who pleaded on behalf of the PM, said the perception that the Constituent Assembly had discussed depriving the PM of the power to dissolve the HoR was wrong. CA members discussed about depriving the PM of the prerogative to dissolve the HoR, Badal said. He said the rival faction of the Nepal Communist Party did not pose any legal challenge to the PM, who was the parliamentary party leader. As per Article 269, lawmakers and leaders should abide by the party's ideology and if they differ they should split the party, but they did not do so, Badal argued.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 8, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.