Deepak Manange could lose assembly seat

Kathmandu, January 18

Rajib Gurung alias Deepak Manange, who was recently elected to the provincial assembly of Province 4, could lose his seat due to his conviction in an attempt to murder case. But his disqualification will have to be ruled by the Supreme Court.

Patan Appellate Court had convicted Gurung five years ago for attempting to murder Milan Gurung alias Chakre Milan in 2007 and had imposed a five-year jail sentence on him.

According to Section 13 (g) of Provincial Assembly Member Election Act, 2017, a person who is slapped a minimum of five year jail sentence or more, cannot contest election for six years after serving his/her jail sentence. Gurung has served only two years of his jail sentence and has to serve the remainder of his jail sentence.

Senior advocates Surendra Kumar Mahto, Satish Krishna Kharel and Ram Narayan Bidari said Gurung could be disqualified from the provincial assembly by an order of the Supreme Court if his election was challenged. Gurung was not barred from contesting provincial assembly election since nobody challenged his candidacy.

Joint Attorney of Election Commission Gita Prasad Timsina said, “EC cannot disqualify Gurung, as he has already been elected. The court will have to rule that he is disqualified to hold the post. The EC cannot know if somebody is ineligible to contest the election unless somebody lodges a complaint,” he added. EC Spokesperson Navaraj Dhakal said the EC was responsible for holding election and not disqualifying anybody after the election.

Senior Advocate Kharel said the governor of Province 4 could refuse to administer the oath of office and secrecy to Gurung if somebody submitted the court’s verdict and relevant documents.

The government had filed a case of attempted murder against 11 persons, including Rajib Gurung. Gurung was imposed a two-year jail sentence by the Kathmandu District Court in the case. The Patan Appellate Court later struck down the sentence and imposed a five year sentence on Gurung for attempted murder.

Four other convicts in the case had moved the Supreme Court against the verdict but  the SC upheld the appellate court verdict. Gurung had not challenged the appellate court verdict, nor can he appeal it now, as it had to be done within 130 days of the verdict.