Ethical question raised against Attorney General Agni Kharel


Senior Advocate Dinesh Tripathi today argued before the constitutional bench that it was unethical on the part of Attorney General Agni Prasad Kharel to defend the prime minister’s decision to dissolve the House of Representatives.

He said Kharel was a member of the Constituent Assembly’s sub-committee that had submitted a report saying that the PM should not be given the prerogative to dissolve the HoR and lawmakers should be barred from moving a no-trust motion against the PM in the first two years of his/her tenure.

He said the recommendations of the sub-committee were incorporated into the constitution.

Tripathi, who has challenged the dissolution of the House of Representatives, said the Supreme Court’s verdict delivered in the case filed against former prime minister Manmohan Adhikari’s decision to dissolve the House in 1995 had been codified in Article 76 of the current constitution.

He said the key point of the Manmohan Adhikari case verdict was that as long as the House was able to form the government, it could not be dissolved.

He countered the government’s argument of invoking parliamentary traditions to dissolve the HoR, saying that even in the UK, considered to be the mother of parliamentary democracy, the legislature passed the Fixed-term Parliaments Act in 2011 stripping the PM of any power to dissolve the HoR.

Tripathi said in the UK, HoR could be dissolved only if twothirds lawmakers decided to dissolve the HoR. He said even before the Fixed-term Parliaments Act was enacted, the crown wanted to make sure that the dissolution was not against national interest and it would not adversely impact the national economy. He said the phrase ‘unless dissolved earlier’ stipulated in Article 85 of the constitution did not give the PM the right to dissolve the HoR.

He also demanded that the bench should take suo motu action against Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli for making contemptuous remarks.

Advocate Megha Raj Pokharel argued before the bench that mischief rule of statutory interpretation prevented the court from arming the PM with the prerogative to dissolve the HoR as that power had already been removed from the constitution due to its misuse in the previous constitutions.