Lawyers representing petitioners who have challenged the dissolution of the House of Representatives in the Supreme Court finished their oral submission today.

Lawyers representing the defendants will start arguing before the constitutional bench of the SC from tomorrow.

Senior Advocate Yadu Nath Khanal pleaded before the constitutional bench that Article 76 (7) could be invoked only when a newly appointed PM failed to obtain vote of confidence and a new prime minister could not be appointed. None of these two situations existed when the PM dissolved the HoR and thus the dissolution of the HoR was unconstitutional, he argued.

Khanal said if the Supreme Court ruled the HoR dissolution valid, Article 100 of the constitution that allows lawmakers to move a no-trust motion against the PM would be rendered inactive.

If the HoR dissolution was validated by the SC, then the PM would always dissolve the HoR whenever lawmakers tried to register no-trust motion against the PM, he argued. He said the literal rule of statutory interpretation should be applied to interpret the meanings of Article 76 (7) and 85. He argued that the phrase 'unless dissolved earlier' only meant that the House could be dissolved under Article 76 (7) but such a situation did not exist when the PM dissolved the HoR. Advocate Lokendra Oli, one of the 13 petitioners, argued that Article 76 (7) could be invoked only when the government could not be formed. He said the sub-articles of Article 76 were interconnected and the SC must offer harmonious interpretation of the constitutional provisions.

Petitioners' lawyers have argued that the constitution does not give the PM the prerogative to dissolve the HoR.

Attorney General Agni Prasad Kharel and other senior government attorneys will defend the government in the case.

According to Advocate Ramesh Badal, 175 lawyers have submitted their attorney appointment letters at the Supreme Court. Senior Advocate Sushil Panta, Surendra Bhadnari, Bal Krishna Neupane, and Ramesh Guragain will also plead on behalf of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 1, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.