Madhes parties dwell on SC verdict

KATHMANDU: Four Madhes-based parties today solicited suggestions from legal luminaries regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on Vice President Parmananda Jha’s oath taking in Hindi language a year ago.

In its verdict yesterday, the apex court stated that the vice president’s taking oath in Hindi was unconstitutional and asked Jha to take a fresh one in Nepali. VP Jha said the verdict was biased.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Physical Planning and Works Bijay Kumar Gachhadar, who leads the breakaway faction of Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum, Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party president Mahantha Thakur, Minister for Commerce and Supply and Sadbhavana Party president Rajendra Mahato, Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandi Devi) president Sarita Giri and Nepal Janajati Party leader Bishwendra Paswan discussed the SC verdict.

Legal eagles such as Radheshyam Adhikari, Harihar Dahal, Agni Kharel and Attorney General Prof Dr Bharat Bahadur Karki were invited for consultation on the ruling. PM Madhav Kumar Nepal was also present briefly during the meeting held at Singhadurbar. Nepal is believed to have urged the parties to find a way out of the situation. He is also believed to have met Chief Justice Min Bahadur Rayamajhi at the latter’s official residence later. After meeting the legal experts, Minister Mahato told mediapersons that the apex court verdict was erroneous. “We believe that everybody should have the right to take oath in their mother tongue,” he said. TMDP leader Thakur said the PM was serious about the court’s decision.

The minister said the interim constitution should be amended to ensure that a person can take oath of office and secrecy in his/her mother tongue. He said SC could be moved to review its decision. “The vice president or another Nepali citizen can file a petition asking the court to review it,” he said.

Issuing separate press statements, SP and NSP (A) said the verdict was a betrayal to the citizens’ fundamental right to mother tongue. TMDP Joint general secretary Jitendra Sonar condemned the verdict, saying that it

was a blow on the people’s movement and would be detrimental to creating

new Nepal.

Sarita Giri said it was up to the vice president to choose a course in future.”But the government should make its stance clear on the verdict,” she said, adding that the country might plunge into a new phase of confrontation if the constitution was not amended to ensure a constitution post holder’s right to take oath in a language of their choice.

She said the ruling had raised a question whether or not Jha was a legitimate Vice President.