The Supreme Court refused to issue an interim order against the Election Commission's decision to do a head count of the executive committee members of the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal tomorrow.

On Thursday, the EC had decided to do a head count of executive committee members to know the strength of both the factions of the party. The Mahantha Thakur-Rajendra Mahato faction of the party then moved the Supreme Court on July 23 demanding that the EC's decision on the head count be stayed.

The Upendra Yadav-Baburam Bhattarai faction of the party claims that it has the support of majority members of the 51-member executive committee, whereas the Thakur-Mahato faction claims that Thakur, who claims he was delegated power by the party to reshuffle the executive committee, had expelled 20 executive committee members and inducted 20 new members into the committee, maintaining his faction's majority in the party's top political body.

The Yadav-Bhattarai faction, however, says that it had not delegated power to anybody to reshuffle the executive committee.

The Supreme Court has asked both sides to present their arguments on July 30 following which it will decide whether or not an interim order should be issued in the case.

A single bench of Justice Kumar Regmi said the court needed to hear arguments from both sides of the case to determine whether or not a decision taken by the EC after conducting the hearing, was an apparent error of law and whether it would cause irreparable loss to the petitioner.

The Thakur-Mahato faction and the Yadav-Bhattarai faction are deeply embroiled in a factional feud and are claiming to be the authentic party.

The Yadav-Bhattarai faction's lawyer, Senior Advocate Mithilesh Kumar Singh, said the EC was free to decide on the authenticity dispute between the rival factions of the JSP-N. He said the Yadav-Bhattarai faction had a strong chance of getting the EC recognition as majority members of the executive committee were with the faction.

He cited the case of Maobadi Janamukti Party-Nepal that had the similar factional feud and the EC had decided in favour of majority members of the Maobadi Janamukti Party-Nepal on December 23.

The Thakur-Mahato faction's lawyer, Senior Advocate Surendra Kumar Mahto, argues that the EC should not decide the authenticity dispute till the SC hears arguments of both sides on July 30. If the EC takes a call on authenticity dispute before July 30, it will be a case of contempt of court, he argued.

The feud between the two factions of the JSP-N intensified with the Thakur-Mahato faction's decision to support Oli's bid for prime ministership under Article 76 (5) and the Yadav-Bhattarai faction's decision to support Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba's bid for prime ministership under Article 76 (5).

A version of this article appears in the print on July 26 2021, of The Himalayan Times.