Kathmandu, April 20

Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Paudel today said Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli should apologise for his statement that the Parliamentary Hearing Committee had ceased to exist after the Constituent Assembly promulgated the new constitution.

Paudel said Oli should rectify his statement if the existing PHC is to move ahead with the hearing of newly elected Supreme Court judges and ambassadors.

Talking to The Himalayan Times, Paudel said the CPN-UML had obstructed the PHC after the promulgation of the constitution. Oli withdrew the name of Ram Sitaula from the PHC, stating that the PHC did not exist as per the provision of the new constitution.

“The UML and Oli had said at that time that the existing hearing committee cannot work and a new 15-member committee should be formed as per the provision of the new constitution.

He withdrew the name of Sitaula, who was recommended by previous prime minister Sushil Koirala, for the Judicial Council’s membership.

However, the PM and his party have now pleaded for moving ahead with the hearing process of Supreme Court justices and ambassadors.

If they want to continue the hearing, the PM should first apologise for withdrawing Sitaula’s name and resend Sitaula’s name for hearing again,” Paudel said.

If the PM is not ready to correct his mistake and accept the existence of the PHC headed by Kul Bahadur Gurung, there will be no alternative but to wait for the next parliamentary elections and formation of lower and upper Houses from a new mandate before picking 15 members for the PHC, according to the new constitution.

“Sitaula’s name was withdrawn on the 34th day as his name would have been automatically endorsed if the committee had failed to conduct hearing within 35 days. This showed the UML wanted to use the Parliament according to its wish,” Paudel said.

Paudel alleged that the UML-led government formed a 41-member cabinet although the new constitution had mentioned that the cabinet should not exceed 25 members. “In contrast, the party wanted to form a new hearing committee,” he said.

He said that all parties should now unite as achievements ensured by the new constitution were at risk due to the delay in implementation of the new statute.

Paudel urged all to be flexible in addressing the Madhes issue.