Polls irrelevant at present, says ex-CJ

Kathmandu, November 12:

The question of conducting free and fair elections remains irrelevant and cannot acquire legal as well as political legitimacy if polls are held in the current situation without creating a conducive environment, former chief justice Biswanath Upadhyaya said today.

“Absence due to fear, uncertainty and temporary migration due to conflict of a huge chunk of voters could raise questions on the relevance of the municipal elections,” the former chief justice, who is also the chairman of the 1990 Constitution drafting commission, said at a programme organised by the Constitutional Lawyers’ Forum.

He also argued that the polls would hold no relevance by sidelining the political forces. “Such elections will not be accepted both nationally as well as internationally,” he claimed.

Upadhyaya suggested that unless the King ‘publicly withdraws’ both the October 4, 2002 and February 1, 2005 proclamations, forms an all-party government, dismisses all his recently appointed administrators, elections will have no meaning. He, however, emphasised that since election is the backbone of democratic exercise, political parties should not reject it. “There are conditions to be fulfilled for elections,” he said.

Asked to comment on the judgement of the Supreme Court regarding the controversial media ordinance case, Upadhyaya said it was “wrong” not to issue a stay order. “Don’t ask me to make further comments on it,” he said, adding, “That will create difficulties.”

“If some provisions in the media ordinance contradict with the Constitution, it would have been better to issue a stay order by the apex court,” he said adding that the 1990 Constitution does not allow cancellation of registration of a media and no press can be seized, hence the government has no right to take such a decision. He, however, said that he has not gone through the ordinance thoroughly but added he had heard that the ordinance’s provisions contradict with the constitution.

Constitution expert Purna Man Shakya said the parties should make political negotiation with the King. Legal expert Dr Surya Dhungel asked the political forces to urge the King to meet their demands.