SC cannot test King’s action: AG Ojha

Kathmandu, November 22:

Concluding his argument before the special bench of the Supreme Court, Attorney General Pawan Kumar Ojha has claimed that the apex court has no authority to test the King’s action to form the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC).

“The RCCC was formed under the King’s prerogative in order to combat rampant corruption in the country; thus the SC has no authority to review of the King’s action,” he added. Ojha said the King had exercised Article 127 of the Constitution to extend the life of the RCCC, which was formed under the 115(5) of the Constitution with the powers enjoyed during state of emergency.

“Such an action of the King should be considered under Article 31 of the Constitution, which does not provide power to any court of law to question the action of the monarch,” Ojha said. “The parliament has the authority to test the orders issued under the provisions of state of Emergency, and it is not within the jurisdiction of the apex court to review such a decision” he said.

Replying to queries put forth by the justices regarding the King’s power to amend the Constitution, Ojha said the King can issue such orders in extra constitutional situations. Talking about the amendment of Constitution in Pakistan by the country’s president, Ojha said the Supreme Court of Pakistan had upheld the president’s authority to amend the Constitution for the welfare of the people. Why cannot our Monarch have such an authority to set up an anti-graft body, he asked. He also claimed that the King had set up the anti-graft body in order to activate the 1990 Constitution by combating corruption.

Ojha said that it is a misconception to believe that a non-lawyer cannot provide justice in Nepal, when quasi-judicial bodies are active in providing justice worldwide.

He said there are lawyers in the RCCC who are assisting the top officials appointed by the King and that it was unnecessary to doubt their qualifications. He accepted that the RCCC is not a completely judicial body.

Pleading on the behalf of the government, Ojha’s deputy Dorna Raj Regmi also said the King had continued the RCCC under the doctrine of necessity, even after the state of Emergency had been lifted. The SC will continue the RCCC hearing coming Sunday.