SC denies stay against amendment bill

Kathmandu, January 2

The Supreme Court refused to issue an interim order on cases filed against the registration of the constitution amendment bill.

Refusal by the division bench of Chief Justice Sushila Karki and Justice Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada means that there is no legal hurdle if government proceeds with the bill.

The SC said the Parliament still had opportunity to reach a logical conclusion after testing whether or not the constitution amendment bill was in conformity with the constitution and whether or not the bill’s justification was proven.

The Parliament has the power to take appropriate decision on the constitution amendment bill after testing its justification. If a law is made in violation of the constitution, such a law cannot get validity.

This court will be in a situation to declare such a law ultra vires through judicial review but this does not mean that an order should be passed to prevent the Parliament from using its wisdom, the SC observed.

“Therefore, on the basis of above mentioned contexts, grounds and reasons, it is not appropriate to issue an interim order as demanded by the petitioners,” states the SC order.

The bench observed that as per Article 274, any bill relating to a revision in the boundaries of the province should be sent to the concerned provincial assembly within 30 days of its registration and if that bill was rejected by the concerned assembly, such a bill would be inactive.

It further observed that according to Article 296 (1) the CA had been transformed into Legislature Parliament and as per Article 296 (3) transformed Parliament would have to function as federal Parliament till parliamentary elections were held.

The SC also stated that as per Article 296 (4) the Parliament would have the authority to enact laws relating to Schedule 6 but such acts would be inactive one year after the concerned provincial assembly was formed.

The bench observed that since the Legislature Parliament was a transformed structure of former constituent assembly, it could be hoped that the Parliament was sensitive and mindful towards the spirit of the constitution, its values, norms and objectives.

The CPN-UML and some fringe parties have been obstructing the House proceedings to stall debate on the bill.

Two cases were filed against the bill by advocate Tika Dhwoj Khadka and five other petitioners. Khadka argued that revision of provincial boundaries could happen only with the consent of the concerned provincial assemblies and since provincial elections had not been conducted, revision could not happen.

Government attorneys, including Attorney General Raman Kumar Shrestha, defended the government.