Supreme Court moved against Gautam’s nomination to National Assembly


Vice-chair of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Bamdev Gautam’s nomination to the National Assembly was today challenged in the Supreme Court.

Senior Advocate Dinesh Tripathi and Advocate Bari Raj Bhatta have filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court, seeking to quash the government’s decision to recommend Gautam’s name to the president and the president’s decision to nominate Gautam to the Upper House.

Gautam, who had lost the last first-past-the-post election to the House of Representatives to Sanjay Kumar Gautam of the Nepali Congress in his home constituency of Bardiya-1, was nominated to the NA on September 17 after the Council of Ministers recommended his name to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari.

Tripathi argued that the decision to nominate Gautam to the NA was not only against the verdict of the electorate, but, prima facie, was also a manipulation of the constitutional provision.

He added that his nomination was also against the parliamentary system.

Although Article 78 (4) of the constitution bars a person who has lost HoR election from becoming a minister in the same tenure of the HoR, the government has been trying to induct Gautam into the Cabinet, the petitioner argued. The petitioner also urged the court to stop Gautam from becoming a minister.

The petitioner has also sought an interim order against Gautam, urging the court to bar him from working as an NA member till the case is adjudicated by the apex court.

Tripathi has urged the court to order the government to issue directives on eligibility for NA nomination.

Bhatta argued that the spirit of the constitutional provision was to send three experts to the Upper House of the Parliament, but the government ignored the spirit of the constitution when it recommended Gautam for the NA. He urged the court to nullify Gautam’s nomination to the NA and appoint someone who is qualified for the post in his place.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had initially refused to send Gautam to the NA, but agreed to do so when Gautam floated a six-point proposal suggesting that Oli remain the PM till the present HoR term ended. A six-member task force formed by the ruling party made recommendations mainly along Gautam’s lines which helped the ruling party defuse tension between the factions led by Oli and NCP Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal. The Dahal-led faction had asked Oli to step down either as prime minister or party co-chair. Oli didn’t agree. But the stalemate ended when Dahal was made executive chairman of the party.

The ruling party’s Standing Committee later decided to send Gautam to the National Assembly.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 22, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.