Speaker election hearing put off till today

Kathmandu, January 26

The Supreme Court did not hear the case against Agni Prasad Sapkota challenging his candidacy for speaker as Justice Hari Prasad Phuyal recused himself saying he had pleaded on behalf of Purnimaya Lama eight years ago when she filed a case against Sapkota. Purnimaya had accused Sapkota of playing a role in the abduction and killing of her husband Arjun Lama in 2005, in Kavre.

Senior Advocate Dinesh Tripathi had filed a public interest litigation against Sapkota’s candidacy on Friday saying the process of electing Sapkota as the new speaker should be stayed as an FIR had been filed against Sapkota accusing him of killing Arjun Lama.

The Supreme Court has rescheduled Tripathi’s case hearing for tomorrow. Tripathi told THT that when he went to plead today, Justice Phuyal told him he had to recuse himself as he had pleaded on behalf of Purnimaya Lama before.

Tripathi told the bench that since it was an urgent national issue, the bench should issue an order so that hearing on the case could be scheduled today itself by another justice.

Phuyal told Tripathi that he would convey his message to Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana.

Tripathi said his case had been rescheduled for tomorrow. As Sapkota was elected HoR speaker today, he would file a supplementary petition tomorrow demanding that Sapkota be prevented from working as speaker.

Prominent rights activists had recently issued a statement saying Sapkota, who has been accused of murder, should not be allowed to hold the post of speaker. Four International rights organisations — Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists and TRIAL International — issued a press release yesterday urging the ruling NCP to reconsider Sapkota’s candidacy as he was accused of abduction and murder.