"Oli's action stems from his grudge against us while we were in the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) "
KATHMANDU, APRIL 22
The four CPN-UML leaders who were suspended by the party chair for six months have moved the Supreme Court, challenging Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's action against them.
CPN-UML leaders Madhav Kumar Nepal, Bhim Bahadur Rawal, Ghanashyam Bhusal, and Surendra Prasad Pandey, who face the risk of being removed from the House of Representatives for their alleged anti-party activities, have filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court seeking annulment of punitive actions taken against them by Oli.
The first hearing of the case has been scheduled for Sunday.
The petitioners have urged the court to prevent Oli from taking any action against them as per the Political Party Act, including his decision to remove them from the party as that could consequently lead to their removal from the House of Representatives.
They have named the Election Commission, speaker, Federal Parliament, CPN- UML General Secretary Ishwar Pokharel, and Secretariat of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers as defendants.
The four UML leaders have stated in their petition that Oli is preparing to expel 27 UML lawmakers from the House of Representatives 'falsely accusing' them of trying to split the party.
They said they had neither defected from the UML nor did they have any intention to split the party.
They said as per the Supreme Court's verdict in a case filed by Rishi Ram Kattel, the UML should revive all its party structures and committees that existed before the UML's merger with the CPN-Maoist Centre, but the UML's establishment had not honoured the court verdict.
They said the decisions taken by the establishment faction on March 12 to amend the party statute and reshuffle party committees were illegal, unconstitutional, and against the party statute.
They have argued that the establishment faction did not have the power to end the status of the leaders elected by the party's Ninth General Convention.
On March 12, the establishment faction fixed the date for the party's next General Convention and inducted 23 leaders of the CPN-MC into the UML's Central Committee, approved the parliamentary party statute, and decided to seek explanation from leaders of the rival faction.
They said that the establishment faction illegally delegated power to Oli to take disciplinary action against party leaders.
They said that the establishment faction suspended them from the party for six months and threatened to take further action against them.
Stating that the establishment faction did not follow the party's procedure for calling the party's meeting, the four leaders said only the general convention could amend the party statute.
They argued that the establishment faction violated norms of democracy and the party's principle of people's multi-party democracy when it unilaterally called the central committee meeting on March 12 without following proper rules set by the party statute.
They have urged the court to rescind the establishment faction's March 12 decisions and the explanation letters based on those decisions.
Oli, meanwhile, has sought explanation from 27 lawmakers of the rival faction, including former prime ministers Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal, asking them why they should not be removed from the House of Representatives.
They said they also wrote to the Election Commission urging it not to allow the establishment faction to update the party's record on the basis of March 12 decisions, but the poll panel had not taken any decision yet. They argued that since the Election Commission did not take a decision mandating the establishment faction to keep the pre-merger status of party structures and committees, that issue should also be settled by the court. The rival faction leaders stated that the punitive action taken by Oli stemmed from his grudge against them while they were in the Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
"We are still committed to making the UML a strong, powerful, and dynamic party that can be a change agent. The party chair is trying to remove us from the House of Representatives in an attempt to end our political career," states the petition filed by the four leaders.
They have urged the court to prevent Oli from taking punitive action them and rescind the intra-party directives and decisions taken on March 12, March 20, and April 19. They have also sought nullification of explanation letters issued by Oli. They have urged the court to prevent Oli from updating any record.
A version of this article appears in the print on April 23, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.