The opinion of Babu Ram Bhattarai, a former prime minister, deserves much attention regarding the need of senior party leaders to play a custodian's role to promote newer faces at the helm of affairs
The hollowed cloisters of the Supreme Court are now resonating with voices for and against the reinstatement of the Parliament.
It has spilled into the political avenues of the country as well, making it the most talked about subject at the present.
Besides, it has also attracted its attention outside the country as Nepal happens to be the only country which saw the second unfortunate dissolution of the Parliament within six months.
Such frequent dissolutions of the Parliament are conspicuous by their absence in the immediate neighbourhood. One has to go all the way to England, the birthplace of Parliamentary democracy crossing several oceans, including the English Channel.
The Parliament is said to have come into existence first in the time of King Edward I in the year 1265. But its antecedence goes back to the times of Henry III, the son of King John, or even earlier to the reign of the Anglo Saxon kings in England.
It may be recalled that King John signed the Magna Carta recognising the people and their representatives, which is considered to be a milestone in democratic evolution.
In Nepal, King Bhim Dev, the grandson of King Abhaya Malla, who died in the earthquake of 1257, was then ruling in Nepal.
The Bharadari Sabha, or the assembly of noble persons, was working as the Parliament in the country during that time.
The Parliament was generally convened by the king to raise taxes to run the country and also to finance the war, which was regular at that time against neighbouring France.
But the representatives used to often turn down the offer, resulting in the creation of political confrontation between the king and the people.
It then led to the dissolution of the Parliament after the entry into a deadlock.
The Parliament had received quite a few blows after its establishment in England.
Like a boxer, it suffered several bruises and at times even a bloody nose. However, it again was back on its toe, and now it has been something to emulate for the entire world.
The Parliaments called by King Charles I are very memorable in history. One of them was called a Useless Parliament as it did not carry out any transaction.
Nepal also had such a parliament after its reinstatement by the Supreme Court before it was dissolved again.
Charles I evaded the Parliaments on more than one occasion through its untimely dissolution.
For this, he had to pay through his head as he was beheaded on that unfortunate year of 1648.
The Supreme Court has just completed the hearing from both the government and opposition.
The amicus curiae have given a split decision in the face of a collective one on the need of reinstatement last time. The government's advocates have opined that the formation of the government under para 76(5) is the prerogative of the President, and it is above the court of law.
This argument lacks steam because the ornamental President lacks the constitutional muscles to occupy such a status.
The concern of the likelihood of political instability after the reinstatement of the Parliament does not fall under the preview of the Court as it is a political issue.
The government advocates' contention that the appointment of the Prime Minister is a Parliament's cup of coffee and the Court will be crossing the limits by venturing to address it, however, merits much meaning.
What, however, is very hollow is the appropriation of the government's claim with regard to holding the election, citing it as the most democratic act as it amounts to going to the people for their verdict.
Because elections cannot be held every now and then by just chanting the name of democracy. The constitution has provided for the election every five years, and it has to be followed in letter and spirit unavoidable circumstances notwithstanding.
A political party provided with a comfortable ruling majority cannot knock the doors of the people before the stipulated duration in the constitution just because it cannot put its own house in order.
The opposition parties' claims are not wide off the mark. Their advocates have made it amply clear.
However, people are fed up seeing the same old non-performing faces over and over again. The opinion of Babu Ram Bhattarai, a former prime minister, deserves much attention regarding the need to play a custodian's role to promote newer faces at the helm of affairs.
Parliamentary democracy recharges itself through the exit of underperforming leaders and entry of promising ones.
In Nepal, however, leaders who have been marked by dismal failures are still continuing to occupy the central stage. This has dampened the aura of Nepali parliamentary democracy.
Sher Bahadur Deuba should have resigned immediately after the Nepali Congress failed miserably in the hustings.
Similarly, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli should have resigned more than umpteen times in view of several Supreme Court verdicts against him. Former Prime Ministers Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Dahal also should have bowed down long before for ditching the Nepali people by not being able to give a stable government. Deuba is not far behind in this national debacle as he also could not present a viable opposition.
The country stands at a very unique juncture of history at the present. The time now is to make a combined effort to combat the coronavirus and the natural disasters. If history is any indication, it will be followed by raging wildfires and then the pollution.
The need of the hour is, therefore, to form a national government and fight against these astronomical problems.
This is least possible from the former prime ministers brimming with insatiable hunger as well as thirst for power.
Their further continuation will merely tarnish whatever image they had built in the past.
Pokharel is IP Vice Chancellor, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology
The people are fed up seeing the same old non-performing faces over and over again.
A version of this article appears in the print on July 12 2021, of The Himalayan Times.