KATHMANDU, May 8: The main opposition party, Nepali Congress (NC), has announced to boycott the Constitutional Council meeting called by Prime Minister K P Oli. The CC meeting called for Sunday is expected to pick commissioners of the Public Service Commission (PSC) and other vacant positions in other constitutional bodies.
Issuing a press statement on Saturday, NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba said his party has been protesting against the move of Prime Minister Oli to bypass parliament to make appointments in constitutional bodies. He has also said that the ordinance introduced by Prime Minister Oli to make appointments to the constitutional bodies in a unilateral manner goes against the spirit of the Constitution.
According to the constitutional provisions, at least five members including the Prime Minister, who chairs the Council, need to be present to convene the CC meeting. In addition to the Prime Minister, the CC has Chief Justice, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chairman of National Assembly and the leader of the main opposition party as its members. Since the post of Deputy Speaker is currently lying vacant, Oli had earlier convened a CC meeting that was attended by Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana and Chairman of National Assembly Ganesh Prasad Timilsina.
According to the new ordinance introduced by Prime Minister Oli, CC meeting can convene even if only three members are present. NC has maintained that the move of the prime minister to amend the provision of CC meeting seeks to undermine the principle of separation of power.
While stating that he would not participate in the meeting, NC President Deuba has also asked other members of the CC to boycott the meeting since the move to amend the Constitutional Council Act goes against the spirit of the Constitution and parliamentary norms and values. He maintained that this also seeks to attack the country’s democratic exercise.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Agni Sapkota, too, has announced to boycott the meeting. Speaker Sapkota’s aides said there is no point in attending the meeting since Speaker Sapkota has filed a case against earlier appointments made by Prime Minister Oli through the CC meeting that was attended by only three of its members.
Senior leaders of the ruling CPN-UML have also expressed serious reservations over the move of Oli to call a CC meeting as per the provisions made in the ordinance. He has said that the move to appoint members to the constitutional bodies through “a wrong path” is not only undemocratic but also an irresponsible act, especially at a time when the country is passing through the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.