Koshi Province

SC annuls appointment of Koshi Province CM Thapa, gives seven days to form a new govt of two or more parties

Published On: July 28, 2023 08:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

SC Full Bench has ruled that signature of Speaker Gautam in the formation of Koshi Province Government was flawed and the appointment process was unconstitutional

KATHMANDU, July 28: The Supreme Court (SC) has revoked the appointment of Uddhav Thapa as Chief Minister of the Koshi provincial government.

A full bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Til Prasad Shrestha, Ananda Mohan Bhattarai, and Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada made this verdict on Thursday, ruling that the signature by Province Assembly Speaker Baburam Gautam in the formation of the provincial government was unconstitutional.

The SC full bench has annulled the Chief Minister's appointment process through a certiorari order, ruling that the process of appointing the Chief Minister was not in accordance with the Constitution.

Citing the constitutional provision, which clearly states that the role of the Speaker in the Province Assembly should be politically neutral and impartial, the apex court, in the verdict, reminded that Article 186 of the Constitution of Nepal has made a provision giving the Speaker of the Province Assembly the right to cast the decisive vote only in cases where the number of votes is equal in a decision to be made by the Province Assembly through a vote and in a situation when the Assembly is not in a position to make a decision or to prevent the Assembly from becoming a prisoner of indecision.

The apex court has also issued a mandamus of seven days to form a new government of two or more parties in the province. The apex court has also instructed to form a new government under Article 168 (3) of the Constitution if that were not possible.

Outgoing Chief Minister and CPN-UML parliamentary party leader for Koshi province, Hikmat Kumar Karki, had filed a petition at the Supreme Court on Friday, stating that province chief Parshuram Khapung had appointed Uddhav Thapa of Nepali Congress as the chief minister in an unconstitutional manner.

Uddhav Thapa, the parliamentary party leader of Nepali Congress (NC), was appointed the new Chief Minister of Koshi province on July 6 with the support of 47 lawmakers from the ruling coalition - 29 from NC, 13 including Koshi provincial assembly Speaker Gautam from CPN (Maoist Centre), four from CPN (Unified Socialist), and one from Janata Samajwadi Party.

UML had then moved the SC against the government formation, stating it was against the Constitution for the Speaker to support a claim for the post of Chief Minister. UML Chief Minister Hikmat Karki, who was forced to resign earlier, had demanded that Thapa’s appointment be revoked through a certiorari order, arguing that the appointment made as per Article 168 (2) of the Constitution was illegitimate. He had also demanded a mandamus to pave the way for his appointment as Chief Minister in accordance with Article 168 (3) of the Constitution.

A single bench of Justice Sapana Malla Pradhan had, on July 12, had issued an interim order to Koshi’s Chief Minister Uddhav Thapa, instructing him not to take any decision that could have a long-term impact until the case was decided.

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