SC halts oath-taking of 3 upper house members

Published On: February 26, 2018 06:05 AM NPT By: Ananta Raj Luitel

KATHMANDU, Feb 26: The Supreme Court on Sunday directed the government and the parliament to halt the scheduled swearing-in of the recently appointed three members of National Assembly and summoned the authorities concerned for further discussion on the case. 

A single bench of Justice Prakash Man Singh Raut issued the interlocutory interim order ordering halt to the swearing-in of Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada, Ram Narayan Bidari and Bimala Paudel-Rai and summoned the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers and the Secretariat of the Federal Parliament to attend the court on March 4, 2018 to discuss whether or not to extend the interlocutory order. The parliament secretariat is scheduled to administer the oath of office to national assembly members on the same day.

The bench was responding to a writ petition filed by Gopal Kumar Basnet, Krishna Prasad Paudel and Chadani Joshi who were nominated as upper house members by the erstwhile Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government.  

The court said it decided to issue the interim order to halt the swearing-in as the constitution does not allow the president to set aside the recommendations made by the government. The court said it summoned both the petitioner and the defendants for discussion as per Rule 49(2B) of the Supreme Court Rules, 2017.

The court in its order also cited Article 86 (2), 66 (2) and 75 (1) of the Constitution to emphasize the limitations of the president.

The three nominees of the erstwhile government had moved the apex court on Friday demanding that they be nominated to the upper house by annulling the recommendation of the current government.

The caretaker Sher Bahadur Deuba government had recommended the writ petitioners on February 11 but the President's Office sat on the recommendation stating that the government made the recommendation unilaterally without consulting other political parties.

The Oli government then withdrew the names and picked former Nepal Rastra Bank governor Yuba Raj Khatiwada, senior advocate Ram Narayan Bidari and Bimala Paudel-Rai instead. The main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) has accused President Bidya Devi Bhandari of siding with the current government.

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