Case filed at SC against PMO alleging exclusion of Dalit representation in current govt

Published On: May 14, 2024 03:00 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 14: A case has been filed at the Supreme Court against the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (PMO) on the charge of violating the principle of inclusiveness outlined in the constitution by not including even a single minister from the Dalit community in the current government led by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. 

Plaintiff Tika Bahadur Diyali, the former coordinator of the United Political Dalit Struggle Committee, filed the case against the PMO.

Diyali submitted a memorandum demanding Dalit representation in the Cabinet at the Prime Minister's Residence, Baluwatar, and the President’s Office, Sheetal Niwas, after the formation of the Cabinet, but after it was not implemented, he filed a case against the Prime Minister's Office on May 3. He submitted a letter of attention to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on April 12.

Diyali, who reached the Supreme Court on May 3, was initially turned away by Hari Raj Karki, the Registrar of the Supreme Court, citing Diyali is not a person entitled to the case. After this, on May 9, Diyali argued in the court that he was the coordinator of the United Political Dalit Struggle Committee after the People’s Movement and was also involved in the constitution making process, thereby justifying his right to file the case.

After this argument, the Supreme Court convened a bench on May 13. Advocates Trilokchand Biswas BK, Shanta Thapa, Dal Bahadur Dhani, Dinesh Tripathi, Shyam Bishwokarma and Sundar Seni presented arguments before the bench.

The bench of Justice Hari Prasad Phuyal ordered the case be registered. According to the same order, a case has been filed against the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday (today). The 23-member Federal Council of Ministers has no Dalit representation. Dalit ministers are not represented in any of the seven provinces except for Karnali. There are only four women in the current 23-member cabinet.

The cabinet comprises 11 ministers from the Khas Arya community, four from the Madhesi community, six from various indigenous communities, and one from the Tharu community. However, there is a noticeable absence of Dalit and Muslim representation.

Coordinator Diyali said that despite constitutional provisions ensuring Dalit rights, inclusion, and representation, the absence of Dalit representation in the current cabinet compelled him to file the petition against the government's unconstitutional actions.

"I submitted this application as a concerned citizen with the objective of representing the entire Dalit community's concerns in the Cabinet," Diyali told Republica. The House of Representatives currently has 16 Dalit MPs, while the National Assembly has eight Dalit MPs.

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