KATHMANDU, Sept 30: The Constitutional Bench led by Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana has begun testing the constitutional ground of the appointment ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Vice Chairman Bamdev Gautam as a member of National Assembly (NA) and his possible appointment as a minister.
The five-member bench comprising justices Deepak Kumar Karki, Hari Krishna Karki, Bishwombhar Prasad Shrestha and Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada began testing the constitutionality of his appointment as a member of the upper house. Gautam was defeated in the election to the House of Representatives (HoR) held two and a half years ago from Bardiya-1.
Citing his defeat as a member of the lower house of the federal parliament, senior advocate Dinesh Tripathi filed a PIL in the Supreme Court. The petitioner claimed that Bamdev's appointment in the HoR fails to honor people’s verdict as he was defeated in the election and thus barred from holding the posts of a lawmaker and minister as per the Article 78 (4) of the Constitution of Nepal, 2015.
Senior advocates Badri Bahadur Karki, Hari Uprety and Tripathi completed their arguments in the bench, while Attorney Agni Prasad Kharel and others defended Gautam's appointment on behalf of the government.
Attorney General Kharel urged the apex court to stay out of this issue citing some historical incidents of the appointment of leaders in the upper house even after being defeated as HoR member. He also cited an example of former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal assuming the post of prime minister even after his defeat in the election.
Over 40 lawyers including Dr Yubaraj Sangroula, Raman Shrestha, Rabi Narayan Khanal, Tika Ram Bhattarai and Ananta Raj Luitel have filed their interest to argue on behalf of Gautam. Gautam's lawyers are set to argue in the bench on Friday.
A single bench of Justice Dr Ananda Mohan Bhattarai had earlier last week referred Gautam's case to the Constitutional Bench, issuing an interlocutory interim order to bar Gautam from taking any responsibilities as a member of the federal parliament.