House meeting postponed to avoid tussle with judiciary

Published On: May 8, 2017 07:10 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 7: Parliament’s meeting has been postponed till after the first phase of local level elections, amid confusion over whether the legislature should continue with the  impeachment motion filed against Chief Justice Sushila Karki even after the apex court order to put the impeachment on hold.

Speaker Onsari Gharti decided to postpone the House meeting till May 18 with a view to avoid further tensions between the judiciary and the legislature over the issue of each other’s jurisdictions. Some ruling party leaders were for moving forward with the impeachment motion  despite the SC order, claiming that the order was an infringement on the prerogatives of parliament. 

“The House meeting has been called off till May 18 with a view to facilitate a solution to the problem through  dialogue and consultations,” Speaker Gharti said at a press meet after postponing the meeting.

“Confrontation between the two organs of the state  might disturb the elections being held to institutionalize democracy achieved through the struggle and sacrifice of the people. In this situation, state institutions and their office-bearers should review their own roles and find an amicable solution through patience and fortitude,” said Gharti. 

Altogether 249 lawmakers from the Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Center) had filed the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Karki at the Parliament Secretariat on April 30. But the apex court ordered  parliament to put the motion on hold, stating that the motion was against the spirit of the constitution.

Following the court order, some influential leaders from NC and the Maoist Center had maintained that the order was a breach of the prerogatives of the House. Citing Article 103 (2) of the constitution, they said it bars the court from questioning  any issue which is under discussion in the House. 

Speaker Gharti  stressed that it is the prerogative of  parliament to decide how to proceed forward with the proposals in parliament. “It is a prerogative and an internal issue of parliament  how to move forward with proposals introduced in  parliament,” Gharti said at the press meet held at the parliament building in New Baneshwar. She further maintained that  the constitution itself defines the jurisdiction of the legislative, executive and judicial branches and all state organs must be limited within constitutional boundaries. 

Amendment only after May 14

With the House meeting postponed till May 18, the government has failed to implement its commitment to the agitating parties on amending the new constitution. 

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had already informed Speaker  Gharti about introducing the  amendment bill in the House only after the first phase local polls. 

Seeing no possibility of securing the two-thirds majority required for endorsing the  amendment bill, the ruling parties and other political parties supporting the governing coalition had reached  a conclusion on tabling the bill only after the first phase local elections on May 14.

With more than 10 lawmakers from Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) coming out against the amendment, the government had backtracked from its plan to endorse it  last week with revisions. If the dissident RPP lawmakers don’t vote for the amendment bill, the government will be over a dozen votes short of a two-thirds majority.

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