Lawmakers' privileges on criminal offenses challenged at SC

Published On: July 15, 2018 06:37 PM NPT By: Ananta Raj Luitel

KATHMANDU, July 15: A writ petition has been filed at the Supreme Court on Sunday challenging a provision of the House of Representatives Act, 2018 that prohibits suspending lawmakers even after facing charges on criminal offenses.

Advocates duo Ramchandra Gautam and Lokendra Bahadur Oli filed the petition in the apex court demanding its order to nullify articles 244(3) and (4) of the act. They claimed that the provision enacted by the parliament with the pressure of main opposition Nepali Congress intends to undermine the parliamentary dignity and which would also be against the basic concept of rule of law.

The petitioners have named House of Representatives, Secretariat of the Federal Parliament, Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration as defendants in the petition.

The petitioners, in the petition, claimed that it would threat for impartial investigation if the lawmakers do not suspend even after being facing the criminal charges and being revived in the same position even after being convicted and serving the sentence for remaining tenure as members of the HoR citing one or another reason.  

They also underlined that the police cannot impartially investigate into any crime if any lawmaker involves in such an offense and this provision would not discourage for the lawmakers to involve in any criminal act.

"Since this provision would not help for developing corruption free society by discouraging people to commit crime; do not investigate the crime impartially; and it is also against the human rights principles and constitutionalism, therefore, we would like to nullify articles 244(3) and (4) of the HoR Act under the extra-ordinary power of the apex court," they pleaded before the apex court.

Claiming that the provision contradicts with Article 1, 18 of the Constitution and the parliamentary dignity and the customs, they also urged the apex court to issue stay order to suspend its implementation immediately.


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