Salaries and allowances of Speaker, Deputy Speaker withheld until court’s decision

Published On: September 30, 2022 04:15 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Sept 30: The salaries and allowances of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR) will be withheld until the court orders. The Parliament Secretariat has withheld the salaries and allowances that they are to get after September 17. Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota and Deputy Speaker Pushpa Bhusal's salaries have been withheld and the salaries and allowances to be received by their personal secretaries, too, have been held back. 

A writ petition was filed at the Supreme Court on September 22, raising questions about the Speaker's tenure. Sources said that the services after September 17 have been stopped until the court's decision. As the term of the HoR ended a day before the Election Commission’s fixed the date for the submission of proportional closed list for the upcoming elections, there is a dispute regarding whether the terms of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker should continue.

After September 17, the Speaker called a meeting of the management committee of parliament and took some decisions and approved three bills. National Assembly Chairperson Ganesh Prasad Timilsina objected to the work of the Speaker and wrote to the General Secretary of the Parliament Secretariat not to implement the decision.

Speaker Sapkota and Deputy Speaker Bhusal's salaries and allowances have been withheld, but they are still receiving other perks and benefits such as government residence, security, vehicles, and petrol expenses.

If the court decides that the tenures of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker ended after September 17, the other benefits they have received will also be illegal. The speaker has been arguing that he is taking a stand for his position according to the constitution. If the speaker is no longer a member of the House of Representatives, Article 91 (6) of the Constitution mentions the provision of the Speaker's position to remain vacant.

However, in the event of dissolution of the House of Representatives, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives who are in office will remain in office until the day before filing nominations for the next election to the HoR.

The Election Commission has set the date for filing direct nominations for October 9. On the other hand, the members of the House of Representatives have only been provided with salary allowances until September 17. The Supreme Court's decision will decide on the matter of the MPs being entitled to their salaries only until September 17, while the speaker is entitled to it until October 8.

"Until the petition is finalized, with the intention of preventing misuse of state resources and services by the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, an interim order should be issued in the name of the defendants in accordance with Rule 49 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2017, to prevent them from using the services provided by the state for holding their positions," the petition has demanded.

The Supreme Court issued a show-cause order on September 25 on the writ petition regarding the tenures of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. A single bench of Justice Hari Prasad Phuyal gave priority to the writ petition and asked for reasons for the issuance of the order. The Supreme Court sought reasons as to why an order should not be issued as per the demand of the writ petitioner.



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