SC calls amicus curiae over local bodies polls

Published On: December 22, 2016 01:40 AM NPT By: Nabin Khatiwada

KATHMANDU, Dec 22: The Supreme Court on Wednesday called an amicus curiae to help it decide whether or not  the elections for local bodies could be held under the existing setup.

Responding to a writ petition filed by Chandra Kanta Gyawali, Leeladhar Upadhyaya and four others, a division bench of Justices Cholendra SJB Rana and Hari Krishna Karki asked the Nepal Bar Association and the Supreme Court Bar to send three senior advocates each to help the court decide the issue.

The bench has stated that a serious constitutional question has arisen as to whether the election of local bodies can be held in line with Article 303 of the Constitution or not.

Although  Clause 2 of Article 303 states that the election of officials of local bodies under the existing setup shall be held in accordance with the law, Clause 1 of the same Article states that the local bodies existing at the time of commencement of the Constitution shall continue to exist until the determination of the number and areas of the local  bodies under the federal setup.

Citing this transitional provision, the petitioners moved the apex court demanding a mandamus order to hold the election of the local bodies, which have been vacant since a decade and half, under the existing setup. 

However, there is a debate that the current setup for local bodies exists only until the commission formed to determine the number and boundaries of local level units submits its report to the government and that the election should be held under the new setup in line with Article 215 of the Constitution.

 Article 295 Clause 3 speaks about constituting a commission for the determination of the number and boundaries of village bodies, municipalities and special, protected or autonomous regions and the commission has a term of one year to finalize the number and boundaries.

The commission formed in line with Article 295 has been preparing its final report. However, the ruling Nepali Congress and Madhes-based parties are raising questions over the commission and asking the PM to avoid receiving its report at least for the  next two and half months. The commission was formed on March 14, 2016..

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