SC expected to decide ballot paper row today

Published On: October 18, 2017 04:55 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Oct 18: Supreme Court officials said on Tuesday that the apex court would decide on Wednesday whether or not to issue a stay order in relation to a writ petition seeking to arrange separate ballot papers for the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections and for first-past-the-post and proportional representation systems. 

Responding to a writ petition filed by Rastriya Janata Party Nepal senior leader Sarvendranath Shukla, a division bench of Justices Deepak Raj Joshee and Purusottam Bhandari conducted hearings on Tuesday. But it could not issue any order immediately, stating that further study was needed. The court is expected to decide the issue on Wednesday.  

Some political parties including ruling Nepali Congress and main opposition CPN-UML believe the writ petition was filed with the intent of deferring the elections. Ministers representing the Maoist party, who were preparing to quit the government after forging a poll alliance with the main opposition,  change their minds and decided to continue in the government.  

Currently, the Election Commission (EC) has arranged a single ballot paper for both the parliamentary and provincial elections.  The writ petition has been filed at a time when the election body, which is scheduled to conduct both parliamentary and provincial elections in two phases-first phase on November 26 and second phase on December 7--, is already printing the ballots for the first phase. 

Shukla had moved the SC demanding separate ballot papers for the first-past-the-post electoral system and the proportional representation category for both the parliamentary and provincial polls so that the voters would not be confused. 

  Shukla had filed the writ petition on October 8 but it was submitted to the bench for hearing only on Tuesday. 

Initially, the apex court had refused to register the writ petition on the ground that the petitioner could not submit a copy of the EC's decision. It was registered when Shukla submitted the decision copy. 

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