SC seeks explanation for picking Godawari as provincial capital

Published On: January 20, 2019 07:41 AM NPT By: Arun Bam

DOTI, Jan 20: The Supreme Court has sought clarification from the concerned government authorities for selecting Godawari as the capital of Sudurpaschim Province. The constitutional bench led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana on Friday issued a ‘show cause notice’ to the government to present the reasons behind picking Godawari as the province capital.

The Provincial Assembly of Sudurpaschim had decided on September 28 to name Godawari as its capital. Dipayal-based advocate Manish Kumar Shrestha along with nine other advocates from all the nine districts of the province had filed a writ petition against the decision at the Supreme Court. They claimed that the selection process of the provincial capital was ‘unscientific and unconstitutional’.

Responding to the writ, the constitutional bench on Friday ordered the Government of Nepal, Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Sudurpaschim Provincial Assembly and Sudurpaschim government to present the reasons behind picking Godawari as the provincial capital.

“It is up to the apex court to decide whether to scrap the writ or push it forward,” advocate Shrestha told Republica, adding, “The Supreme Court has not only recognized this case as a political case but also a national case. Our claim was that the court should not remain silent in such a case of political nature and of such a delicate issue.”

According to Shrestha, the court had to interfere in the decision since no proper study was conducted prior to taking such a crucial decision. He said that since the general public of the province is divided over the selection of the provincial capital, other things have such as history, political importance, geography, people’s sentiments and infrastructure should be taken into consideration before naming a city as the provincial capital. 

He added that it was difficult even to file the writ at the court since the decision was passed by a two-thirds majority of the provincial assembly. 

Ten advocates including Shrestha, Surendra Bhandari, Ananta Karki, Rameshwar Koirala, Tara Prasad Timilsina, Ananta Parajuli, and Sudhir Bangal filed the case at the Supreme Court.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had also issued a ‘show cause notice’ when advocate Devi Kumari Joshi filed a writ petition against the government’s decision to construct the provincial capital by clearing the Teghari forest of Godawari. She had argued that deforestation should not be done in the name of creating a provincial capital.

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