POKHARA, Jan 6: A meeting of the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of Gandaki Provincial Assembly is taking place on Sunday to decide whether to administer the oath of office and secrecy to Rajiv Gurung alias Deepak Manange, a provincial assembly member elected from Manang.
After Manange filed an application at the provincial assembly secretariat on December 26, requesting it to let him take the oath of office, Provincial Speaker Netranath Adhikari has been consulting with legal experts. But the provincial assembly is in a dilemma over whether to let him take the oath.
Sunday’s provincial assembly meeting is expected to decide the issue.
BAC has already held an informal meeting on how to settle the issue although the meeting ended inconclusively. As part of resolving the issue, Adhikari has called for a meeting on January 6.
The winter session of the provincial assembly will begin from January 7. So, the committee is determined to take a decision on this much-awaited case before the winter session begins
Speaker Adhikari said that a decision will be made considering the legal provisions. Though the members present in the meeting will be playing a pivotal role in counseling him, the speaker himself will make the final decision. In a way, it can be said that Adhikari has the right or power to allow or disallow Manange to take the oath. According to his personal secretary, Adhikari has made up his mind not to do anything against the law no matter what.
However, the law itself is not very clear. Section 13 (e) of the Provincial Assembly Election Act-2074 states that anyone convicted of organized crime or sentenced to a jail term less than 20 years on a murder charge can be eligible for contesting an election only after six years of serving the complete jail term.
However, the subsection ‘g’ of the same section states that anyone who has served a jail term of more than five years cannot contest an election until the next six years of completing the jail term. According to Kumar Khadka, member of the BAC, these rules are applicable only during the filing of nominations. Khadka also said that these rules could not be applied in Manange’s case as no other candidate filed his/her candidacy against him and Manange was elected unopposed.