KATHMANDU, Jan 15: Prime Minister K P Oli’s reported meetings with the justices assigned to the Constitutional Bench have raised fresh controversy in the country as the hearing on over a dozen writ petitions filed against the dissolution of the House of Representatives is currently underway.
One of the writ petitioners and members of the dissolved parliament, Shashi Shrestha expressed serious objection to the reported meeting between Prime Minister Oli and Justices Sapana Pradhan Malla, Dipak Karki, Mira Khadka and Hari Krishna Karki on January 10 and 11. Justice Karki has already recused himself from the Constitutional Bench as he has already served as the Attorney General during the PM Oli-led government.
Former lawmaker Shrestha said the reported meeting between Prime Minister Oli and Justices assigned to the constitutional bench, which is entrusted with the responsibility of deciding the fate of House dissolution, is objectionable. While arguing that this is against the principle of separation of powers, Shrestha said that the meeting of justices with the prime minister at a time when the case is sub judice raises serious questions about the integrity of the judiciary and judicial process.
However, Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana asked Shrestha not to put such matters before the constitutional bench.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the lower house of the federal parliament at the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli on December 20, 2020. This triggered a series of protests in the country as all parties except the Oli-led faction of NCP have taken to the streets, terming the move ‘unconstitutional’.