Nepal’s top court reinstates dissolved house of representatives

Kathmandu: In a major setback to KP Sharma Oli, Nepal’s Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the (now) caretaker Prime Minister’s December 20 decision to dissolve the country’s House of Representatives and asked authorities to summon a meeting of the Parliament within 13 days.

On Tuesday, a five-member constitutional bench, headed by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana, in a unanimous judgement said that the provisions of the Constitution cited by Oli and Bhandari were not relevant as Nepal’s Constitution has made a special provision against the dissolution of Parliament mid-term without exhausting all options to forming an alternative government. The court termed the dissolution of the House as “unconstitutional” and ordered the government to summon the House session within the next 13 days.

Nepal plunged into a political crisis after President Bidhya Devi Bhandari had on December 20 dissolved the 275-member Lower House and announced fresh elections on April 30 and May 10 at the recommendation of Oli, amidst a tussle for power within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) between factions led by the Prime Minister and by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Madhav Kumar Nepal.

As many as 13 writ petitions including the one by the ruling party’s Chief Whip Dev Prasad Gurung were filed in the apex court seeking the restoration of the Lower House of the Parliament.

Last month, Prachanda-led faction of the NCP expelled Prime Minister Oli from the general membership of the Nepal Communist Party for alleged anti-party activities.

Earlier in December, the splinter group had removed 68-year-old Oli, one of the two chairmen of the ruling party, as the co-chair. Madhav Nepal was named as the party’s second chairman. Prachanda is the first chairman of the party.

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