The Supreme Court of Nepal on Tuesday overturned Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s December 20 decision to dissolve the House of Representatives, reported The Kathmandu Post. In December, Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari had ratified the proposal of the Cabinet to dissolve the Parliament, and announced countywide elections between April 30 and May 10.
The Constitutional Bench, led by Supreme Court Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana, overturned the Nepal prime minister’s decision and asked the government to recommend a meeting of the House in 13 days.
Oli on Tuesday called for a Security Council meeting at 9.30 am at his official residence. The meeting may be attended by Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali, Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa and Chief of Army Staff Purna Chandra Thapa. However, Defence Secretary Reshmi Raj Pandey told ANI that this was a “regular meeting”.
In December, Oli’s administration had recommended the dissolution, days after he faced backlash over an executive order. The Nepal prime minister was reportedly under pressure to withdraw an ordinance related to the Constitutional Council Act that he had issued on December 15. The president endorsed the ordinance on the same day.
The House Speaker is one of the members in the Constitutional Council, headed by the prime minister, which makes recommendations for key appointments including in constitutional bodies, judiciary and foreign missions. As per the provisions of the Act, five of the six members must be present for the meeting to convene.
The amendments introduced by Oli sought to change this. As per the new provisions, introduced through the ordinance, the meeting does not require the presence of the Speaker, and the leader of the Opposition party as a simple majority is sufficient quorum. A Cabinet meeting in December was expected to recommend the replacement of the ordinance, the newspaper reported. But instead Oli moved a resolution for dissolving the House.
The ruling Nepal Communist Party has been witnessing an intra-party feud between two factions, one led by the prime minister, and another by Prachanda, also the executive chair of the party. In June, Oli had claimed that efforts were being made to oust him after his government redrew the country’s political map by incorporating three strategically important Indian territories.