By Ranju Kafle
Kathmandu, Feb .1: The hearing on 13 writ petitions filed against the dissolution of the House of Representatives (HoR) continued in the Supreme Court on Sunday.
Pleading on behalf of the petitioners completed today and the defenders will begin their pleadings from Monday.
Advocates Gopal Datta Pandey, Amita Gautam, Lokendra Bahadur Oli, Kamal Bahadur Khatri, Maniram Upadhaya and Tulasi Simkhada pleaded on Sunday on behalf of the petitioners. All of them claimed that the Constitution did not allow the Prime Minister to dissolve the House. “The step taken to dissolve the House should be rectified by the Supreme Court,” they said.
Complainants had alleged Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota for the move in their petitions. Altogether 63 advocates pleaded on behalf of the petitioners on the 13 writ petitions in two weeks.
The hearing began in the five-member Constitutional Bench on January 17, and it has been continuing. More than 300 incidences were filed for pleading in the apex court. When the advocates started taking long to plead, and SC drew criticism that it was deliberately extending the hearing to delay the final verdict, the court strictly limited pleading time to 10 to 15 minutes for each advocate.
Attorney General Agni Prasad Kharel will lead the pleading on behalf of the defenders and other advocates would also put forth their arguments in favour of the Prime Minister for his move. Eleven advocates, including Attorney General Kharel will plead from defender’s side.
Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana asked the advocates of the defenders after the session today, “How many of you will be pleading for the government?” “We will be 11,” Deputy Attorney General Padam Prasad Pandey said in response.
The hearing session of the defenders may last for a week as there are 11 government lawyers; 77 other incidences for the Prime Minister and three for the Speaker of the House of Representatives are waiting for their turn.
Former Attorney General Sushil Panta and senior advocates Rabinarayan Khanal, Mahesh Nepal and Rudra Pokharel will be pleading on behalf of the Prime Minister. Similarly, Laba Kumar Mainali, Srikrishna Subedi and Shyam Prasad Kharel will plead for Speaker Sapkota.
Amicus Curiae will present its suggestion to the court after that. Five advocates including Badri Bahadur Karki, Bijaya Kanta Mainali, Satishkrishna Kharel from Nepal Bar Association and Gita Pathak Sangraula and Purnaman Shakya from Supreme Court Bar Association have been nominated for the Amicus Curiae.
– The Rising Nepal