On Friday, a Constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana will hear all petitions questioning the decision of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli to suddenly dissolve Parliament, in the midst of an escalated battle to take control of the party between the two warring factions of the ruling Nepal Communist Party.
A verdict on Prime Minister Oli’s attempt to dissolve the 275-member House of Representatives, the lower house of parliament, will be given by the five-member bench established under Chief Justice Rana, My Republica newspaper said.
Justices Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha, Tej Bahadur KC, Anil Kumar Sinha, and Hari Krishna Karki make up the five-member bench. The Single Bench of Chief Justice Rana forwarded all written petitions to the Constitutional Bench on Wednesday. At the supreme court, a total of 13 written petitions were filed challenging the government’s decision to dissolve Parliament.
Senior lawyers citing constitutional provisions during the hearing on Wednesday argued that Prime Minister Oli has no power to dissolve the House as long as there is a chance of establishing an alternative government. Prime Minister Oli, meanwhile, called a Cabinet meeting on Friday night. Following the resignation of seven ministers close to the Prachanda-led party, he is likely to reshuffle the Cabinet, the paper said, citing a source familiar with the Office of the Prime Minister.
There are currently 18 members of the Oli-led Government, including ministers and ministers of state. On Thursday, Chinese Ambassador Hou Yanqi met with the executive chairman of the Nepal Communist Party, Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, who claims control of the ruling party after dismissing Prime Minister Oli from the roles of parliamentary leader and chairman of the party.
On Thursday, at a meeting of members of the Central Committee close to him, Oli announced the removal of Prachanda from the post of executive chairman of the party. Earlier, he was elected by the ruling party’s Prachanda-led faction as the new parliamentary leader, replacing Prime Minister Oli.
After President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the House of Representatives and declared mid-term election dates on Sunday on the advice of Prime Minister Oli, Nepal plunged into a political crisis, triggering protests by a portion of the ruling party and various opposition parties, including the Nepalese Congress.
More than two years after it was founded following the merger of CPN-UML led by 68-year-old Oli and CPN-Maoist Centre led by 66-year-old Prachanda in May 2018, the ruling party is now practically split.
Efforts to maintain official party recognition along with the election emblem have been strengthened by both factions of the party. Now the two factions are busy making plans to wrest the party’s power.