Role of President questioned : Devesh Jha

Political Analyst

Interview

How do you see the dissolution of Parliament?

The dissolution of parliament has led to a serious constitutional crisis. News has to be analyzed on a clockwise basis. Recently, Bhim Rawal and Pampha Bhusal had tried to register a motion to convene a meeting of the parliament at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. It is understood that it has the signatures of 80-85 parliamentarians. The paper was turned into a no-confidence motion on Sunday and registered with the Parliament Secretariat. One party claims that the prime minister recommended dissolving parliament after a no-confidence motion was filed. But the other side said that after the recommendation to dissolve the parliament was approved, a no-confidence motion was filed under the influence of the speaker. Therefore, this is a serious constitutional issue. This will naturally be decided by the Supreme Court. But I see it as a serious constitutional crisis.

Can the Supreme Court reinstate the dissolution of Parliament approved by the President?

Earlier the Supreme Court had twice revived the dissolved parliament, then dissolved it by then-Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and then Prime Minister Manmohan Adhikari. However, the difference is that during the time of Girija Prasad Koirala, 36 MPs from his own party were absent in the then parliament in Koirala’s vote of confidence. The bench of Prasad Upadhyaya had agreed. Similarly, when Manmohan Adhikari’s minority government tried to dissolve the parliament, the Supreme Court rejected the recommendation of dissolving the parliament saying that it could not be accepted as long as there was a possibility of a government from the parliament. So we have these two precedents. Its determination naturally goes to the Supreme Court.

Could it be that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has taken the Supreme Court into confidence and recommended the dissolution of Parliament?

We can only speculate that the Prime Minister has recommended the dissolution of Parliament by trusting the Supreme Court. The prime minister may have personally consulted with a judge. That doesn’t make sense. Because when there is a debate process, various things enter the precedent and justice takes its course and justice is delivered. The decision of the meeting of dissident leaders in Khumaltar to take constitutional and political steps is to go to the apex. An informal meeting of the Parliament can be convened by the Speaker as a political move. Because in case the parliament has been dissolved by the president, the parliamentary seat is not considered to be maintained until it is reinstated. Therefore, he is not legally active when called by the Speaker. Hence, the decision to enter the constitutional process shows that they somehow enter the apex by filing a writ and it is decided by the apex.

There have been allegations that the President hastily approves any bill or proposal when it reaches the President’s residence. How do you view it?

I would like to draw your attention to the tweet made by Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba two or three days ago. What came as a controversy is why the main opposition Nepali Congress did not try to convene a meeting of the parliament. In this regard, he tweeted that since the Congress does not have 25 percent members to reach a quorum, we cannot convene a meeting unless the other parties agree. He went to Deuba’s residence with witnesses Jaspa Chairman Mahanta Thakur, party leaders Dr Baburam Bhattarai and Rajendra Mahato as witnesses. There was only a reply to Deubaji’s tweet. The leader of the single-majority party is the current prime minister. Even with a single majority, he is the leader of a two-thirds majority party. As such, the president has little room for debate. In our constitution, the role of the president is only figurative.·  It has been alleged that the president approves the prime minister’s recommendation in a matter of minutes or hours. One thing that is not understood is how long after the approval of the President there will be no dispute? There are also rumors that the president should have discussed the issue with other parties. But other parties do not have the numbers to convene a parliamentary session. In that case, the president may not be able to consult with other parties. Therefore, the President is compelled to accept the recommendation of the Prime Minister as envisaged in the constitution.

What should be the role of the opposition parties Congress and JSP after the dissolution of the parliament?

JSP has already issued a statement in protest. No formal statement has been issued by the Nepali Congress so far. Leaders are saying that this is not right. Everyone agrees that it is not right. It is not pleasant for the parliament to be dissolved without completing its term. No one calls it good. But more than good or bad, the debate is about whether it is constitutional or not. There should be more discussion on the legal side than on the emotional side and it should be decided by the apex court.

Is the dissolution of the parliament constitutional or not?

No one but the Supreme can resolve this issue. Others have only their opinions, only debates on social media. I am clear that this issue enters the apex and is decided by a grand session there. So let’s wait, there’s no reason to panic.

Election date of the House of Representatives has also been fixed. Can this government hold the election?

Constitutionally, this is the government that will hold the elections. There is no other provision in the constitution. In the current situation that has arisen, if this is the situation, this government will hold the election.

How much does the current situation affect the NCP?

This issue is a bit complicated as to how much it affects the NCP.. So far, both sides have been blaming each other. The party may split tomorrow. There may be controversy over the original flag and election symbol. This is something that will be determined in the future. But so far no statement has come in the direction of splitting the party.

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