Nepal’s Supreme Court reinstates dissolved parliament; blow to PM Oli

In what came as a big blow to Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, the country’s apex court on Tuesday nullified last year's December 20 decision of the government to dissolve the House of Representatives

Feb 23, 2021
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In what came as a big blow to Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, the country’s apex court on Tuesday nullified last year's December 20 decision of the government to dissolve the House of Representatives. The court also ordered the government to call a session of the House within 13 days.

Calling the dissolution “unconstitutional”, the five-member constitutional bench of the Supreme Court deemed the December 20 decision “void”. The court pronounced its decision in response to the 13 petitions that had been filed challenging the dissolution.

The Dahal-Nepal faction of the ruling the NCP, which has been challenging Oli for a long time, welcomed the Supreme Court decision and said the "historic decision is a victory of democracy and constitutionalism". 

Opposition parties also hailed the decision, saying it would recede the political instability to an extent, and restore the people's faith in the judiciary.

The decision is a jolt to Oli who seemed confident of winning the general elections that he had called on April 30 and May 10 after dissolving the House last year. For the last couple of months, he had gone on a campaign mode, holding several rallies. 

While on the other hand, his rival, mainly the Dahal-Nepal faction, held multiple protest rallies, accusing Oli of destroying democracy and constitutions just to remain in power. Today’s decision also handed a moral victory to the Dahal-Nepal faction who has long been trying to dislodge Oli from party leadership’s post. 

Soon after dissolving the lower house in December last year, Oli appointed several ministers replacing leaders loyal to the Dahal-Nepal faction. In response, the Dahal-Nepal faction expelled him from the post of the party’s co-chair.

Both factions then filed petitions in Election Commission, claiming the ownership of the party. However, the Election Commission is yet to legalize the formal split in the ruling party and seemed to wait for the apex court decision.

Despite today’s judgment, a lot still depends on Oli’s next move, and he has this habit of holding the suspense and throwing surprises to political opponents.

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