• Monday, Oct 25, 2021
  • Last Update : 07:16 pm

Nepal's top court begins hearing on dissolution of parliament amid protest

  • Published at 06:55 pm January 6th, 2021
Demonstrators affiliated with a faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party carry lanterns
Demonstrators affiliated with a faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party carry lanterns as they protest against the dissolution of parliament, in Kathmandu, Nepal January 6, 2021 Reuters

Oli, 68, has cited internal squabbling within his ruling Communist party and lack of political unity as reasons behind his December 20 decision, which has triggered public outrage and has been labelled unconstitutional

Nepal's top court began hearings on Wednesday on petitions challenging Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's sudden decision to dissolve parliament, as protesters against his move marched nearby.

Oli, 68, has cited internal squabbling within his ruling Communist party and lack of political unity as reasons behind his December 20 decision, which has triggered public outrage and has been labelled unconstitutional.

In their plea before the Supreme Court, politicians, activists and lawyers are questioning whether it is the legitimate right of the leader to dissolve the parliament and order fresh elections, 18 months before schedule.

His colleagues and opposition political parties have blamed Oli for derailing a stable government amid a pandemic that has triggered an economic downturn.

Seven ministers have quit Oli's government to oppose his move and protesters last month burnt effigies of him.

On Wednesday, dozens of peaceful protesters carrying lanterns marched near the parliament building. Displaying objects such as lanterns and torches is common in Nepal as a mark of protest.

"Cancel the unconstitutional coup," protesters shouted referring to Oli's move.

The five-member constitutional bench of the Supreme Court, including the chief justice, is hearing at least 13 petitions questioning the rights of the prime minister, court official Bhadrakali Pokharel said.

Dinesh Tripathi, one of the petitioners, said the constitution laid down the limits of the powers of the prime minister.

"It does not give Oli the prerogative to cause an untimely death to parliament at his will," he said.

The court could take several days to give its verdict, legal experts say.

"We are fully prepared to face the challenge in the court," said Rajan Bhattarai, an aide to Oli. 

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