Reappointment of seven ministers is unconstitutional: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to retain seven ministers in the incumbent government in their posts. A single bench of Chief Justice Cholendra Shamsher JBR today issued an interim order not to let persons who are not the Member of Parliament work in the capacity of Minister.
The apex court ruled that the post of Minister of Ram Bahadur Thapa, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Lekhraj Bhatta, Gauri Shankar Chaudhary, Prabhu Saha, Mani Chandra Thapa and Dawa Tamang was unconstitutional. The seven ministers in the present KP Sharma Oli-led government are not Member of Parliament. However, Oli had retained them in the present Council of Ministers after he was appointed to the post of Prime Minister for a third term by the President on May 13.
“The acts of recommending and appointing the defendants to the post of Minister as well as administering the oath of office to them are in contravention of the Constitution until the writ is finalised as it is found against the provisions of Article 78 (1, 2 and 3) of the Constitution of Nepal as well as its letter and main spirit,” the bench stated in its order. Article 78 (1) of the Constitution of Nepal provides for a person who is not a Member of Parliament to take membership of the Federal Parliament within six months of his/her taking oath of office as the Minister.
The Supreme Court has concluded that the appointment of the seven ministers was against the spirit of the constitution as it is mentioned in the same Article that the person appointed the Minister as per sub-article 1 of the Article would be ineligible for reappointment as Minister throughout the term of the then existing House of Representatives if the person could not secure the parliament membership. As per the court order the minister post of the seven ministers has automatically fallen vacant until the case is finalised.
The seven leaders from the erstwhile CPN (Maoist Centre) had decided to remain with the CPN (UML) even after the Supreme Court’s decision on March 7. The Supreme Court had, responding to a writ petition on the authenticity of the name of the NCP, decided on this date that the then ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) would cease to exist and go back to the status quo ante. The NCP was formed after the unification of then CPN (UML) and CPN (Maoist Centre).
The seven individuals ceased to be the Member of Parliament after the CPN (Maoist Centre) expelled them from the party citing they joined the CPN (UML). However, PM Oli had reappointed them to the post of minister after his reappointment for the third term on May 13.