KATHMANDU, May 25: The Supreme Court on Thursday annulled the bill for extending the term of the Constituent Assemble (CA) by yet another three months, placing the political parties in the awakward exigency of having to promulgate the new constitution within 72 hours.
The single bench of Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi has ruled that the bill registered on Tuesday in parliament to extend the CA term was in violation of the Supreme Court verdict of November 25 and Articles 64 and 116 of the Interim Constitution.
The SC said that the CA should complete drafting the new constitution within May 27 and in case it fails to meet the deadline, one should go for one of the three options the SC suggested in its November 25 ruling: Another CA election, a referendum, or some other suitable way out.
The SC came out with its verdict after looking at three separate petitions registered against the bill. The petitions demanding invalidation of the bill were registered on Wednesday.
Using stern wording in the verdict, the SC said the government had acted as if it was simply unaware of the SC´s November 25 verdict.
Another serious outcome of the bill for the 13th amendment to the Interim Constitution was another order from the SC Thursday, to the prime minister and the law minister, to present themselves at the SC with written explanations within a week, regarding a separate petition concerning contempt of court.
The SC also evoked its rejection of a joint plea by the government and the CA to review its November 25 verdict.
In the November 25 verdict, the SC had directed the CA and the government to extend the CA term for a last time for a necessary period to compulsorily complete the constitution drafting process.
The verdict also directed the government to go for fresh elections, a referendum or some ´other way out´ in case of failure to meet the deadline.
PM and law minister summoned
The Supreme Court on Thursday enjoined Prime Minster Baburam Bhattarai and Deputy Prime Minster Krishna Sitaula, who also has charge of the Ministry of Law, Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs, to physically present themselves at the SC within a week with written answers regarding a petition which claims that they are in contempt of court for filing the CA term extension bill.
The single bench of SC Justice Kalyan Shrestha has made this the first instance in Nepal´s history of a sitting prime minster being hauled up by the apex court for clarifications.
Shrestha stated in his verdict that the SC´s previous verdict and all its legal arguments and formulated theories are binding on the government and all authorities concerned.
“The prime minister or the government could be expected to at least not violate or act against the decisions of the Supreme Court,” the verdict says.
The petition on contempt of court was ledged by advocate Komal Prasad Etani.