SC rules out interim order on separate ballots for two pollsThe Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday said there was no need to issue an interim order regarding printing of separate ballot papers for the federal and provincial polls as demanded by a petitioner.
The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday said there was no need to issue an interim order regarding printing of separate ballot papers for the federal and provincial polls as demanded by a petitioner.
Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal leader Sarbendra Nath Shukla on October 8 had filed a writ at the apex court demanding an order to the Election Commission (EC) to print separate ballot papers for the federal and provincial elections scheduled for November 26 and December 7.
As the court was hearing the case on Tuesday, the CPN (Maoist Centre), the key coalition partner of the ruling Nepali Congress, made a U-turn within a span of hours—first saying it will quit the government and then saying it will not. Maoist Centre leader Janardan Sharma, in the capacity of home minister, told mediapersons in a hastily organised press conference that “our chairman has got information about plans to postpone the elections so we are not leaving the government yet”.
Had the SC passed a ruling in favour of the petitioner, the EC would have been forced to print separate ballot papers for the two polls, which would have affected the election cycle, resulting in poll delay by a few days. The Maoist Centre’s speculations that there were plans to postpone the polls stemmed from the writ at the EC.
Hours after Sharma’s press conference, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Wednesday evening relieved all 17 Maoist ministers of their responsibilities, assigning them ministries without portfolio.
A division bench of Justices Dipak Raj Joshi and Purushottam Bhandari ruled that there was no need to issue an interim order as demanded by the petitioner at a time when the EC has already sent ballot papers for the proportional representation system for printing.
The bench, however, has added since the court has come to know that the EC will start printing ballot papers for the first-past-the-post electoral system from October 27, there is no need to issue an interim order as the EC will but consider the issue of printing separate ballot papers for the direct electoral system.
After the SC’s ruling, petitioner Sarbendra Nath Shukla, along with another RJP-N leader Brikhesh Chandra Lal, had reached the EC, calling on the poll body to take into consideration the part of the SC’s ruling that says “EC will but consider the issue of printing separate ballot papers seriously”. According to Lal, Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav said the EC will take necessary decision soon.