Supreme Court awards Nepal Communist Party to Rishiram KattelThe decision makes the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) registered under Oli and Dahal in May 2018 illegitimate, taking the UML and Maoist Centre to their pre-merger stage.
Tika R Pradhan
The Supreme Court has decided to award the Nepal Communist Party to Rishiram Kattel.
Justices Kumar Regmi and Bom Kumar Shrestha on Sunday passed the verdict on the almost three-year-old case, in which Kattel had challenged the Election Commission’s decision to register Nepal Communist Party (NCP) under KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal in May 2018.
The bench has said that a new party cannot be registered with the Election Commission when it already has a party registered with a similar name.
“The Supreme Court has passed a verdict in our favour,” advocate Dandapani Poudel, Kattel’s lawyer, told the Post. “We have won the case.”
Quashing the Election Commission's decision to award the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to Oli and Dahal, the court has said then CPN-UML and then CPN (Maoist Centre) would return to the pre-merger stage and if they were to merge, they should apply at the Election Commission as per the Political Parties Act.
Oli’s UML and Dahal’s Maoist Centre had announced their merger in May 2018.
The decision comes just hours before the scheduled meeting of the House of Representatives where the two factions of the Nepal Communist Party are battling to show their majority.
The court decision can have an impact on the party’s equation in the House.
In the 2017 elections, the UML had won 121 seats and the Maoist Centre 53.
Oli’s December 20 House dissolution move, however, brought a rift in the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), with one faction led by Oli and the other by Dahal and Nepal.
Within the UML, Oli had nearly 80 members on his side, while Nepal had around 40, while there were around 53 members from Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre).
Party insiders say the equations, however, could have changed by now.
After the Election Commission’s initial refusal to award the Nepal Communist Party to Oli and Dahal, saying a party with the same name was already registered with it, Oli and Dahal had got their party registered as Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
But Kattel had challenged the Election Commission’s decision to award the party to Oli and Dahal at the Supreme Court.
Advocate Poudel had filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court on behalf of Kattel on December 7, 2018, demanding that the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by Oli and Dahal be scrapped as its registration violated Clause 6(e) of the Political Parties Act-2017.
The clause states that a new party cannot be registered if the name and party’s emblem resemble those of a party already registered with the Election Commission.
Poudel in his petition claimed that the ruling party had used power to get Nepal Communist Party (NCP) registered even though Nepal Communist Party was already registered in the name of Kattel.
This article has been updated.