Four former chief justices warn of mockery being made against rule of lawIn a statement, they say the dissolution of the House of Representatives is against the letter and spirit of the constitution and democratic values.
As the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court on Friday began hearing on the 30 petitions filed against last week’s dissolution of the House of Representatives and announcement of midterm elections, four former chief justices have again raised concern over the risk to a system governed by the rule of law.
“By dissolving Parliament time and again, punishing the House for no reason, introducing a number of ordinances, bringing a full budget instead of interim one, mockery has been made of the rule of law in the country,” said a statement of a group of four former chief justices.
The group includes former chief justices Sushila Karki, Kalyan Shrestha, Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Anup Raj Sharma.
As per the constitution, the budget has to be presented in the joint session of parliament on Jestha 15 which falls on Saturday, May 29. But in the absence of the lower house, the budget is being presented through an ordinance.
Earlier on January 8, when the Supreme Court was testing the constitutionality of the first House dissolution, the four former chief justices had issued a similar statement saying that the constitution does not allow the prime minister to dissolve Parliament.
“The exercise of Article 76 at present is against the letter and spirit of the constitution and the basis of values of democracy and this gives the sense that the constitution is being implemented in an opposite direction,” the statement issued Friday said. “This has brought about a grave situation in which the principle of the supremacy of law is ignored and laws become ineffective. Such a situation can be dangerous for democracy.”
The former justices have said that it is a well-known fact that a prime minister cannot be appointed or remain in power without maintaining or showing confidence of the House of Representatives in a parliamentary democracy.
The former chief justices also said the spirit of the Supreme Court's February 23 verdict that reinstated the House earlier has not been respected by dissolving the House once again.
“We request all concerned including the President, prime minister and Speaker who shoulder the responsibility of implementing the constitution to show commitment and accountability to the constitution and also to correct the existing situation and maintain peace, restraint and wisdom,” the statement said.