In criticising court, Oli defies rule of law, experts sayUML Standing Committee decides to ‘expose’ Supreme Court’s verdict ordering Deuba’s appointment as prime minister.
A meeting of the CPN-UML parliamentary party on Friday decided to ‘expose’ the Supreme Court’s decision to appoint Congress chief Sher Bahadur Deuba as prime minister claiming that the verdict was undemocratic and against the multiparty system.
As soon as the Supreme Court announced its verdict on Monday, youths close to CPN-UML chief and outgoing prime minister KP Sharma Oli organised protests in different parts of the country and even burnt Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana in effigies.
Oli has been criticising the verdict although he has said his party implemented it, but his party’s decision to ‘expose’ the verdict has raised concerns among those who believe in the rule of law.
However, leaders, constitutional experts and observers have been saying that the activities of Oli and his party against the court’s verdict would be tantamount to contempt of court and could obstruct justice delivery.
They have also expressed concerns if Oli, who was involved in trampling the constitution, should be allowed to continue to crush the rule of law.
“Ongoing activities of Oli and his party are tantamount to contempt of court,” said Chandra Kanta Gyawali, a senior advocate and expert on constitutional law. “Their announcement to ‘expose the court’ is not implementation of the verdict. Instead, it will be an obstruction to justice which is wrong.”
The Supreme Court Bar Association has also issued a press statement expressing serious concerns over the ongoing activities of the former prime minister and his party.
The Bar Association has said the activities of the party’s leaders and cadres like burning the effigy of Chief Justice, levelling serious allegations against him, creating confusion and spreading rumours have drawn serious attention of the association.
The statement issued by secretary Rishiram Ghimire has also stated that Oli and his cadres were involved in spreading disinformation against the verdict by saying it was issued ‘in the manner of the oligarchic Rana regime’, ‘appointing a prime minister [by the court] is a charade practiced nowhere’, ‘encroachment on the constitution and people’ and that ‘the movement will continue until the constitution torn by the court is brought back to its track’ among other things.
“The bar has come to the conclusion that the statements made by Prime Minister Oli and his cadres to spread misleading rumours against the court and judge and cause scandal by creating mistrust has seriously impacted the independent judiciary,” stated the release issued on Thursday. “We request all those concerned to respect the duly issued verdict of the Supreme Court, maintain restraint and refrain from any inappropriate activities against the verdict.”
The parliamentary party meeting of the UML has decided to launch a campaign to ‘expose’ the Supreme Court’s verdict claiming that the verdict had attacked the existing party system of the country.
“Misinterpreting the articles and clauses of the constitution, the apex court has ridiculed the people’s mandate and it has disrespected and attacked the party system,” said Bishal Bhattarai, chief whip of the UML following the parliamentary party meeting at Baneshwor. “The decision was against the party system so our party has decided to launch an exposure campaign against the verdict among the people.” He said his party could have easily accepted if the Supreme Court had only reinstated the House.
The Standing Committee meeting held on Friday has also taken a similar decision. The party has concluded that the court’s decision has destabilized the balance between the three organs of the state and that the party won’t support the government formed through an ‘undemocratic’ and ‘unhealthy’ process.
"Excessive judicial activism was unwarranted. By making political decisions on the issues having no context, without the demand of the petitioners and which were not imagined by the constitution, the court has shown unwarranted interests," said Pradeep Gyawali after the Standing Committee meeting held at the Tulsilal Memorial Academy in Chyasal.
The meeting has also decided that the court’s verdict has indirectly amended the constitution.
Leaders and legal experts remember how UML had taken to the streets against the Supreme Court’s verdict against the then Prime Minister Manmohan Adhikari’s decision to dissolve parliament in 1995.
“They took to the streets for a few days then but this time with the party’s decision it may go on for a long time,” said Anup Raj Sharma, former chief justice. “Oli has said his government formed through people’s verdict was replaced through a mandamus order and therefore he could create chaos by collecting the anarchical forces.”
He said Oli never accepted the constitutional provisions and now that he is not in power, he could continue with his anarchical activities against the court.
However, some leaders have said if Oli continued with his ongoing activities against the Court his party along with himself would become exposed instead of the court.
“They did similar activities against the then Chief Justice Bishwanath Upadhayay in 1995 and now Oli is exposing himself, going against the rule of law,” said senior advocate Khimlal Devkota, a central member of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre). “Oli repeated what Mahesh Basnet said in the streets and now the party has officially decided to expose the court.”
Devkota said the more Oli and his party continue to ‘expose’ the court their commitment to rule of law and independent judiciary will be exposed more.