Verdict on petitions against President’s move unlikely before a monthAs court goes on Dashain vacation from September 26 to October 9, it will not hear cases other than habeas corpus.
The Supreme Court on Friday did not conduct hearing on any of the writ petitions challenging the decision of President Bidya Devi Bhandari not to authenticate a citizenship bill, citing a high number of similar petitions.
Five major petitions demanding the Supreme Court’s intervention following the President’s refusal to authenticate the bill were assigned to a single bench of Justice Manoj Sharma, along with several similar petitions.
“The bench couldn’t hear the petitions due to time constraints,” Bimal Poudel, spokesperson for the court, told the Post. “A single bench on Sunday will look into them.”
The court’s failure to begin the hearings on Friday means the final hearings have been pushed by more than two weeks since the Court will be closed for the Dashain festival starting Monday. Although other government offices are closed only from Saptami (October 2), the seventh day of Dashain, courts, however, are closed from Ghatasthapana, the first day of the festival, on September 26. Throughout the festival from September 26 to October 9, courts will only hear habeas corpus petitions, said Poudel.
The petitioners challenging the President’s decision have claimed that her move to sit on the bill was a clear breach of Article 113 (4) of the Constitution of Nepal. They have demanded that the court issue an order to the President to authenticate the bill, which was twice endorsed by both houses of parliament.
The Article says that if the President sends back a bill along with her remarks and if both the Houses reconsider the bill and send it again to the President as it was presented or with amendments, the bill shall be authenticated within 15 days.
However, Bhandari did not authenticate the bill and let the September 20 deadline lapse.
“The most the single bench can do on Sunday is issue a show cause notice to the defendant and decide whether to send the case to the constitutional bench or to a full bench. The court will go on a long holiday from the very next day,” advocate Sunil Ranjan Singh, one of the petitioners, told the Post. “I don’t see any possibility of a final verdict coming out in under a month.”
As acting Chief Justice Deepak Kumar Karki retires on October 1, Justice Hari Krishna Karki will then be the acting leader of the judiciary. Karki can head the judiciary until September 9 next year.