SC terms appointment of seven non-MP ministers unconstitutional, bars them from office

Photo: NL Today

NL Today

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu: The Supreme Court (SC) has issued an interim order to the government not to let seven ministers who are not parliamentarians perform their duties as ministers.

A Single Bench of Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JBR on Thursday issued the order while hearing a writ petition filed against the appointment. The bench termed the move by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli to appoint a non-MP as a minister as unconstitutional.

Prime Minister Oli had reappointed seven non-MPs as ministers after being appointed Prime Minister for the third time.

With the decision, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, Energy Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Industry Minister Lekhraj Bhatta, Urban Development Minister Prabhu Sah, Drinking Water Minister Mani Thapa, Labor and Social Security Minister Gauri Shankar Chaudhary and Youth, and Sports Minister Dawa Lama will not be able to work as a minister.

“The acts of recommending and appointing the defendants to the post of Minister as well as administering the oath of office to them are in contravention of the Constitution until the writ is finalized as it is found against the provisions of Article 78 (1, 2 and 3) of the Constitution of Nepal as well as its letter and main spirit,” the bench stated in its order.

Article 78 (1) of the Constitution of Nepal provides for a person who is not a Member of Parliament to take membership of the Federal Parliament within six months of his/her taking oath of office as the Minister.

The Supreme Court has concluded that the appointment of the seven ministers was against the spirit of the constitution as it is mentioned in the same Article that the person appointed the Minister as per sub-article 1 of the Article would be ineligible for reappointment as Minister throughout the term of the then existing House of Representatives if the person could not secure the parliament membership. As per the court order, the minister post of the seven ministers has automatically fallen vacant until the case is finalized.

The seven leaders from the erstwhile CPN (Maoist Center) had decided to remain with the CPN-UML even after the Supreme Court’s decision on March 7. The Supreme Court had, responding to a writ petition on the authenticity of the name of the NCP, decided on this date that the then ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) would cease to exist and go back to the status quo ante. The NCP was formed after the unification of then CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center).

They had lost their positions as Members of Parliament after the CPN (Maoist Center) expelled them from the party citing they joined the UML. However, PM Oli had reappointed them to the post of minister after his reappointment for the third term.