On June 16, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli submitted his response to show cause notice issued by the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court against his second time dissolution of parliament in less than six months.
Oli submitted a 19-page document divided into 18 sections and 43 sub-sections.
The document details some ‘valid’ reasons for dissolving parliament and calling early elections. However, reading the whole document gives an impression of the PM directing his ire on three parties—namely non-cooperative Parliament and the Speaker, undisciplined enemies within his party and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba—challenging to topple him. In the document, PM Oli has also sought to justify his earlier first move to dissolve parliament.
In Section 3 (12), he writes: “In a democratic system, political morality is of utmost importance. In the absence of party discipline and morality, the system will not perform.” In Section 11, petitioners are accused of not coming with “clean hands”. Further down, in Section 16, the document calls for maintaining and preserving integrity and dignity of the court.
A vernacular newspaper commentator has referred to the document more like an order in itself than a response to the show cause notice. Careful reading of the document reveals a pack of lies, errors, pitfalls and fabrications.
For the benefit of the readers, I will unbundle the pack of lies, going section by section, mentioned in the document. Since the original document is in Nepali, I seek apology, in case I missed some points or could not grasp the exact translation.
Lies and errors
The second to the last line in Section 3(11) reads: “In this way, the Prime Minister appointed as per Article 76(5) should seek the vote of confidence as per Article 100.” However, the exact reading in the Constitution is: “The Prime Minister appointed pursuant to clause 76 (5) shall be required to secure the vote of confidence pursuant to clause 76 (4).” There is no mention of Article 100. The Article 100 is made for provisions to secure vote of confidence and no-confidence motions. This can be assumed as a small typo error.
In the second line in Section 4(2), it is mentioned that the petitioners have used so-called signatures of some members of the political parties that supported PM Oli. And it is being done so to obstruct (referred in Nepali as bhaanjo halne) the appointment of PM Oli under Article 76(5). This is a gross falsification of the facts, including the use of derogatory Nepali phrase.
In Section 7(1), the PM has expressed his “unwavering stand for the values like separation of power, rule of law, independence of judiciary” and has referred to “14 years of his imprisonment” and “spending half a century of political life.” Other than the expression of one’s vanity, these points have no relevance to the case.
The 19-page document PM Oli has submitted to the Supreme Court in his response to show-cause notice is fraught with lies, errors and fabrications.
In Section 6 (3), PM Oli has sought to justify why he applied for the PM’s post under Article 76(5) when he is not even in a position to secure the vote of confidence under Article 76(3). This has to do with the abrupt change in position of Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal (JSPN). It will be interesting to know why JSPN which was not ready to support PM Oli under Article 76(3) is now ready to support under Article 76(5). He has assumed JSPN as a single, monolithic party. This is a total lie.
There are two lies in Section 7(2). First, the PM has reasoned that restoration of the dissolved parliament in 1995 (during the prime ministership of Mana Mohan Adhikari) resulted in a decade-long Maoist war. Clearly, this is a roundabout way to put pressure on the court, warning in advance that the country may face a similar situation if parliament is restored. Anybody reading Nepal’s political history can conclude that it is not the dissolution of the House by Man Mohan Adhikari in 1995 that gave birth to the Maoist conflict. Rather it was the dissolution of the House by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala in 1994 that planted the seeds of Maoist conflict. In the first parliamentary election in 1990, the then Maoist faction that went by the name of United People’s Front had nine MPs in parliament. After the dissolution of the House, the front boycotted midterm polls. This essentially kept them outside mainstream politics thereby helping to germinate Maoist conflict.
The other lie has to do with the outcomes of the second CA elections. According to PM Oli, the country was able to successfully draft the constitution only after the second CA elections. Implied meaning here is that the country’s political problem can be resolved with the holding of elections. However, it is at everybody’s knowledge that the drafting of the constitution was made possible by the occurrence of April earthquakes in 2015 and dangling of $4 billion humanitarian aid by the donors. If there is no one to buy this argument then, definitely, it is Oli’s own ambition to become the Prime Minister that sped up the drafting of the constitution. The faction of JSPN, now in the government, is in a better position to explain when and how the constitution was finalized.
He mentions that petitioners used signatures of some members of the political parties that supported PM Oli. This is a gross falsification of the facts.
In Section 11 (3), in a roundabout manner, pointing at technicalities related to the submission of 149 signatures by the MPs, he has sought to prove the signatures to be unreliable and fake. This is a deceitful act. If there is tampering of signatures, he could have filed a criminal case.
Section 14 is related to Covid-19 and elections. This is where he makes a bald-faced lie. He has promised to make vaccines available to all adults, within six months, that is, prior to holding elections. He mentioned other countries holding elections successfully amid the coronavirus crisis, including one recently held election to the Upper House. He has also mentioned that the government is making necessary budgetary arrangements for vaccine procurement. However, everyone is clear about gross mismanagement in the vaccination program and procurement of vaccines.