Adhikari removed from chief minister’s post after Supreme Court’s order

NL Today

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Gandaki: On Monday, the Supreme Court removed Gandaki Chief Minister Khagaraj Adhikari from his office, asserting the vote of confidence he took in the first week of May was unconstitutional.

The court ruled that the 30 votes the chief minister received were insufficient to win the trust vote, stating that 31 votes should be obtained to command a majority in the 60-member assembly.

A division bench of Justices Kumar Regmi and Sunil Kumar Pokharel ordered the Gandaki Provincial Head to appoint Nepali Congress provincial assembly leader Surendraraj Pandey as the new chief minister within 48 hours.

The court bench issued a mandamus order to appoint Pandey to the position as per the constitutional provision, which stipulates that the province head shall appoint the parliamentary party leader of the party that has the highest number of members in the provincial assembly as the chief minister, and if the chief minister, appointed with the support of two or more parties, fails to win a trust vote within 30 days.

Pandey also moved the court to challenge the chief minister’s vote of confidence in the provincial assembly on May 5. He had also ordered the apex court to issue an order to appoint him as chief minister.

During the floor test, the Speaker of the Gandaki provincial assembly declared that Chief Minister Adhikari secured the trust vote. Amid protests from the opposition party, Speaker Krishna Prasad Dhital announced that the votes obtained by the chief minister constituted a majority based on the Supreme Court’s recent ruling.

The announcement triggered yet another controversy regarding the majority in the 60-strong provincial assembly. A total of 30 members voted in favor of Chief Minister Adhikari. The speaker then made it clear that the number was sufficient to prove the majority.