Full budget a recipe for Prez-PM confrontation?

KATHMANDU: Even after the Supreme Court order to the government to choose the way to bring a one-third budget for the coming fiscal, the government remains obstinate about bringing a full-fledged budget.

On Sunday, the apex court had told the government to downsize the budget to one-third of that of the current fiscal year as per Article 96(A) (1) and (2) if it fails to garner support from political parties for a full budget, but the government authorities do not appear to be in a mood to comply.

Minister for Finance Barshaman Pun and Attorney General Mukti Narayan Pradhan have publicly said the government is still working to bring a full-fledged budget.

The government needs to bring a new budget within the next 10 days otherwise there shall be financial catastrophe in the country, which is already facing the constitutional and political crisis.

“Publicly speaking or distorting the court ruling is sufficient to deserve contempt of court but not a single authority has taken this issue seriously,” Badri Bahadur Karki, former attorney general said.

Lawyers claim that since there is no oversight agency to look into the matter, government authorities have been misinterpreting even the ruling and media has also been assisting the government.

Following the Supreme Court order, President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai discussed what should be done in the next phase.

Even though, the court ruling itself is clear, the Prime Minister invited some legal experts to ascertain what the apex court exactly meant in relation to the budget.

Most lawyers suggested that the court ruling clearly barred the government from bringing a full-fledged budget, while others suggested that the apex court declined to give a stay order and that meant it was allowing the government to go for a full budget.

“There might be confrontation between the state organs (PM and President) if the government continues its preparation,” a highly place bureaucrat at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers said.

What the President will do is a serious matter if the government recommends a full-fledged budget. “This might only be a political whim and it is obvious that a political party can create such an idea,” Surya Dhungel, legal adviser to the President told The Himalayan Times today. “But since there is a constitutional option allowing the government to bring a small budget and the Supreme Court itself has also suggested this through its ruling, we do believe that the government will seek an amicable way out,” Dhungel added.

Demanding the President’s intervention, 26 opposition parties yesterday submitted a memorandum not to approve ordinance for a full-fledged budget. They insisted on consensus even for a small budget as per Article 96 (A) (1) and (2), based on which the government cannot impose new taxes and can bring only an one-third estimation of the current fiscal year.ANANTA RAJ LUITEL,THT

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