Thu. Nov 15th, 2018

Prez advised calling polls unconstitutional, PM caretaker‚ Speaker no more

KATHMANDU: The four-year-old CA died yesterday at the stroke of the midnight without delivering a new constitution, however, its demise has given birth to a maze of legalistic complexities. And a call for fresh polls in November by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai yesterday, minutes ahead of the expiry of the CA, has invited a raft of legal and constitutional questions, with experts suggesting that Bhattarai’s decision to declare elections was out-and-out unconstitutional.

Former attorneys general today called on President Dr Ram Baran Yadav and told the latter that the decision to declare polls was unconstitutional and that holding elections to a new Constituent Assembly would not be easy without addressing some serious legal issues.

“The decision to hold elections to a new CA itself is unconstitutional,” Badri Bahadur Karki, a former attorney general, told THT. Former attorneys general Mahadev Yadav and Yuba Raj Sangroula also had called on the President, who had sought suggestions from the experts on current political situation that has entailed serious legal complications. According to Karki, declaration of polls by the PM even before the expiry of the CA was against the sovereignty of the constitution-making body because constitutionally, the CA itself was the only authorised body to do so.

In reply to the President’s query on political impasse the country has sunk into, the experts said it was because of the hasty decision of declaring polls even without letting the CA know about its dissolution. “PM had no right to decide on polls when the sovereign body was still alive,” said Karki.

Nonetheless, there are several other questions that are now rearing their heads.

With the dissolution of the CA, the PM has lost his CA membership, which reduces him to caretaker status. “In this case, the government shall move forward through political consensus and understanding,” added Karki. “The government must have sought political consensus before declaring the elections.”

Mahadev Yadav, also a former attorney general, said the Head of State can seek resignation from the PM and then call for formation of an all-party unity government.

According to legal experts, with the dissolution of CA, the post of the CA chairman is also nullified and hence CA chair, also the Speaker, as the CA doubled as Parliament, ceases to hold office.ANANTA RAJ LUITEL tht

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