Newly-elected Speaker Agni Sapkota has pledged to play a neutral and balanced role to maintain the dignity of the parliament.
Speaking to media persons while coming out of the parliament after being elected unopposed on Sunday, he assured that he will maintain norms and values, and ideals of democracy. "I will always strive to play a neutral, fair and balanced role to maintain norms and values, and ideals of democracy, and aura and dignity of the sovereign institution of the people," Sapkota stated.
The CPN lawmaker from Sindhupalchowk-1, a two-time former minister, refused to comment on the murder case against him though. "Let us not talk about this now," he responded when asked about the murder case.
Sapkota has been accused of abduction and murder of chairman of the management committee of Sri Krishna Secondary School of Tapcha, Kavre Arjun Bahadur Lama during the Maoist insurgency.
Lama was murdered after abduction on April 29, 2005. His body was recovered two months later from Budhakhani in Kavre where he was buried. The constitutional bench of the SC is overseeing the case.
Lama's wife Purni Maya Lama had filed a case with the District Administration Office identifying Sapkota and Surya Man Dong, who later became state minister, of being involved in her husband's murder.
The police had sent the complaint to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Purni Maya had then moved the SC against the police's decision.
The constitutional bench of SC on July 10, 2019 had sought copy of the complaint filed with the TRC regarding the case.
The SC is also overseeing the case of contempt of court registered on June 20, 2011, and the writ petition filed by human rights activist Sushil Pyakurel on April 8, 2016 pointing that the court's mandamus has not been implemented along with the murder case filed by Purni Maya against Sapkota.
The SC on July 10, 2019 had started to hear these petitions together with the murder case.
Human rights institutions had also moved the SC demanding revocation of Sapkota's appointment as minister in the Baburam Bhattarai Cabinet.
Senior advocate Dinesh Tripathi had also filed a writ petition on Friday to stop the process of making Sapkota the speaker.
But hearing for the case could not be held on Sunday as scheduled. Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana assigned the petition to the bench of Justice Hari Phuyal on Sunday but Phuyal recused himself from the hearing citing conflict of interest pointing he had argued in the petition filed by Sushil Pyakurel and others against Sapkota in the past.