The government has forged the notice of House dissolution published in the Nepal Gazette it submitted to the constitutional bench of Supreme Court (SC) hearing the writ petitions filed against House dissolution by President Bidya Devi Bhandari on recommendation of the Cabinet.
Attorney General Agni Sapkota submitted the notice to the bench on Friday after it instructed the government to do so after advocates Om Prakash Aryal and Tika Ram Bhattarai while arguing on behalf of the petitioners on Thursday called the dissolution unofficial also because the notice of dissolution was not even published in the Nepal Gazette.
The House of Representatives (HoR) was dissolved on December 20 but the notice was published in the Nepal Gazette only on Thursday after the bench's instruction in all likelihood. The Department of Printing has uploaded the Nepal Gazette with notice of House dissolution in its website only on Friday.
"It had come to me yesterday. I uploaded it on the website only today," officer with the department Anita Regmi told Setopati. "It is my responsibility to upload that. It came yesterday and I uploaded today. That's it."
She revealed that government decisions arrive at the Nepal Gazette section of the department through the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.
The House dissolution on December 20 by President Bhandari on recommendation of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli was not published in the Nepal Gazette for a long time. Government decisions generally are considered to have come into implementation after being published in the Nepal Gazette.
The government has hurriedly published the notice in the Nepal Gazette and submitted it to the SC on Friday after advocates pointed on Thursday that it was not published in the Nepal Gazette.
The notice is dated December 20 but the reference number in the department's website is recent. The website had published a notice about the Culture Ministry on January 18 with reference number 24,331. Reference number of the notice about House dissolution dated December 20, however, is 24,332 which means it was published after the notice about Culture Ministry.
Web designers say that reference number increases with time of uploading. The higher reference number of the notice about House dissolution dated December 20 and its placement above the notice of Culture published on January 18 in the website, therefore, means that it has been uploaded after the notice about Culture Ministry.
"There is practice of publishing the notice without delay of even a day after the decision is taken. We don't have practice of publishing the notice a day after the decision," an official with the department confided requesting anonymity.
Department officials claimed that uploading is delayed sometimes even though such notices are generally published in the Nepal Gazette on the day the decision is made, and is immediately uploaded on the website.
The revelation of officer Regmi also hints that the notice may have been published only Friday after arriving late Thursday night.
Communication Expert at the department Padma Raj Pathak claimed that decisions can sometimes be published a few days later if there is no time. But he could not confirm that the notice about House dissolution was published on December 20 itself.
"There is no rule setting deadline for publishing the notice after decisions are taken. They are published without delay after arrival. There can sometimes be delay when there is no sufficient time."
He argued that discrepancies in reference numbers happen sometimes and that does not matter much.
Advocate Bhattarai claimed the government has published the notice overnight after the constitutional bench ordered the government on Thursday to submit it.
"I have received information that it was published at one Friday morning. This is blatant forgery. The government has resorted to gathering evidence after the court demanded it," he reasoned. "This is forgery against the Constitution and laws. Everyone involved in it should be investigated and punished."