Registration of the petition of 146 lawmakers demanding Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba be appointed prime minister (PM) as per Article 76(5) of the Constitution could not be completed by the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday.
The registration process could not be completed as seven lawmakers could not complete authentication of their signatures, according to the SC administration that said the petition will be registered on Tuesday after completing due procedures.
Advocate Govinda Bandi who is representing the political parties in the case told Setopati that most of the registration process has been completed but authentication of signatures could not be completed due to the crowd.
"We have already submitted Rs 5,000 needed to register a petition with the constitutional bench. Other processes have also been completed. A few lawmakers did not come in the beginning citing crowd and authentication of theirs remains," he stated.
The SC administration informed that other 24 different petitions have been registered demanding restoration of the House by Monday. Fifteen of them have been registered with general bench and nine with the constitutional bench.
Those 15 petitions that can be registered submitting Rs 1,500 will first be heard by a single bench and will be sent to the constitutional bench if the justice deems they need to be heard by the constitutional bench.
The petitions registered in the constitutional bench will be heard by a five-strong bench headed by the chief justice (CJ).
Deuba reached the SC Monday afternoon accompanied by CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) Chairman Upendra Yadav to register the petition backed by signatures of 146 lawmakers.
The 146 lawmakers all reached the Apex Court to authenticate their signatures to register the petition. This is the first time that majority lawmakers have turned up at the SC premises demanding formation of government. The staffers at the Apex Court took cognizance of the fact and could be seen capturing the historic moment in the camera.
The petition also demands revocation of the decision of President Bidya Devi Bhandari to dissolve the House and announce election, election programs be stopped, and order to immediately call the House session to ensure that the budget is brought on the day stipulated in the Constitution.
The lawmakers also demand that they not be punished for supporting Deuba for PM as per Article 76(5) of the Constitution.
NC President Deuba had reached the Shital Niwas with list of 149 House of Representatives (HoR) members including 26 lawmakers from the Khanal-Nepal faction of UML, 12 of the Yadav-Bhattarai faction of JSP and one from Rashtriya Janamorcha Friday afternoon staking claim for formation of government.
But KP Sharma Oli reached the Shital Niwas before Deuba and staked claim for the government falsely claiming that he has support of 153 lawmakers including 121 CPN-UML lawmakers and 32 of Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) just a day after telling President Bhandari to go for formation of new government in accordance to Article 76(5) of the Constitution pointing he does not have numbers to pass the floor test.
Oli had repeated that he did not opt for floor test as he does not have majority during his press conference with editors of media outlets that was broadcast live across the country less than a couple of hours before staking claim with President Bhandari saying he has support of 153 lawmakers.
But President Bhandari did not appoint Deuba as the PM pointing at the false claims of Oli.
Issuing a notice just before midnight, she reasoned that Oli cannot be appointed PM as 26 lawmakers of CPN-UML and 12 of Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) that he included in his claim to contend that he has support of 153 House of Representatives (HoR) members have signed in support of Deuba.
She, meanwhile, argued that Deuba cannot be appointed as UML Chairman and parliamentary party leader Oli wrote to not recognize signatures of 26 UML lawmakers who have supported another candidate when one's own parliamentary party leader has staked claim and will be punished for indiscipline in a way that they will not even remain HoR member, and JSP Chairman Mahantha Thakur and parliamentary party leader Rajendra Mahato also wrote to not recognize signatures of 12 JSP lawmakers saying they have signed against the dignity of the party.
Calling an emergency Cabinet meeting just minutes after President Bhandari said that none of Oli and Deuba can be appointed the next PM, Oli recommended President Bhandari to dissolve the House and hold the election in two stages on November 12 and 19.
President Bhandari then issued a statement in the wee hours of Saturday to dissolve the House and announce the next election as per recommendation of the Cabinet.
The opposition parties have jointly moved the SC on Monday demanding Deuba be appointed PM.
All the 149 lawmakers apart from Gokarna Bista, Pavitra Niraula Kharel, Raj Bahadur Buda and Ganesh Pahadi who were among 26 of the Khanal-Nepal faction to sign in support of Deuba on Friday have signed on the petition while Kalila Khatun, who hadn't signed on Friday, has signed today.
The lawmakers from Khanal-Nepal faction who have signed on the petition registered wit the SC include Birodh Khatiwada, Narayan Khatiwada, Jeevan Ram Shrestha, Ghanshyam Bhusal, Som Prasad Pandey, Krishna Lal Maharjan, Jhapat Rawal, Nira Devi Jairu, Sarala Kumari Yadav, Kalyani Khadka, Laxmi Chaudhary, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhala Nath Khanal, Bhim Rawal, Kalila Khatun, Ram Kumari Jhakri, Pushpa Karna Kayastha, Bhawani Prasad Khapung, Yagya Sunuwar, Surendra Pandey, Mukunda Neupane, Met Mani Chaudhary and Deepak Prakash Bhatta.
The strength of HoR before it was dissolved was 271 after Maoist Center expelled four lawmakers who joined CPN-UML after the Supreme Court (SC) invalidated unification of UML and Maoist Center on March 7.
UML currently had 121 lawmakers including those of the Khanal-Nepal faction, NC 63 (but two are suspended), Maoist Center has 49 (excluding Speaker), JSP 34 (including two suspended) and three lawmakers are independent.
The parties had to muster support of 136 lawmakers for majority.