Speaker Agni Sapkota has reminded CPN-UML lawmakers obstructing House proceedings accusing him of splitting the party about the Constitution.
The main opposition party started to protest immediately after Speaker Sapkota read out the letter from President Bidya Devi Bhandari announcing start of the House session on Wednesday as UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli instructed during the parliamentary party meeting at Baneshwore earlier on the day.
UML had written to the Federal Parliament Secretariat on August 17 about expulsion of 14 HoR members of the Khanal-Nepal faction including Madhav Kumar Nepal accusing them of trying to split the party. The faction subsequently applied for registration of a new party the next day with the Election Commission.
The act about political parties requires the speaker to implement expulsion of lawmakers by issuing notice about expulsion within 15 days. But Speaker Sapkota sat on the letter sent by UML about expulsion of 14 lawmakers including Madhav Kumar Nepal for 13 days and then decided to not implement the decision pointing that the Election Commission has already registered a new party under Nepal.
"We waited for issue of notice. But it was not issued on August 18. You issued notice about expulsion of Sarita Giri by Janata Samajwadi party (JSP) in less than 18 hours. You read out the letter in the House within 24 hours of CPN (Maoist Center) expelling its lawmakers," Chief Whip of UML Bishal Bhattarai said. "Does that hold true only for Maoist Center and JSP or also for UML? Does your dignity while sitting on the speaker's chair require same behavior toward all the parties or not?"
He accused Speaker Sapkota of being complicit in the conspiracy to split UML. "Why did you play a supportive role to save the lawmakers punished by UML and split UML? We want to strongly raise this question in the House today as to why you became an accomplice in split of party. We want answer to that," he added.
Speaker Sapkota answered that he took the decision in accordance to prevailing laws and then reminded the protesting UML lawmakers that the case about split of UML and notice of expulsion of UML lawmakers is sub judice in the Supreme Court (SC).
He pointed at Article 105 of the Constitution that prohibits discussion of sub judice case in the House, and sections c and d of clause 21 of the House of Representatives (HoR) regulations.
Clause 21 (c) of the regulation states that no decision of the House or speaker can be criticized except when speaking on the motion demanding revocation of a decision of the House or speaker. Clause 21(d) likewise states that any issue prohibited by Article 105 of the Constitution cannot be discussed in the House.
"No discussion shall be held in either House of Federal Parliament on a matter which is under consideration in any court of Nepal, and about anything done by a Judge in course of performance of his duties. Provided that nothing in this Article shall be deemed to bar the expression of opinion about the conduct of a Judge during deliberations on a motion of impeachment," states Article 105 of the Constitution.
The SC after hearing a petition filed by Oli against Speaker Sapkota for not implementing the party's decision to expel 14 UML lawmakers has summoned both the sides for discussion on September 13.