Nepali Congress (NC) has taken exception to the interim order issued by the Supreme Court (SC) instructing to not spend the money allocated for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) calling it against the doctrine of separation of powers.
Speaking in the House of Representatives (HoR) on Thursday, NC lawmaker Shyam Kumar Ghimire pointed that the lawmakers are authorized to prepare legislation and the budget came as Finance Bill, and stressed that the judiciary cannot pick out a part of that budget and violate it. "The SC order has raised a serious question. I want to draw attention of the whole House," Ghimire added. "Where does this budget contradict the Constitution? Question can be raised only if it is not in accordance to the Constitution. The judiciary, otherwise, cannot scrap the programs of budget."
Speaking with reporters after the House meeting on Thursday NC Chief Whip Ramesh Lekhak also claimed that the interim order was against the principle of separation of powers and added that democracy would be weakened if a state organ were to infringe on the domain of other.
He stressed that it was the House's prerogative to levy tax, allocate resources and make laws, and argued that attacking on that prerogative was an attack on the House itself.
He has stated that the court could not resort to activism on any issue. "When the House formulates any law they should show where it contradicts the Constitution. Which Article of the Constitution was violated by the Constituency Development Fund for the court to order to not implement it? Should the SC not mention that Article?"
Finance Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat had allocated Rs 50 million to each federal constituency to be spent by the lawmaker elected through the First-Past-The-Post Electoral System in the budget he brought on May 29. He had allocated over Rs 8 billion for the CDF in the budget for the current fiscal year.
The constitutional bench including Chief Justice (CJ) Bishowambhar Prasad Shrestha, Ishwore Khatiwada, Ananda Mohan Bhattarai, Prakash Singh Raut and Anil Kumar Sinha on Wednesday issued the interim order prohibiting spending of the allocated money until the writ petition against the CDF is finalized.
The SC stopped the lawmakers from using the budget allocated for the CDF pointing that the Constitution had not handed over the responsibility of doing development and other works meant to be done by the executive to the federal and provincial lawmakers. It reasoned that there could be conflict of interests if the lawmaker herself were to allocate fund for even projects in her electoral constituency not recommended by the National Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry, and such works did not promote good governance.
The petition was filed by advocate Trilok Bahadur Chand making the government and the federal parliament secretariat as defendants.