Justice Hari Phuyal has recused himself from hearing the writ petition filed to stop the process of making murder accused Agni Sapkota the speaker citing conflict of interest.
Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana had assigned the petition filed by senior advocate Dinesh Tripathi on Friday to the bench of Phuyal on Sunday. But Phuyal came to the bench and stated he cannot hear the petition.
Phuyal has reasoned that he cannot hear the petition as he had argued in the petition filed by Sushil Pyakurel and others against Sapkota in the past.
Tripathi and others have demanded that another bench be assigned to hear the petition Sunday itself as Sapkota is set to be made speaker today itself.
"I cannot hear this writ. My attention has been seriously drawn to your demand. Two of the three cases assigned to me cannot be heard by me. I will go to meet the to the chief justice after hearing one case and will relay your demand to him," advocate Om Prakash Aryal, who was also present for hearing of Sapkota's case, quoted Phuyal as saying.
Phuyal explained that he has already argued that Sapkota be punished in the earlier petition when he was an advocate and cannot hear this case with a similar demand.
Nominations for the post of speaker were open on Tuesday and Sapkota is set to be announced unanimously elected on Sunday after no other party fielded candidate for the post.
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.
The SC hearing the petition had pointed that an interim order need not be issued to stop appointment in public position merely due to filing of a complaint, and issued a mandamus ordering initiation of investigation and asking the court be informed about that.