Court rejects Constituent Assembly term review in Nepal

Baburam Bhattarai

A new crisis seems to be looming over Nepal's fragile peace process, with the government and the judiciary locked up in a tussle over the question of another extension to the Constituent Assembly term.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain an application submitted by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and chairman of the Constituent Assembly Subhash Chandra Nemwang seeking a review of an intrusive ruling.

The apex court had on November 25 ruled that the latest term extension of the Constituent Assembly for a six month period would effectively be the last and that it could not be extended for an indefinite period of time.

The Constituent Assembly's term now expires in May end and the contention is whether it could be given another extension if a new constitution could not be promulgated within the next five months period.

The Supreme Court turned down the government's appeal stating that there was no legal ground for a review of its last month's ruling on the CA term extension.

The Parliament and Cabinet had argued that the November 25 court verdict on CA term extension was unconstitutional and against the principle of separation of powers.

"We are taken aback by the court's refusal to register the petition," said CA chairman Nemwang.

When the Constituent Assembly last month endorsed the Interim Constitution amendment bill regarding the extension of the CA term by six months, the Supreme Court had ruled that the term could be extended only once for a six-month period and not for an indefinite period of time.

Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee Niambar Acharya has termed as unfortunate the dispute between the important organs of the state -- the judiciary, the executive and the legislature. "We should try to find out a resolution to the problem rather than intensifying the dispute," he said.

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