SC quashes petition to pave way for addition of local units in tarai

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The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday has revoked the writ petition filed against the government's decision to add local units in tarai paving the way for Rastriya Janata Party Nepal to take part in the third phase of local polls scheduled for September 18.

RJP, which had boycotted the second phase of local election in lack of addition of local units in tarai, has welcomed the SC decision. "The SC decision is positive. This has made it easier for us to participate in the polls," member of the RJP leadership council Rajendra Mahato told Setopati.

A joint bench of Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli and Purushottam Bhandari has revoked the petition filed by Dhan Bahadur Shrestha, Gopal Shrestha and Sharmila Silwal against the government's decision on May 23 to add 22 local level units in 12 districts in the plains of the country to address the demands of Madhes-based parties.

The SC on May 26 had issued an interim order instructing the government to not immediately implement the decision to add the number of local units in a few districts in tarai. The government had made the addition forming a committee under the local development minister to address the demands of Madhes-based parties that expressed reservations against the report submitted by the Local Bodies Restructuring Commission stating that the number of local bodies in tarai is lower in proportion to the population there. The constitution states that only such commission can change the number of local bodies.  

A joint bench of Sapana Malla Pradhan and Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada hearing the writ petition had issued the interim order.

The government in June had applied for vacation seeking review of the interim order to appease RJP to ensure participation of the coalition of Madhes-based parties in the second round of local election.

But the Apex Court on June 13 refused to register the government’s application for vacation of the interim order staying addition of local units in tarai stating that the interim order was issued after hearing both the sides.

RJP had officially said it would not participate in the second round of local election if the constitution were not amended and number of local units not added in tarai in proportion to the population there. But during the subsequent negotiations with the government it had agreed to take part in the second phase of polls even without constitution amendment if the number of local units in tarai were increased.

The government's efforts to bring RJP into the second phase of polls had failed after the SC refused to register the application for vacation.

The government had subsequently decided to hold election in only Province 1, 5 and 7 in the second phase, and hold that in Province 2 in the third phase in September.  

 

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