Gandaki Chief Minister Adhikari Removed from Post, Supreme Court Recommends Pandey

  May 28, 2024 By: INSEC

The Supreme Court declared the vote of confidence received by Chief Minister Khagraj Adhikari of Gandaki Province unconstitutional. The joint bench of Kumar Regmi and Sunil Kumar Pokharel decided on May 27 to invalidate the vote of confidence taken by Chief Minister Adhikari. The Supreme Court ruled that the 30 votes received by Adhikari in the 60-member assembly did not constitute a majority. Additionally, the Court ordered that Surendraraj Pandey, the leader of the Nepali Congress Provincial Assembly, be appointed as the new Chief Minister within 48 hours.

The Chief Minister, appointed as per Sub-Article (2) of Article 168 of the Constitution, has been removed from his post following the order. In other words, Pandey, as a member of the largest party, the Nepali Congress, and the leader of the provincial assembly, has been requested to be appointed as the Chief Minister. Previously, Pandey had resigned from the position after the changes in power alliance at the center.

The Supreme Court on Monday has specified a timeframe for appointing the Chief Minister. Given that the province chief and the speaker are from different parties, this court order has paved an easy path for Pandey to be appointed as the Chief Minister.

The court has explicitly mandated that the decision regarding the vote of confidence must be grounded in Article 188 of the Constitution, rather than Article 186. Additionally, the Court through certiorari canceled ‘the vote of confidence favoring the Chief Minister Khagraj Adhikari had been passed by the majority’.

The Supreme Court in the order stated that, ‘A writ has been issued in the name of the Gandaki Province Chief as respondent to complete the process of appointing the Chief Minister within 48 hours of receipt of the order as per Article 168 of the Constitution of Nepal. Speaker Krishna Dhital on 5 May announced that the 30 members voted in favor of Adhikari including 22 from CPN (UML), seven from CPN (Maoist Center) and 1 from Swatantra.

Pandey on 7 April, approached the court to challenge the vote of confidence received by Chief Minister Adhikari. Additionally, Pandey filed a writ in the Supreme Court on May 7. Following this, the Supreme Court issued a short-term interim order to show cause on May 10, instructing the Gandaki Province government to refrain from taking any actions that could have long term affects.

Sanjay Ranabhatt