After the people’s movement in 1989 AD, Nepal got its new constitution in 1990 as per the recommendation of the Constitution Drafting Commission. A general election was held in 1991 following which a majority government was formed under the leadership of the Nepali Congress (NC).
However, as a result of the conflict between then Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and the rival faction within NC led by Ganeshman Singh, Koirala dissolved the parliament in 1994.
The past eight years alone, there have been four attempts to dissolve parliament. These decisions were challenged in the Supreme Court and the court approved only twice.
In 1994, although the policies and programs submitted by the then government to the Parliament was rejected due to non-cooperation of 36 lawmakers from the ruling Nepali Congress party, Girija Prasad Koirala had dissolved the parliament.
Members of Parliament Hari Prasad Nepal, Ganesh Pandit and Lok Krishna Bhattarai had filed a case in the Supreme Court challenging Koirala’s decision. An 11-member bench headed by Chief Justice Viswanath Upadhyaya heard the case.
At that time, the Supreme Court explained that when its policies and programs were rejected by the House of Representatives, the dissolution of the House of Representatives would be in line with parliamentary tradition to demand fresh mandate from the people for its implementation. The Supreme Court gave green light to the dissolution of Parliament.
Similarly, in 1995, then Prime Minister Manmohan Adhikari amended the constitution for the second time. As he led a minority government, he was facing a no-confidence motion in the House of Representatives. For that, collection of signatures to convene a special session of Parliament was underway.
Then, some leaders, including advocate Rabiraj Bhandari, filed a case in the Supreme Court.
A special bench of the Supreme Court headed by the then Chief Justice Bishwanath Upadhyaya explained that “the Prime Minister can recommend the dissolution of the Parliament as per the need to get a new mandate, but that right would be uncontrolled.”
The Supreme Court ruled that the Prime Minister’s recommendation to dissolve the House of Representatives was not a sign of “accountable governance” as a no-confidence motion was called against him, and so reversed Manmohan Singh’s decision of Parliament dissolution.
Again in 1997, the then Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa also recommended the dissolution of Parliament. On the same day, 96 parliamentarians had submitted a petition to then King Birendra to convene a session of the House of Representatives (HoR). The bewildered king asked for the opinion of the Supreme Court as to which side should get an approval. The then Chief Justice Om Bhakta Shrestha suggested that HoR should be convened and so Prime Minister Thapa’s recommendation failed.
Likewise in 2002, then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had dissolved the Parliament and announced fresh election. In response to the writ petition filed challenging Deuba’s decision, the apex court after dillydallying for a long time, scrapped Deuba’s decision stating that the Parliament could not be dissolved at a time of crisis as the armed conflict with then Maoists was in its peak.
At that time, Deuba had proposed the ordinance to control subversive activities by then Maoists as a bill in the Parliament. Deuba announced dissolution of Parliament as the bill was not likely to be passed. This was when then King Gyanendra dismissed Deuba for being ‘incompetent’ after he failed to hold fresh elections.