25 May 2011
"Verdict of the Supreme Court of Nepal on Writ No. 066-WS-0056 submitted by Bharat Mani Jangam along with the Constitution Assembly Secretariat" (Summary)
1. The Interim Constitution Article 64 specifies that the Constitution Assembly’s (CA's) term is for two years. It can be extended for a period of six months only, should there be an emergency situation in the country. It cannot be extended indefinitely.
2. Given the above stipulation of Article 64, it is not possible to extend the CA for more than 6 months simply stating that the constitution could not be readied for various pedestrian reasons, as was done in May 2010.
3. Therefore the one year extension of the CA last year, 8th amendment to the Interim Constitution, was illegal. Since that extension ends in three more days, there is no practicality in overturning it at this late stage. (This may yet be challenged by anti-extension advocates.)
4. Article 83(1) of the Interim Constitution specifies that the CA must not confuse its constitution drafting functions with its legislative ones, since it serves as the legislature also. This confusion has prevailed extensively.
5. Conclusion: There cannot be an indefinite extension of the CA as has been occurring and as has now been further requested by the government. A 6 months extension is possible if emergency is imposed on the country, with valid reasons. (This may yet be challenged by anti-extension advocates.)
On 26 May 2011, Mr. Jangam has submitted another writ arguing that another extension of the CA is simply not possible. There is no emergency; and last year’s one-year extension has already over-stepped the 6 months extension allowed by the Interim Constitution.