Manange may lose his assembly seat

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Rajib Gurung aka Deepak Manange, who was recently elected to the provincial assembly of Province 4, could lose his seat due to his conviction in an attempt to murder case and sentenced to the prison. But his disqualification for the seat will have to be ruled by the Supreme Court.

Patan Appellate Court had convicted Gurung five years ago for attempting to murder Milan Gurung alias Milan Chakre in 2007 and had imposed a five-year jail sentence on him.

According to Section 13 (9) of Provincial Assembly Member Election Act, 2017, a person who is slapped a minimum of five year jail sentence or more, cannot contest on election for six years after serving his/her jail sentence. Manange has served only for two years of his jail sentence and has to serve the remainder of his jail sentence himself as per rule.

The government had filed a case of attempted murder against 11 persons, including Rajib Gurung. Manange was imposed a two-year jail sentence by the Kathmandu District Court in this case. The Patan Appellate Court later struck down the sentence and imposed a five year sentence on Gurung for attempted murder.

Four other convicts in the case had moved the Supreme Court against the verdict but the SC upheld the appellate court verdict. Gurung had not challenged the appellate court verdict, nor can he appeal it now, as it had to be done within 130 days of the verdict.

Senior advocates Surendra Kumar Mahto, Satish Krishna Kharel and Ram Narayan Bidari said Gurung could be disqualified from the provincial assembly by an order of the Supreme Court if his election was challenged. Gurung was not barred from contesting provincial assembly election since nobody challenged his candidacy.

Joint Attorney of Election Commission Gita Prasad Timsina said, “EC cannot disqualify Gurung, as he has already been elected. The court will have to rule that he is disqualified to hold the post. The EC cannot know if somebody is ineligible to contest the election unless somebody lodges a complaint,” he added. EC Spokesperson Navaraj Dhakal said the EC was responsible for holding election and not disqualifying anybody after the election.

Senior Advocate Kharel said the governor of Province 4 could refuse to administer the oath of office and secrecy to Gurung if somebody submitted the court’s verdict and relevant documents.