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Court issues mandamus order to appoint Surendra Raj Pandey of Congress as Gandaki Chief Minister

A joint bench of Justice Kumar Regmi and Sunil Pokharel, issuing an order, relieved chief minister Khagaraj Adhikari from the post, nullifying the vote of confidence taken by him. 

Kathmandu: The Supreme Court on Monday issued a mandamus order to appoint Surendra Raj  Pandey, provincial parliamentary leader of Nepali Congress, to be appointed the chief minister of Gandaki Province.

A joint bench of Justice Kumar Regmi and Sunil Pokharel, issuing an order, relieved chief minister Khagaraj Adhikari from the post, nullifying the vote of confidence taken by him. 

The court said Pandey, the leader of Nepali Congress, the largest party in the provincial assembly, be appointed the chief minister as per Article 168 (3) of the Constitution of Nepal. 

Earlier on May 7, Surendra Raj Pandey filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court against a controversial vote of confidence won by Adhikari.

In a vote of confidence taken on May 5, of the 59  lawmakers present in the meeting, 30 voted for Chief Minister Adhikari, while 27 voted against him. Likewise, two lawmakers from Rastriya Prajatantra Party remained neutral. 

Although  the 60-strong provincial assembly requires support of 31 lawmakers for constituting a majority, Speaker Krishna Prasad Dhital announced that Adhikari passed the floor test even with the support of 30 lawmakers.

However, on May 7, the top court barred the Khagaraj Adhikari-led Gandaki Province government from taking any decisions with long-term consequences. The interim order issued by the single bench of Justice Abdul Aziz Musalman prohibited the Gandaki government from doing any work other than regular tasks.