Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana and Justices Deep Kumar Karki, Mira Khadka, Iswar Prasad Khatiwada and Ananda Mohan Bhattarai will give a final verdict after a stipulated 32 hours of hearings over the next two weeks.
That ruling will determine whether the House is reinstated and if Deuba becomes prime minister for the fifth time, or if Oli continues as prime minister to oversee early elections in November. If the House is reinstated, the five-party alliance could also choose some other prime minister.
Like Deuba, other leaders of the anti-Oli alliance have also been prime ministers before: Pushpa Kamal Dahal (twice), Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhalnath Khanal and Baburam Bhattarai.
The signs do not look good for Oli whose latest setback was the Supreme Court’s decision on Tuesday reversing his appointment of 20 ministersearlier this month, saying it was unconstitutional for a caretaker prime minister to do so.
In fact, Water Supply Minister Anil Jha of the JSP was being welcomed in his constituency in Rautahat on Tuesday when word came from Kathmandu that the Court had directed all Cabinet ministers to stop working. And in a show of defiance, Oli told deposed ministers they didn’t need to vacate their official residence because “something will come up”.
In the midst of a pandemic, Nepal’s governing Cabinet is now down to Oli and four ministers. The third health minister in a year was among the 20 who had to step down this week after just 19 days in office.
The five-party opposition alliance decided to put pressure on Oli by launching street protests starting on Thursday. Speaking to a gathering of editors on Thursday, the NC’s Deuba said: “The prime minister and president colluded at midnight to dismantle democracy and the constitution, that is why we have formed this alliance. We will mobilise the public if needed, to fight against a return to authoritarianism.”