Besides Rana, the Constitutional Bench was made up of justices selected on the basis of seniority including Dipak Kumar Karki, Mira Khadka, Ishwar Khatiwada and Anandamohan Bhattarai.
Monday’s decision on the restoration of the House was expected, but few had thought the Supreme Court would go all the way to nominate Deuba and stop any action against the 23 UML dissidents.
Taken together the three decisions represent a big setback for Oli, who had been holding on to power despite a mutiny within the former NCP party from an alliance of Pushpa Kamal Dahal Nepal, and later in his own UML.
Oli had used every trick in the book, from divide and rule, getting members to defect from rival parties, dissolving Parliament and immediately after that staking claims to leadership.
He was even working on a fall-back option till Monday morning in case the Supreme Court decided to restore the House. He had been trying to woo back the Nepal faction into the UML so that even if the House was restored, he could try for another majority in a month.
Negotiators from both sides in a working group had come up with a 10-point deal to patch up differences between Oli and Nepal. But the Court decision has thrown that pact in the air.
The Court decidedly did not agree that the same person could keep claiming to have a majority, and failing, every time. In fact, Oli must have seen it coming because it had been overturning one by one his increasingly desperate moves to remain in office right up to the court hearings on the second dissolution of the Lower House on 22 May.
Petitioners presenting their arguments at Court’s Constitutional Bench last month did not just call for the restoration of the House and Deuba be made prime minister but directly blamed President Bidya Devi Bhandari for complicity with Oli.