Amid political turmoil, Nepal Army chief meets with the chief justice

Nepal Army Chief Purna Chandra Thapa on Monday met with Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana at the latter’s office in the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court officials confirmed the meeting that took place in the afternoon at around 1 pm and had stayed for around an hour.

The Army chief’s meeting with the chief justice comes at a time when the entire country and the international community is awaiting a verdict on the dissolution of the House of Representatives.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli dissolved the lower house of Parliament on December 20 after infighting in his Nepal Communist Party reached a tipping point. Oli has declared snap polls for April 30 and May 10.

The hearing on the House dissolution concluded on Friday after the last of the five-member amicus curiae concluded presenting their briefs before the Constitutional Bench led by Chief Justice Rana.

Sources said that Chief Justice Rana had invited General Thapa to discuss a land where the Supreme Court is planning to construct a building.

The land, situated on the eastern part of the Supreme Court, was transferred to the court by the Nepali Army.

“The chief justice had invited the Army chief to request him to evacuate the land that was previously owned by the national defence force,” said a senior official at the Supreme Court asking not to be named. “The chief justice wanted to discuss the matter with the Army chief so that the issue could be sorted out at the earliest.”

The Nepal Army lately has become a centre of attention, especially for its recent decision to roll its armoured vehicles along Ring Road on February 1.

Though the Army had informed via a Twitter message that it was part of its regular exercise, many had questioned the timing.

Sixteen years ago on February 1, then king Gyanendra had staged a royal-military coup.

Coincidentally, on February 1 this year, the Myanmar military staged a coup.

On Monday’s meeting between the Army chief and chief justice, the Nepal Army said that the meeting was focused on acquiring the land where the Supreme Court is preparing to build its building.

“The only reason for the meeting was to discuss the land,” Brigadier General Shantosh Ballave Poudyal, the spokesperson for the Nepal Army, told the Post.