08/31/2009, 00.00
NEPAL
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Supreme Court against vice president who refuses oath of office in Nepali

by Kalpit Parajuli
Parmananda Jha took his oath of office in Hindi. The Supreme Court has ruled it was unlawful, demanding he retake it in Nepali or resign.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – The ultimatum by the Supreme Court of Nepal to Vice President Parmananda Jha to re-take his oath of office is set to expire at 5 pm (local time) today. Issued a week ago, it ruled that his original oath in Hindi was unlawful, and ordered him to do it again in Nepali or resign.

Parmananda Jha has refused so far to abide by the Court’s decision, invoking Article 151 of the 2007 interim constitution.

President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal urged him to comply with the court order.

Jyoti Jha, a personal aide to the vice president, said that Mr Jha “would rather resign than take the oath in Nepali.”

The crisis is rooted in the fact that Parmananda Jha was elected with the votes of the predominantly Hindu Madhesi community, which is concentrated in the Terai region, in southern Nepal, and is seeking greater autonomy from the central power.

When he took his oath of office the vice president translated the original Nepali into Hindi in a token of support for Madhesi claims.

The tug-of-war between the Supreme Court and Vice President Jha is creating problems to the ruling coalition government, already weakened by Maoist street protests.

As a result of the crisis Nepal’s Maoist party has found itself in an embarrassing situation because it pushed for the candidacy of Mr Jha, who now shows he is not in favour of former Prime Minister Prachanda’s nationalism.

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