KATHMANDU - Nepal's Supreme Court issued a provisional order on Tuesday putting a temporary stay on the government's suspension of the central bank governor until the next hearing, a lawyer said.
Maha Prasad Adhikari was suspended on April 8 as governor of the central Nepal Rastra Bank by the government, which named his deputy the interim chief.
After the ruling, he now looks set to resume work on Wednesday, tackling the Himalayan country's economic challenges, with foreign reserves hit by the slump in tourism during the pandemic and remittances also suffering.
The finance ministry has not said why Adhikari was suspended, saying only a government panel would investigate the matter. Neither the central bank nor Adhikari have commented, but a government official said Adhikari had been accused of leaking sensitive financial information to the media.
Adhikari filed a petition to the Supreme Court demanding an interim order against his suspension, saying it was illegal.
At the end of the hearing, Judge Hari Prasad Phuyal ordered the government not to "immediately implement the decision and to allow the petitioner to resume his work as usual", Tikaram Bhattarai, Adhikari's lawyer, told Reuters.
Adhikari was not immediately available for comment but told Nepali news outlet Kantipur online the court order had provided "additional protection to the autonomy" of the central bank.
His lawyers said he would be able to return to the central bank on Wednesday as governor.
A government spokesman was not immediately available to comment on the court order.
The judge ordered both sides to be present on April 26 when the court will take a decision on whether to issue an interim order as demanded by the petitioner.
"We have challenged the legality of the government's decision to order a probe panel against the governor and I am confident that the court will give its interim order after the next hearing on April 26," the lawyer said.
(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Alison Williams)