Court to decide on constitutional amendment act next week


CHIEF Justice Sir Albert Palmer is set to make a critical decision concerning the strikeout application related to the Constitutional amendment addressing the extension of the parliament.

The case came back in court yesterday and the defendants presented their submissions under Rule 9.75 of the High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2007, seeking to have the case dismissed. They argue that the issues raised by the Leader of Independent are frivolous, vexatious, lack reasonable cause of action, and amount to an abuse of the court’s processes.

The defendants put forward that Parliament has adhered to the provisions stipulated in s. 61 (3) of the Constitution and the standing orders of Parliament Orders 47 and 48. They highlight that a substantial two-thirds majority of all members has supported the bill, which has successfully gone through second readings. Consequently, the defendants assert that the High Court lacks jurisdiction to delve into parliamentary proceedings.

Meanwhile, Billy Titiulu, the legal representative for the Leader of Independent, Dean Kuku, countered the defendants’ claims. Titiulu argued that the proceedings and inquiries initiated are not vexatious and, in fact, present a reasonable cause of action. He urged the court to proceed in a normal manner being with section 61 of the constitution

Titiulu emphasised that section 61 of the constitution outlines the specific procedure that parliament must adhere to. He highlighted that the Constitution Amendment Bill 2022, introduced in parliament on December 8, 2022, falls within under those types of laws that governed in procedure by section 61(3) of the constitution.

With several relevant issues raised in his submissions, Titiulu urged the court to reject the defendants’ application.

The challenge was brought by Independent Leader Dean Kuku, who raised several questions about the constitutionality of the process and sought answers from the court, relating to whether the constitutional process was breached by parliament in the passage of the constitution to delay elections by seven months.

Dean Kuku, through his lawyer Billy Tititulu, named the Speaker of Parliament Patteson Oti, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, and His Excellency the Governor General as the defendants in the case.

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