By EDDIE OSIFELO
The High Court has scheduled a judicial review of the Constitutional Amendment Act to take place on Thursday, 27th.
The legal challenge was filed by John Dean Kuku, the Leader of the Independent Members, against the Speaker of Parliament, Patterson Oti, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, and Governor-General Sir David Vunagi.
The challenge comes in response to the passage of the Bill on September 8, 2022.
The main purpose of the application is to address concerns related to the constitutional integrity of specific provisions within the Act and the procedures followed during its enactment.
One key provision in question pertains to the deferment of the dissolution of parliament, shifting the date from May 15 to December 31, 2023.
Island Sun received reports that the Attorney General has not filed any defense within the 14-day period after the case was filed.
In light of this, the Special Secretary to the Prime Minister, Albert Kabui, refrained from making any comment on the case as it is now before the court.
John Dean Kuku and his legal team are optimistic that this legal challenge will result in a thorough examination of the Act and the parliamentary procedures in question.
The application poses seven questions seeking the court’s interpretation regarding constitutional provisions and the legality of the parliamentary procedures used during the passage of the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2022.
Prior to filing the application, Kuku expressed confidence that the judiciary’s review of the Constitutional Amendment Act 2022 would strengthen the legal framework and ensure that the principles enshrined in the constitution are respected, thus upholding the rule of law.
Notably, the Act was initially proposed by the Executive branch, approved by Parliament, and will now undergo evaluation by the National Judiciary, making it a comprehensive review involving all three arms of the government.
Billy Titiulu, a former Attorney General and senior lawyer, is representing John Dean Kuku in this judicial review case.
Kuku is also the Member of Parliament for North New Georgia in Western Province.
The hearing is expected to start at 1pm.