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This week's local news - July 18 - 21, 2013.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lawyers argue on OLIPPAC's legality


MEMBERS of Parliament keenly awaiting the court determination of the legality of Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates law will know the outcome of this court challenge in a matter of weeks.

Western Province Governor, Dr. Bob Danaya, on behalf of his Provincial Executive Council, took out a Supreme Court Reference last year challenging sections 58, 59 and 60 of the said Organic Law saying it restricts their constitutionally guaranteed freedom under Section 32 of the National Constitution.

This week, lawyers representing the government submitted that the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates legislation is constitutional.

Counsel representing the Prime Minister and the National Executive Council, Aloysius Jerewai submitted that the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates law is in-line with sections 27, 127, and 38 of the National Constitution.

Section 38 deals with public safety, public welfare and public order (among others) while sections 27 deals with misconduct in office of leaders and sections 127 deals with protecting members of parliament from outside (foreign) influence. This section calls for a specific provision to enact an organic law to deal specifically with this issue.

"The purpose of this sub division is to protect elections and to prevent candidates from being or appearing to be or have been improperly or unduly influenced by outside (especially foreign) or hidden influence, and an Organic law may make provision ... for achieving that purpose," section 127 of the Constitution reads.

"Your honours, to summarise, public safety, public good, public order and public welfare should be paramount," Mr. Jerewai told the five men Supreme Court bench on Tue.

"OLIPPAC has not been enacted in isolation from the constitution. It is authorised by section 127 of the Constitution and is therefore in accordance with the constitution. The organic law did not infringe on any rights. It has complied with all necessary provisions of the National Constitution," Mr. Jerewai submitted.

Meanwhile, counsel appearing for the Attorney General submitted that under sections 18 and 19 of the National Constitution, the Supreme Court only have interpretative powers to interpret laws. It does not give the Supreme Court any powers to rule on the validity of laws.

The Attorney General's Counsel, while supporting Mr Jerewai's submissions on Section 38 of the Constitution, told the bench that since the introduction of the Integrity Law on Political Parties and Candidates, there has been general peace and stability in the political system. This peace and stability translates to the peace, welfare and good order of society as seen is increase in business and prosperity of the country.

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