Legality of PS positions to be decided today

The legality of whether or not the position of a Parliamentary Secretary (PS) is constitutional will be decided by the Supreme Court at 3pm today, May13.

Last month Supreme Court Justice Dudley Aru ruled that there is a case for Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and all his appointed PS to answer.

Opposition Leader Ishmael Kalsakau and the Opposition MPs are challenging the validity of the PS positions, saying they have no legal basis and have squandered millions from the public purse.

The Leader of Opposition said the appointment of all PS was a clear violation of Article 6 (1) and (2); including Article 53 (1) and (2) of the Constitution, claiming it has infringed the applicants’ fundamental rights stated in Article (5) (1) (d); (e); (j); and (k).

He said the appointment of the PS is also a direct infringement of Chapter 7 and Article 66 (1) (d) of the Constitution.

Article 6 states ‘Enforcement of fundamental rights; (1) Anyone who considers that any of the rights guaranteed to him by the Constitution has been, is being or is likely to be infringed may, independently of any other possible legal remedy, apply to the Supreme Court to enforce that right.

(2) The Supreme Court may make such orders, issue such writs and give such directions, including the payment of compensation, as it considers appropriate to enforce the right.’

Section 53 on the application to Supreme Court regarding infringements of Constitution states that; (1) Anyone who considers that a provision of the Constitution has been infringed in relation to him may, without prejudice to any other legal remedy available to him, apply to the Supreme Court for redress.

(2) The Supreme Court has jurisdiction to determine the matter and to make such order as it considers appropriate to enforce the provisions of the Constitution.

The current and past PS since 2016 are: MP Johnny Koanapo, Minister Hosea Nevu, MP Silas Bule, MP Jerome Ludvaune, MP Tomker Netvunei, Minister Christophe Emelee, MP Tom Noam, MP Bruno Lengkon, Minister Andrew Napuat, Minister Seule Simeon and MP John Sala.

The Opposition MPs are of the view that the case will affect the Ministers who held the position as PS from 2016 and the current PS.

Meanwhile an application to strike out the Opposition’s Constitutional application challenging the position of the PS was filed before the court on the 26th of April.

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